Get out the ChapStick! Napoleon Dynamite is coming to town.
A conversation with Jon Heder, who rose to fame as the titular, iconic Idaho teenager in the 2004 indie favorite, headlines and kicks off the Victoria Theatre Association’s excitingly revamped 2019 Cool Films Series, which is slated July 12-Sept. 8 for the first time at both the Victoria Theatre and Schuster Center.
Opening the Series at the Schuster, the “Napoleon Dynamite” screening and chat will include the equally memorable duo of Efren Ramirez (Pedro Sanchez) and Jon Gries (Uncle Rico). The series also will conclude at the Schuster with a screening of “The Princess Bride” featuring a conversation with Cary Elwes, who portrayed handsome farmhand Westley in the Rob Reiner comedy classic.
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“There is a new phenomenon within performing arts centers across the country in which there are screenings of popular films with the stars of those films present with a moderated Q&A afterward,” said Sue Stevens, VTA vice president of marketing and communications. “We’re happy about kicking things off in a big way. We’re hoping the audience who comes to ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ at the Schuster may not have ever been to a movie at the Victoria. So, we’re hoping we can get them to see the other films we’ll show. We’re also excited to host Cary Elwes, who has written a book about his experience working on ‘Princess Bride.’”
In addition to the return of live organ concerts performed by Justin Stahl and Justin Nimmo on the Victoria’s Mighty Wurlizter, the series includes a marathon weekend devoted to Alfred Hitchcock, a Robert Redford salute, and movie musical screenings of Baz Luhrmann’s dazzling “Moulin Rouge” starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor and the Judy Garland version of “A Star is Born” best known for its Oscar-nominated torch song “The Man That Got Away.”
In addition, filmmaker/storyboard artist/Dayton native J. Todd Anderson and film archivist/writer/producer George Willeman, who hosts a radio show and podcast “Filmically Perfect,” will give their perspective on two films they feel are notably great. Their “Rules for The Perfect Movie” will tentatively spotlight Elia Kazan’s “A Face in the Crowd.”
“We’re always trying to find a balance between traditional classic movies and modern classics which are more contemporary titles from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s,” Stevens said. “The struggle we’ve had with the films series for the past several years (stems from) the fact that it’s become easy for people to see any title they want on any device they want at any time they want. At one time, all we had to worry about was (competition) from Turner Classic Movies, but now people can stream anything they want. Access is a fabulous thing, but it makes us (work harder) to make our experience unique and more of an event.”
“We’ve found a way to kind of merge the new with the old,” echoed Mechele Pritchard, VTA contracts and licensing director, who says all films shown at the Victoria will be 35 mm print. “We’re not losing our great audience who enjoys classic films. We’re just adding elements in the hope of building a new audience and giving them more of an experience.”
Whether audiences view the series as full of risks or a refreshing change of pace, organizers are eager to see how the lineup is received. Due to the wealth of options throughout the summer, particularly from concerts downtown at Levitt Pavilion, they are confident in providing a condensed, more concentrated slate.
“It’s important for the films series to be re-envisioned,” added Diane Schoeffler-Warren, VTA media and public relations manager. “The series is evolving because audiences are evolving.”
Series passbooks are $39. Each book includes 10 film passes and 10 popcorn and soda passes for use in any combination across the series. Single tickets are $7. Tickets for “Napoleon Dynamite” are $100 (VIP price includes meet and greet) and $40. Tickets for “The Princess Bride” are $150 (VIP price includes meet and greet plus copy of Cary Elwes’ book “As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride”) and $40. Purchase tickets by calling (937) 228-3630 or visiting online at ticketcenterstage.com.
VTA 2019 COOL FILMS SERIES SCHEDULE
Friday, July 12 – Schuster Center
“Napoleon Dynamite: A Conversation with Jon Heder, Efren Ramirez and Jon Gries”
“Napoleon Dynamite” (2004) 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 14 – Victoria Theatre
“Suspicion” (1941) 11 a.m.
“Dial M For Murder” (1954) 2 p.m.
“Strangers on a Train” (1951) 5 p.m.
“North By Northwest” (1959) 8 p.m.
Friday, July 19 – Victoria Theatre
“Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” (1969) 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 20 – Victoria Theatre
“All the President’s Men” (1976) 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 16 – Victoria Theatre
“Hudsucker Proxy “(1994) 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 17 – Victoria Theatre
“A Face in the Crowd” (1957) 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 23 – Victoria Theatre
“Moulin Rouge” (2001) 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 24 – Victoria Theatre
“A Star is Born” (1954) 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 8 – Schuster Center
“The Princess Bride: An Inconceivable Evening with Cary Elwes”
“The Princess Bride” (1987) 3 p.m.