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Keaton Meets Country

By Scott Smith in Arts & Entertainment on Dec 29, 2004 5:55PM

Since the major studios use this month to roll out all their Oscar-worthy films, there are plenty of excellent flicks to keep you occupied during your holiday break. Not to be outdone, the Gene Siskel Film Center is putting the wraps on their cinematic year as two of their recent film series come to an end.

2004_12_29_films.JPGThe Gene’s Buster Keaton kick komes…er, comes to an end in the next week with films that highlight some of the most elaborate set pieces ever featured in his work. First up is The General tomorrow night. One of the most well known of all his films, it’s the story of a Confederate soldier who pursues his two greatest loves (his woman and his locomotive) when both are captured behind enemy lines. Next week features a pair of nautical adventures: Steamboat Bill, Jr. (which was later parodied by a certain cartoon mouse) and The Boat on January 2nd and 6th, respectively.

And while outlaw country has become fashionable again, it’s often wrapped in a flag of jingoistic love-it-or-leave-it sentiment. One of the original beer drinkers and hell raisers in country music, Billy Joe Shaver spent most of the 1970s writing outlaw country tunes in the Hank Williams style for artists like Kris Kristofferson and Waylon Jennings. A short video documentary on his life, Portrait of Billy Joe, finishes out the Music Movies series with a screening tonight at 8 PM and again on January 2nd and 5th. (Note: This film has nothing to do with a certain Tallahatchie bridge).

Images courtesy of The Gene