The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Music Box Settles Bet, Lets Ebert Screen Film Of His Choice Tuesday

By Chuck Sudo in Arts & Entertainment on Apr 30, 2012 3:40PM

Nicolas Cage in "Red Rock West."
Very few of us outguess Roger Ebert when it comes to picking the Oscar winners, but the Music Box was "summarily defeated" in an Oscar challenge with the Pulitzer Prize-winning Sun times film critic.

As a result, the Music Box is giving Ebert one night to screen a film of his choice. Ebert selected the 1994 John Dahl Film Red Rock West, starring Nicolas Cage back when he chose films based on things like script, not because he needed the money.

In his review of the film, Ebert calls it "a diabolical movie that exists sneakily between a western and a thriller, between a film noir and a black comedy." Cage plays drifter Michael Williams, who lands a job as a contract killer when a bartender (J.T. Walsh) mistakes him for hitman "Lyle from Dallas" and hires Michael to kill his wife Suzanne (Lara Flynn Boyle). When Suzanne makes Michael a counteroffer he can't refuse, the real "Lyle from Dallas" (Dennis Hopper) arrives, sending in motion a string of events that unravels Michael's little white lie.

I recently watched Red Rock West when it was offered for free on online film streaming website Crackle and its inspirations, as Ebert mentioned in his review, are the films of David Lynch and the Coen Brothers: whodunnits with a quirky sense of humor and memorable fringe characters. All the prinicpals in the film are veterans of Lynch films, which makes for another interesting parallel. In short, I was pleasantly surprised by Red Rock West, and it was another reason why Crackle is my favorite online movie website.

Tomorrow's screening of Red Rock West at the Music Box isn't free, but at $3 it may be one of the best movie deals in town this week.

The Music Box Theatre screens Red Rock West tomorrow night at 7:40 p.m.