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No Turkeys Here: Post-Thanksgiving Movie Revivals Liven Up Local Screens

By Joel Wicklund in Arts & Entertainment on Nov 28, 2014 8:00PM

"Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" (Photo: © 1989 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.)

If Thanksgiving gluttony has put you into an immobile state, why fight it? You need to build up fat to fight the increasingly cold temps anyway, so parking your rear at the local movie theater is really just self-winterizing.

But if the holiday weekend releases aren't grabbing you (isn't Horrible Bosses 2 the definition of a sequel no one was demanding?) and you're caught up on the recent flicks you were itching to see, have no fear. The next few days offer the chance to revisit some notable films from the past.

Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (Saturday, Nov. 29 - Thursday, Dec. 4, Brew & View at the Vic Theatre): The Brew & View series is re-launched with a new digital projector, a new screen and the world's greatest line readings of "Whoa." The longevity of the terminally wooden Keanu Reeves' career amazes me, but he was never more appealing than in this 1989 airhead comedy. The laughs are mild, but the charm is sky high. Keanu loyalists can also take in his latest, John Wick, and the year's biggest box office hit, The Guardians of the Galaxy...all for a mere five bucks. You don't go to the Brew & View expecting an attentive, serious crowd. But with the right movies and the right beer, it can be fun. Bill and Ted are tailor-made for this environment.

Die Hard (Tuesday, Dec. 2, 8 p.m. at the Carmike Rosemont 18): I've always liked Bruce Willis as a character actor (Mortal Thoughts, Billy Bathgate, Nobody's Fool) more than an action star. Willis was always a little too smug in the hero role for my taste, but there's no denying the well-executed thrills of this 1988 blockbuster that has spawned four sequels thus far. The movie is being shown as part of WGN radio personality Nick Digilio's monthly Film Club series.

Gone With the Wind (Thursday, Dec. 4, 7 p.m. at Pickwick Theatre): I confess, though I admire its lavish production elements, Gone With the Wind just doesn't thrill me. But with 75 years of adoring fans all around the world behind it, who cares what I think? The epic Civil War melodrama played in some theaters earlier this fall, but as someone old enough to remember when its network TV showings were a really big deal, this milestone anniversary year has seemed to pass rather quietly. The Park Ridge Classic Film Series will attempt to remedy that with this screening at the beautiful Pickwick. If it's not too crowded, perhaps you can grab a bite around the corner at the Pickwick Restaurant before it closes its doors.

King of the Hill (Monday, Dec. 1, 7 p.m. at Doc Films): Steven Soderbergh's 1993 adaptation of A.E. Hotchner's Depression-era memoir isn't merely one of the director's best films, it's one of the very best movies of the '90s. For some reason, this moving, richly detailed and gorgeously shot drama remains unknown to a lot of people, despite the director's later popular and critical hits. I rank this up with The Limey and The Underneath (also deserving of way more notoriety) as his top accomplishments to date.

Wings (Saturday, Nov. 29, 3 p.m. and Monday, Dec. 1, 6:30 p.m. at the Gene Siskel Film Center): The aerial footage is still amazing 87 years after this silent World War I epic first dazzled audiences. The cast includes iconic starlet Clara Bow (known as the "It" girl at the height of her fame) and a young Gary Cooper in a brief supporting role. This was the first movie to win Best Picture at Hollywood's orgy of self-congratulation, the Academy Awards. But don't hold that against it. It's a darn entertaining film. Showing in a new 4K DCP restoration.

The Warriors (Friday, Nov. 28 - Monday, Dec. 1, Logan Theater): Yeah, there's a lot of cornball dialogue, iffy acting and dated elements in Walter Hill's comic book take on gang warfare. But there's also a whole lot of awesome. The themed gangs (who can forget the Baseball Furies?) and tightly choreographed action hold up in this lean, stylish and fun genre classic.

Finally, while I have to note The Sound of Music is playing at the Music Box this weekend, I'm relegating it to near-footnote status. True, I'm as dispassionate about this beloved classic as I am about Gone With the Wind, but that's not the reason for my second-rate treatment. It's because the movie is showing in the disturbingly popular "Sing Along" edition. I have never experienced this phenomenon and hope I never will. While it's far from my favorite musical, why on earth would you want a crowd of amateurs singing over Julie Andrews? I mean, good lord people!