Staying in LA this Thanksgiving? What better way to digest and relax than with a classic movie (or seven)? Whether you're entertaining a cult film-obsessed cousin or a nostalgic nana—or are spending the holiday solo, there's something for everyone in our round-up of the best classic films screening this holiday weekend. Rather not doff your sweatpants? We get it. Scroll down to see our best movie recommendations for every mood—no need to leave the house (or your leftovers). Enjoy!
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"If it's in a word, or it's in a look, you can't get rid of the Babadook." What at first glance seems like a quirky take on a children's bedtime story develops into an expertly unsettling horror film in this Sundance Film Festival selection. A Tim Burton-esque monster pits single mother and son against each other, with notes of Mommie Dearest, Freddy Krueger and The Omen's Damien melded into one movie. See the critically acclaimed Australian film as the Cinefamily screens it for a week.
On the night before Thanksgiving, give thanks for the legacy of Richard Pryor at this double feature. Filmed in Long Beach, Pryor's hugely influential Live in Concert film was his first theatrical release, as well as the first feature ever to consist solely of stand-up comedy. Next up is the 1982 Live on the Sunset Strip. Filmed at the Hollywood Palladium, the performance is Pryor's first since catching on fire while freebasing cocaine two years earlier. The comedian delivers different characters, and of course the laughs, joking candidly about drug addiction and racism. See one of the greatest comedians in two of the greatest live comedy films ever at the New Beverly Cinema.
Director Ana Lily Amirpour has managed to breathe new life into the vampire genre with her debut feature, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. Set in the fictional Iranian ghost town Bad City—though it was filmed right here in California, with beautiful black-and-white cinematography—a lonely vampire girl stalks the immoral citizens, and possibly falls in love. The film opened to rave reviews, screened during summer's Sundance Next Fest and now takes over the Nuart for a week.
Spend Thanksgiving night at the newly revitalized New Bev, where Quentin Tarantino has selected Dances with Wolves for the night's program. The 1990 controversial Oscar winner for best film follows an exiled Union lieutenant in the Civil War who befriends wolves and Indians. Perfect for Turkey Day, no? Kevin Costner directed, produced and starred in the three-hour epic western.
The Egyptian Theatre presents one of Stanley Kubrick's classics. This sci-fi masterpiece is an epic film both visually and aurally. It's widely recognized as one of the most influential films ever made. Originally a bit of a flop, the film has endured, developing a cult audience and standing the test of time thanks to its meditation on everything from the dangers of technology to the future of the human race. The immense space vistas are best seen on the big screen, so you're in luck.
Director Anthony Powell's 15-years-in-the-making documentary gives a unique glimpse into what Antarctica is truly like—specifically, what it's like to spend a full year in the most severe environment on Earth, from the breathtaking beauty of the continent to the isolated winters of 24/7 darkness. It centers on the small group of people who actually call Antarctica home, and the close-knit community they make up. It makes for an otherworldly experience one rarely gets from merely watching a film. Don't miss the chance to see the doc as it plays for a week at the Nuart.
Quentin Tarantino once stated that the film he'll be remembered for is his 2009 World War II epic Inglourious Basterds, and he just might be right. Brad Pitt's role is evidence of his versatility at its finest, while Christoph Waltz delivers the performance of his career, which landed him an Oscar. Tarantino's taking over the helm of programming at the New Bev may have something to do with these three Friday midnight screenings throughout November, but the chance to see the standout film in 35mm shouldn't be missed. .
Among the most beloved of all musicals, Singin' in the Rain is the most fun of the small genre of films dealing with Hollywood's transition to talkies (sorry the Artist). Gene Kelly stars as silent movie star Don Lockwood making an uneasy transition to sound, though he admittedly has a much easier time of it than his squeaky-voiced leading lady. Luckily Debbie Reynolds and pal Donald O'Connor are around to help him out. The film's musical performances are what stick in your mind, from O'Connor's hilarious "Make 'Em Laugh" routine to the title track to the stylized "Broadway Melody." The song-and-dance numbers and laughs never fail to disappoint, even after 61 years.
Watch the cinematic battle waged between man and T. Rex in this 1993 Steven Spielberg flick. The dinosaur epic is a work of clockwork precision, the last of the director's “perfect” movies (along with the same year’s Schindler’s List) before a move into more idiosyncratic territory. It’s endlessly quotable and tons of fun—prime pickings for a midnight movie. Catch it in 35mm at the Nuart.
American Cinematheque is paying tribute to the late, great Peter O'Toole with a 70mm screening of his beloved three-and-a-half-hour epic about British colonialism, directed by David Lean. O'Toole plays T.E. Lawrence—the role that made him famous—in his feature debut, and Omar Sharif, Anthony Quinn, Jack Hawkins, Claude Rains and Alec Guinness round out the cast. All who've seen the film will agree that it's one of the few that must be seen on the big screen.
Frankly, my dear, you should give a damn about the chance to catch Gone With the Wind on the big screen. Victor Fleming's Civil War epic follows the tribulations of spoiled Southern belle Scarlett O'Hara (Vivien Leigh), her maturation throughout the war and her turbulent romance with Rhett Butler (Clark Gable). Trust us, the near-four-hour running time will fly by.
Giuseppe Tornatore's beautiful Cinema Paradiso explores youth in a coming-of-age tale woven with a celebration of the cinema. The prime example of "nostalgic postmodernism" was the 1989 Academy Award winner for best foreign language film. Anybody who loves movies enough to regularly visit revival houses will get choked up by the parade of forbidden kisses that constitutes this film’s climax. And Ennio Morricone really outdoes himself in his score here. See a newly restored version of the film in honor of the 25th anniversary of its Oscar win.