2002 Summer Films

Join the North Carolina Museum of Art for a long, hot summer of movies and music! Memorable film music doesn't mean just musicals. We'll be showing an eclectic mix of movies that use song and score in innovative ways. There will be rousing concert films, as the artists from the phenomenal O Brother, Where Art Thou soundtrack take the stage at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium in Down From the Mountain and a cast of superlative Latin jazz artists jam in Calle 54. In Songcatcher, a turn of the century musicologist documents the fierce purity of NC mountain ballads and you can enjoy composer Randy Newman's Oscar-winning (finally!) music for Monsters, Inc. We'll show the Beatles in the greatest rock and roll movie ever made, A Hard Day's Night, and the hilarious mockumentary about a fake metal band, This is Spinal Tap. Elvis will cut loose on screen, and in Ghost World an alienated teen will be fired up by an old Skip James blues record. You'll hear one of Bernard Herrmann's landmark Hitchcock scores in North By Northwest, Burt Bachrach's catchy Butch Cassidy theme, and the Pythons irresistibly bursting into song. And, Dr. Strangelove gets the prize for the best use of a sentimental WW II ballad to symbolize nuclear holocaust.

All films shown outdoors at the North Carolina Museum of Art, and begin at 9:00 pm (dusk) unless otherwise noted.

Free parking, bring a blanket or a beach chair, and your own picnics!

Tickets: $5 general admission ($3 NCMA members) $3 children (ages 2-12) Grass Passes $30 ($25 NCMA members) good for 10 admissions

Call the NCMA box office for information: (919) 715-5923

May 31:

Down From the Mountain (2001) Directed by Nick Doob, D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hedegus. (98 min) Rated G.

The Coen Brothers' O Brother Where Art Thou was one of the genuine movie pleasures of last year. Fueled by a rootsy score performed by some of country music's premiere artists, the success story seems in no danger of quitting, as the soundtrack continues its #1 reign on the album chart. Here, the cameras explore behind the scenes at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium, and movingly highlight one of the late John Hartford's last performances. The fusion of Emmy Lou Harris', Allison Krause's and Gillian Welch's otherworldly voices on "Go to Sleepy Little Baby" would be a musical highlight of any year. First, enjoy a concert by old-time string band Big Medicine. $8 ($5) admission, $3 children 2-12. Grass Passes not valid; filmgoers must pay concert admission.

June 1:

Songcatcher (1999) Written and Directed by Maggie Greenwald. Janet McTeer, Aiden Quinn, Pat Carroll, Iris DeMent (112 min.) Rated PG-13 for sensuality and an intense childbirth scene.

Dr. Lily Penleric is a starchy musicologist frustrated by her insular academic world. Escaping to the glorious Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina, she is startled to discover the 16th century Celtic ballads she loves preserved with a haunting clarity by musicians isolated for centuries. Slowly, she begins to understand not just the music's beauty, but the passion of its creation; the songs are "like the air you all breathe." First, enjoy a concert by Iris DeMent and Sheila Kay Adams, who performed in the film. $15 ($12) admission, $5 children 2-12. Grass Passes not valid; filmgoers must pay concert admission.

June 7:

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) Directed by Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones, written by and starring them and the rest of the Pythons; Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Michael Palin. (91 min). Rated PG for naughty jokes and gore.

A passel of nutty Arthurian knights on a quest slog through a gloriously filthy and unromanticized Medieval Britain. Witty and erudite, as well as coarse and savage, the film gives equal weight to literary musings ("Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government"), killer rabbits and Knights who say, "Ni!" As comedies get dumber and dumber, the Pythons just seem smarter and smarter. "The movie remains gloriously hysterical and splendiferously unhinged, as fresh and funny as ever." (Joe Leydon).


June 8:

Shrek (2001) Directed by Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson. Voices of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, John Lithgow. (90 min.) PG for swearing and potty humor.

An ogre perfectly adjusted to life as a loathsome creature embarks on a quest for a princess when his beloved swamp becomes an internment camp for fairy tale fugitives. The hyperreal CG animation goofs on Disney-esque tradition; if you have ever started to gag as the heroine communes with gentle woodland creatures, this is the movie for you. Eddie Murphy is a standout as Shrek's garrulous donkey sidekick in this big-hearted tale. "Want a great taste of comedy in a large frothy glass? Take a great green gulp of Shrek and savor the moment" (Elias Savada).

June 15:

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) Directed by Stanley Kubrick, Written by Kubrick and Terry Southern. Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden, Keenan Wynn, Slim Pickens. (93 min) Not rated, suggested PG for black comedy.

A deranged general obsessed with the corruption of his precious bodily fluids single handedly launches a nuclear Holocaust. And, it's a comedy! This ferocious Cold War era satire has, unfortunately, never become dated. Kubrick immersed himself in books and journals on nuclear strategy to produce this outrageous parable about sex and death. "What the wacky characters in Dr. Strangelove are saying is precisely what needs to be said; this nightmare eventuality we have concocted for our children is nothing but a crazy fantasy, by nature as horribly crippled and dehumanized as Dr. Strangelove himself." (Lewis Mumford, 1964). Film Notes for Dr. Strangelove.


June 22:

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) Directed by George Roy Hill. Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Katharine Ross (110 min.) Rated PG for a few swearwords, discreet sensuality and Western violence.

Butch and Sundance are easy-going, non-violent bank robbers until a railroad tycoon's vendetta chases them to the wilds of Bolivia and their luck runs out. This beloved, prototypical buddy movie is an ode, not so much to the romance of the vanishing Old West, as to the moment in time when dreamboats Newman and Redford were the sexiest men on earth. Lush (Oscar-winning) photography by Conrad Hall, crackerjack (Oscar-winning) dialogue by William Goldman ("I've got vision," Butch announces, "and the rest of the world wears bifocals") and a sappy 12-minute (Oscar-winning) score by Burt Bacharach. Film Notes for Butch Cassidy.


June 28:

North by Northwest (1959) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason (136 min.) Not rated, but suitable for all ages.

The innocent man wrongly accused + the cool blonde temptress + the heartstopping climax = classic Hitchcock. An advertising executive having a drink at the Plaza Hotel is mistaken for a spy and finds himself running for his life from a crop duster in a deserted Midwestern cornfield and skittering off the giant heads of Mt. Rushmore. "North by Northwest is rightfully acclaimed as Hitchcock's greatest comic thriller" (Paul Condon and Jim Sangster). Rescheduled due to last year's thunderstorms. Film Notes for North by Northwest.


June 29:

Calle 54 (2000) Directed by Fernando Trueba. Gato Barbieri, Tito Puente, Chico O'Farrell (105 min) Rated G.

Director Tureba rejoices in the lives and intoxicating rhythms of a cast of 12 superb Latin Jazz ensembles. Filmed all over the world, but landing on NYC's 54th Street, this is a loving tribute to a vibrant tradition. "…the emotional range of what we hear is extraordinary, with a single song often fusing the electricity of salsa, the romance of bossa nova, the tangled impressionism of bebop and the sheer tumult of 70s fusion." (Owen Glieberman). First, enjoy a concert by salsa-jazz masters Carnavalito. $8 ($5) admission, $3 children 2-12. Grass Passes not valid; filmgoers must pay concert admission.

July 12:

The Man Who Wasn't There (2001) Directed by Joel Coen. Billy Bob Thornton, Frances McDormand, James Gandolfini, Tony Shaloub (116 min) Rated R for mature themes and an act of violence.

The Coen Brothers' brilliantly chill noir charts how a self-effacing barber's unexpectedly powerful yen to invest in a chain of dry cleaning stores leads to mayhem. The Man... is hijacked halfway through by Tony Shaloub's flamboyantly amoral defense attorney; one of the year's great performances. Roger Deakins' crisp black and white photography is stunning, revealing "the satiny gray of indecision, the off-white of deceit, the gutta-percha of despair, the milky cream of betrayal." (Stephen Hunter).

July 13:

Monsters, Inc. (2001) Directed by Peter Docter. Voices of John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Mary Gibbs, Steve Buscemi. (92 min) Rated G

Is there a more primal childhood fear than of the monsters lurking in your closet? That terror is turned on its furry blue ear as the creepy creatures turn out to be simply doing their jobs. Pixar continues to propel the Looney Tunes aesthetic into the digital age, aided by Randy Newman's Carl Stallings-ish score. "What makes Monsters, Inc. so wonderful is that it's about the scream deficit, yet all great cartoons are powered by screams. It's a tribute to noise, so how can you not fall in love with it?" (Elvis Mitchell).

July 19:

This is Spinal Tap (1984) Directed by Rob Reiner. Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer. (83 min) Rated R for raunchy rock and roll language and lyrics.

The waning fortunes of an impossibly dim and self-deluded heavy metal band, on a doomed tour to promote their latest album "Smell the Glove," are charted in this utterly believable comic mockumentary. Director Reiner and the three stars wrote it, and Guest, McKean and Shearer composed and performed the (in)credible music. The film also skewers 20 years of rock, from the group's origin as British invasion Beatles' clones to psychedelia to pretentious quasi-Druidical stage shows. Wickedly sharp, and treading successfully as one band member describes, "such a fine line between stupid and clever."


July 20:

A Hard Day's Night (1964) Directed by Richard Lester. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr (85 min). Rated G.

A fictional day in the life of the Fab Four careens twixt "a train and a room, and a car and a room, and a room and a room." Fleet, jaunty and irreverently funny, it brilliantly played into every teen girl's fantasy of what it would be like to Meet the Beatles. Matchless score (written in a week and recorded in 4 days) highlights the best rock and roll movie ever made. "We weren't interested in being stuck in one of those typical nobody-understands-our-music plots where the local dignitaries are tying to ban something as terrible as the Saturday Night Hop…how could we have faced each other if we had allowed ourselves to be involved in that kind of a movie?" (John Lennon).Film notes for A Hard Day's Night. First, a concert by fab Beatles cover band, The Spongtones. $10 ($7) admission, $5 children 2-12. Grass Passes not valid; filmgoers must pay concert admission.


August 2:

The Seven Year Itch (1955) Directed by Billy Wilder. Marilyn Monroe, Tom Ewell, Evelyn Keyes (105 min) Not Rated, suggested PG for suggestiveness.

There is no more potent image in American cinema than Marilyn, her white halter dress billowing in the breeze of a Manhattan subway grate. She is luminous in this lusty 1950s time capsule about a doughy, middle-aged husband, liberated for the summer from his wife and son, who daydreams about the va-va-voom neighbor upstairs. Director Wilder bent the censorship code until it nearly snapped, his script surging with canoe oars, milk bottles, undies in the icebox and the siren call of Rachmaninoff.


August 3:

Elvis: That's the Way It Is (1970) Directed by Denis Sanders (94 min) Rated PG for language.

The rehearsals for a 1969 Las Vegas extravaganza provide a suspenseful prologue to the hip-shaking musical highlights from six classic concerts. Elvis: That's the Way It Is captures Elvis at a creative peak, before the boredom, the drugs and the fried banana sandwiches took their toll. Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis' Machiavellian manager, had sidetracked The King into a decade of cornball romance movies, forcing him out of step with the Beatles' revolution. But after an explosive 1968 show, Elvis returned enthusiastically to his performing roots and the almost religious adulation of his fans. "I think it's important for me to just entertain…make people happy, help them forget all their troubles for a while. I think that's what I'm on this earth to do."

First, "Illusions of the King: A Tribute to Elvis starring Keith Henderson." Chapel Hill native Henderson just won the "Tribute to the King" national competition in Biloxi, Mississippi, and will help commemorate the 25th anniversary of Elvis' passing to rock 'n' roll heaven. Concert at 7:30, Film at 9:00. $12 ($9) admission, $5 children 2-12. Grass Passes not valid; filmgoers must pay concert admission.

August 9:

Ghost World (2001) Directed by Terry Zwigoff. Thora Birch, Steve Buscemi, Scarlett Johansson (111 min.) Rated R for language and a little sex.

Two best friends drip their hipster scorn on the depersonalized suburban wasteland to which they feel condemned. To relieve their torpor, they decide to torment gawky Seymour, deemed a pathetic loser. But, Enid is riveted by a Skip James blues record she buys from him at a yard sale, and cautiously befriends him. "He's the exact opposite of everything I hate," she says wonderingly. A perfect teen movie, filled with stinging sarcasm, and about intellectual, not sexual awakening. First a concert of blues classics by Scott Ainslie. $7 ($4) admission, $3 children 2-12. Grass Passes not valid; filmgoers must pay concert admission.

August 16:

The Adventures of Wallace and Gromit: A Grand Day Out (1992), A Close Shave (1995) and The Wrong Trousers (1993). (about 110 min. altogether) Rated G.

Together on the Big Screen for the first time, dotty inventor Wallace and his long-suffering pooch, Gromit, in all their Claymation glory. In A Grand Day Out, a Wensleydale cheese crisis prompts a lunar excursion, A Close Shave has Wallace romancing the lovely knitter Wendolene, oblivious to the sheep-rustling mayhem all around him, and The Wrong Trousers is a stop-motion film noir pitting our heroes against a diabolical penguin mastermind.

August 23:

Bull Durham (1988) Written and Directed by Ron Shelton. Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins (108 min.) Rated R for sex and language.

Annie Savoy, sensual muse of baseball, sex and metaphor, is the apex of the best movie ever filmed in the Triangle. Each year she dedicates herself to one hot Durham Bulls player before he moves up to the majors. She blesses a goofy wild card rookie, who is also being nurtured by a has-been catcher, drafted to lend the recruit a little mature wisdom and pitching control. Shelton graduated from Durham High School, just a block away from the fabled Durham Athletic Park, and spent five years in the minors, so he knows his stuff.

August 24:

A League of Their Own (1992) Directed by Penny Marshall. Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Madonna, Rosie O'Donnell (124 min.) Rated PG for swearing, scratching.

With the boys off to WWII and Rosie the Riveter stepping up to the plate in the defense plants, two prickly ball-playing sisters bring their sibling rivalry to the newly formed All American Girls Professional Baseball League. High spirited and sports minded, this retrieved feminist history provides laughs and thrills, proving "diamonds are a girl's best friend." (Rita Kempley). Don't forget, "There's no crying in baseball!"

September 6:

Amelie (2001) Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz (121 min) Undeservedly rated R for comic sexual situations. French, with English subtitles.

Amelie is a shyly eccentric cafe waitress who discovers a knack for clandestine good deeds. Her forlorn childhood has alerted her to the exquisite pleasures and unexpected wit of daily life, and her joy is contagious. A color-saturated valentine to a dreamy Paris, the clever interlocking plots and a sweetly frustrating romance add to the delight of this tasty confection. "Amelie is a charmer, a movie whose embrace of cinema is so passionate it could be mistake for an embrace of life." (Mick La Salle).

September 7:

A Beautiful Mind (2001) Directed by Ron Howard. Russell Crowe, Ed Harris, Jennifer Connolly (135 min) Rated PG-13 for intense thematic material, sex and a scene of violence.

Schizophrenia from the inside out, a harrowing experience provided by Oscar-winning Crowe, charting a twisty path between delusion and genius. Howard's film is selectively based on the life of mathematician John Forbes Nash, an arrogant genius whose brilliant game theory won the Nobel Prize. "There are few actors alive who could have brought this part off--you need just the right blend of artistry and insanity." (David Edelstein).


All films shown outdoors at the North Carolina Museum of Art, and begin at 9:00 pm (dusk) unless otherwise noted.

Free parking, bring a blanket or a beach chair, and your own picnics!

Tickets: $5 general admission ($3 NCMA members) $3 children (ages 2-12) Grass Passes $30 ($25 NCMA members) good for 10 admissions

Call the NCMA box office for information (919) 715-5923

For a map to the museum or more information about the concert schedule visit the Museum's website at www.artmuseum.org