Hands up -- who's tired of hearing the movie industry whine about how earnings are down for the year? Carping about the lack of audiences for first-run movies while a big-screen adaptation of junk TV show The Dukes of Hazzard floods theaters is no way to win sympathy. And yes, while Dukes was No. 1 at the box office its first weekend, that just means it was the lesser of all evils; something had to be No. 1 at the box office, just as someone has to be president. If there was an alternative, moviegoers would take it.
And now, with the return of the Reel Late movie series, St. Louis has more than two months' worth of enjoyable alternatives. From Friday, August 19, through November 5, the Tivoli Theatre (6350 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-995-6270 or www.landmarktheatres.com) hosts films both new and old, both awesome and awesomely bad, every Friday and Saturday at midnight. True, none of the films are first-run -- but none of them star Seann William Scott, either. And with an excellent mix of films skewing sharply toward the cult-classic end of the spectrum, Reel Late actually promises bang for the buck ($6.50 a ticket), even if you're going to revisit a movie you own on DVD, VHS and LaserDisc.
Donnie Darko opens the series this weekend (August 19 and 20) and continues next weekend as well (August 26 and 27; this two-weekend run is standard for all films in the series). A new film is added to the cycle on the second weekend, so when poor Donnie and his end-of-the-world-prophesying rabbit, Frank, depart, Napoleon Dynamite takes their place. This rotation makes for some excellent double features: Rushmore and Shaun of the Dead play the same weekend (October 21 and 22), and stop-motion classic The Nightmare Before Christmas and 3-D lite-porno Disco Dolls in Hot Skin share the theater October 7 and 8. (Insert your own acting joke/puppet comment here.) The series wraps up with the granddaddy-dressed-as-grandma of all midnight movies, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, in November. In between, there should be a lot of empty seats in the multiplexes.