Stay Inside This Weekend!

What a coincidence. The hottest weekend of the year is also the best weekend of the year for old movie buffs in New York City.

Stay inside this weekend, avoid the record-breaking heat and enjoy TWO DOZEN classic films — everything from silent 1920s melodrama to bloated 1990s action films! 


Essential Pre-Code through August 14

Fri: Busby Berkeley’s GOLD DIGGERS OF 1933! 

Fri 6:25/10PM: ROMAN SCANDALS (1933) 

Sat/Mon: First version of THE MALTESE FALCON (1931) 

Sat/Sun/Mon: Paul Muni in Howard Hawks’s SCARFACE (1932)

Sun: THE STORY OF TEMPLE DRAKE (1933) Most notorious Pre-Code of all! 

Sun: Cecil B. DeMille’s THE SIGN OF THE CROSS (1932) 


Prince of the City: Remembering Sidney Lumet through July 15

Fri 6:15PM: Sidney Lumet’s NETWORK (1976)  

Fri 8:45PM: Sidney Lumet’s THE VERDICT (1982)

Sat 10:30AM: Sidney Lumet’s THE WIZ (1978)   

Sat 1:15PM Sidney Lumet’s THE SEA GULL (1968)  NOT ON DVD!

Sat 6:30PM: Sidney Lumet’s DOG DAY AFTERNOON (1976) 

Sat 9PM: Sidney Lumet’s SERPICO (1973)  

Sun 12:30PM: Sidney Lumet’s LONG DAYS JOURNEY INTO NIGHT (1962) 

Sun 4PM: Sidney Lumet’s Q&A (1990) w/ guest Armand Assante 

Sun 7:15PM: Sidney Lumet’s PRINCE OF THE CITY (1981) w/ guest Treat Williams 



Sat/Sun: George Roy Hill’s THE STING (1973) 

Sat/Sun 1PM: James Frawley’s THE MUPPET MOVIE (1979)

Sat/Sun 5PM: Errol Morris’s GATES OF HEAVEN (1978)


Sat/Sun: Tony Scott’s TRUE ROMANCE (1993)


Renny Harlin’s THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT (1996)

Alejandro Jodorowsky’s THE HOLY MOUNTAIN (1973)

Kurosawa’s RAN (1985)


Dorothy Gish in NELL GWYN (1926) accompanied by Ben Model Sat 2:30PM  

Buster Keaton in THE GOAT (1921) and COLLEGE (1927) at Film Forum

"Did you guys ever see STEAMBOAT BILL JR?" the scruffy college kid asked the portly middle aged couple pawing at a bag of popcorn. 

"Of course!" they replied, in evangelical unison. 

"Great!" responded the kid, his excitement barely contained. "You know that scene where the wall falls on him? Was that real?!”

This conversation continued until the the lights dimmed and the fourth installment of Film Forum’s weekly Best Of Buster Keaton series began. I’ve been to three of the screenings, and each time I’ve witnessed similarly enthusiastic interactions: in the sold-out auditorium; on the popcorn line before the screening and outside the theater after.

People are coming early and staying late. And nobody wants to leave. If only Film Forum had a lounge where we all could hang out afterwards, drink coffee, smoke cigarettes and debate the finer points of silent comedy. It would be just like film school, only without the malfunctioning equipment, unpaid internships and $100k in student loan debt.

One thing you may have heard about New Yorkers: we don’t usually strike up conversations with strangers. We’re a city of 8 million self-starters, jammed together in sweaty subways and small supermarkets, all in our own iTunes-accompanied worlds. And that’s the way we like it, bub. 

But it’s different at Film Forum, particularly when they run Buster Keaton movies.

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When people ask me if I could live anywhere other than New York City, my first thought is, “Not unless they move Film Forum.”

Everybody has their favorite movie theater, but for me, Film Forum is more than that. It’s like an extension of my living room. Forget extension. It is my living room, only with better snacks and an occasional line for the restroom. 

Over the last two decades I’ve lived on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Upper East Side, West Village and in Battery Park City, its southernmost outpost. As I have enjoyed the nomadic wanderings of an inveterate urbanite, Film Forum has remained my geographic touchstone. I’ve cycled through twenty years-worth of apartments, careers, hairstyles (and lack thereof), waist sizes and significant others, but Film Forum has remained the same three-screen storefront on Houston Street in the Village, just steps from the No. 1 train.

Nothing in my life has been more constant — or more predictable — than the expectation that sublime cinema is a mere subway ride away. 

There have been periods where I’ve spent more waking hours at Film Forum than in my own apartment. This is particularly the case during the warm weather. With my freelance status, I am often “between projects” in the summer months. This schedule may also have something to do with arrested adolescence, general laziness and my dislike for working in damp clothing. Whatever the reason(s), I am often gloriously unfettered by employment in June, July and August. 

And, by happy coincidence, Film Forum usually saves the best of their repertory programs for the twelve weeks between Memorial and Labor Days. 

In my early post-college summers, I’d find myself at Film Forum five nights per week for the annual Festival of Science Fiction and Horror, which often included mini-tributes to Plan Nine From Outer Space director Ed Wood. Repertory programmer Bruce Goldstein drove a stake through the heart of this summertime tradition more than a decade ago, perhaps because the crowd had gotten a bit too fringe-y. And that’s saying a lot, considering that Rep House Rats are already pretty fringe-y to begin with.

But every summer Goldstein throws old buffs like me a bone, and this year is no exception. On Monday nights through August 8, Film Forum is presenting The Best of Buster, a delightful series of 12 feature films and 12 short subjects starring the world’s most famous donner of porkpie hats. 

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