Split Decision: Double Feature Picture Show
Welcome back to Split Decision! Each week, we pose a question to our staff of knowledgable and passionate film geeks and share the responses! We may never know if it is legal to park in the center of Broad Street, but we’ll answer movie questions all day long. Chime in on Twitter, Facebook, or in the comments below!
This week’s question:
Apropos of nothing…what two movies would you program for a double-feature and what is the thematic link between them?
Having watched both of these movies recently, I think that Michael Mann's Thief and Walter Hill's The Driver would make an excellent double feature. There are obvious aesthetic reasons to program these movies together, but they are also about similarly solitary men that are exceptional at what they do. What they do happens to be criminal (and looks extremely cool when drenched in neon light) but the study of masculinity under self-imposed pressure is really what these movies are about and why they would make a great double feature. Though I can't decide if you should program the car chase movie before or after the simmering one-last-job heist movie...
I'd like to do a documentary double-feature of They Shall Not Grow Old and Apollo 11. Both films are made up entirely of archival footage, and both use that footage in new and interesting ways that keeps the history fresh and accessible to generations of film goers. Best of all, both films underlie the powerful role filmmakers can have in funding film preservation efforts. Without Peter Jackson, The Imperial War Museum would never have had the money to digitize and preserve the priceless WWI footage we see in the finished film. As a history nerd, I could not be more grateful.
Like plenty of film bros, I love Michael Mann's Heat, and seeing it on the big screen is great. What a tense, pretty movie. Using Heat as my default #1 pick, I'd follow it up with last year's American Animals, itself a tense, pretty heist movie. But American Animals is also weird in ways Heat isn't. Spoilers, I guess?, but nobody dies in American Animals and nobody makes as much an impact on the viewer as Robert DeNiro's character does in Heat. American Animals would play after Heat because it's a good movie, but also as a courtesy to the audience, because you need a comedown after all the shots are fired and that Moby song plays.
Dan Scully recently caught up with an overlooked film from the beginning of this year that I loved, so I am going to continue to champion The Kid Who Would Be King, a modern adaptation of the Arthurian legend set in modern times. Actually intended as a movie for children to watch, it combines heart, humor, decent action, and an anti-Brexit message into a fun take on the myths. Angus Imre’s (you might know him from Fleabag) take on Merlin is still one of my favorite performances of the year. Read my review here.
I’d set that as a second feature after Disney’s most recent hand-drawn animated film, The Princess and the Frog. It also updates a fairy tale to modern times (almost 100 years ago, but work with me), and does so in a way that wears its inclusiveness on its sleeve, taking the moral lessons of the original story and updating it to reflect our issues today (Disney made many adjustments to the film during production after feedback from African-American critics). It’s the final bow of a bygone era, and deserves to be remembered.
While it would be a ton of fun to program an "art house night" with something like The Piano immediately followed by A Serbian Film, just to watch stuffy, clueless audience members lose their collective shit, why would I make fans of A Serbian Film sit through The Piano? That's just cruel.
So instead, I'd put on Night of the Creeps and Slither. The latter is a film very obviously inspired by the former, yet each is a fun beast in its own right. Fans of one will undoubtedly appreciate the other, and those who have already seen both will revel in the good times. Both Creeps and Slither are aesthetically friendly introductions to the several sub genres contained within, while also being celebrations of "genre" on the whole.
Naturally, gummy worms and room temperature jello will be available at concession.
I think just because this movie is still very much in my head I would love to pair Midsommar with the original Wicker Man starring Christopher Lee.
I was really into Midsommar and I know a ton of people really praised how it looked and how it made daytime horror very very scary. I'm sure most other horror nerds know it's not the only one that pulls this off really well but it would still be great to see it with another great day time horror film like Wicker Man.
There are some really interesting elements that both movies share including outsiders coming into a cut off society. While in Midsommar it's a bunch of grad students Wicker Man gives us a police officer who is a devote Christian. While it seems in Midsommar the grad students try to accept as much of the rituals as possible even to a fault the detective in Wicker Man tails against their practices and gets into some very interesting debates about religion with Christopher Lee.
Also the endings to both of these films are pretty shocking and iconic looking.