Liberty Hall Brings The Action
By STEWART SMITH “Jaws,” July 5
If the summer's blockbusters have so far left you mostly indifferent, then Liberty Hall has got you covered.
Beginning Thursday, July 5, every week in July Liberty Hall will present a different, iconic summer movie, all of them perfect. Liberty Hall has had some really great lineups before with its movies, but this is by far the best that's come through.
This is the patriarch of all summer blockbusters. When it originally released in 1975, “Jaws” fundamentally changed the way films were marketed and released. It showed that summer was a prime time to release broad, box-office contenders. It was one of the first to push television advertisements and its massive ticket sales that recouped production costs within two weeks had studio execs pushing for more blockbusting titles that raked in the dough. And thus, the modern blockbuster was birthed. “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” July 12
Thankfully, “Jaws” has a legacy that outshines its financial clout in that it's still just as effective today as it was in '75. The tension, the casting, the music, the shark, it's flawless in a way that few films ever are. The only things that betrays the age of “Jaws” are the clothes and hair, otherwise this is a blockbuster that can stand toe-to-toe with any other blockbuster, before or since and still come out on top. Well, it'd still get some major competition from. …
This is Steven Spielberg's other flawless film and one that hasn't aged a day. I recently wrote on Page Two that I consider this to be a perfect action-adventure movie, a statement I still wholly stand by. Like with “Jaws” before it, Spielberg creates images in this movie that are instantly iconic, providing audiences with an experience that is cinema in its purest form. The perfect melding of talents, it is impossible to imagine anyone else crafting a product with these elements that would have resulted in such a perfect film. “Back to the Future,” July 19
Harrison Ford's career has been on auto-pilot lately, but it almost doesn't matter because we will forever have his stubbled, grinning visage shaded by that iconic fedora as Indiana Jones and we have “Raiders” to thank for that. How iconic is this movie? Hum the main theme and there's hardly a person alive who couldn't immediately tell you what movie it's from. Perfection.
“Back to the Future” is one of the most universally loved movies ever made. That's a bold, broad declaration to make, certainly, but I feel confident making it. Who doesn't enjoy this movie? I don't think I've ever met a single person who doesn't. Anecdotal as that evidence may be, I defy anyone to come up with a good reason why this is anything less than a true, stone cold American classic. The script by Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis (who also directed) is more or less flawless, setting up and paying off every moment with a skill and ease that has more or less vanished from most contemporary scripts. Christopher Lloyd gave the performance of his career as Doc Brown and Michael J. Fox continued to showcase his deft comedic talents. Alan Silvestri's orchestral score remains one of the best ever recorded. Plus, that car.“Die Hard,” July 26
Who's ready for a Christmas movie in July? No, I'm being serious. “Die Hard” is the best Christmas movie ever. It takes place Christmas Eve (a fact many seem to forget) and John McClane is something of a Santa Claus analog (a point I've elaborated on in the past).
My point is that there are few action movies ever made with the sort of rock-solid structure and endgame payoff that “Die Hard” displays. It also has a heart, something most action flicks today seem to eschew completely. But a huge part of what makes “Die Hard” work so well is that we believe in John McClane as an everyman thrust into an extraordinary situation and that he could actually do something about it. Very few action movies would likely take a breath long enough for the surprisingly touching moment of introspection that McClane has late in the film. Explosions, gun fights, characters we can believe in and one of the finest screen villains ever with Alan Rickman's Hans Gruber.
For more information on these screenings, call Anne Payne at 903-595-7274 or visit www.libertytyler.com