I spend a lot of time trying to figure out if this City of Angels actually is the greatest urban experiment ever so far in history or whether it's just another place with a humongous gathering of know-nothings per capita. The most humongous gathering that would seem, quite often. Like, maybe we have more know-nothings per capita than Palm Spings has Plastic Surgeons? It's possible. And just like those plastic surgeons, damn, the know-nothings can be damned busy. All the time.
Far too busy then, to listen to Roger Corman speak at the American Cinematheque here in the supposed heart of the supposed film capital of the world. It's a pity, because what he's talking about, is absolutely more relevant than ever. Putting movies together in a couple of weeks and getting them out there for an audience - just like that! - Roger Corman's like a 1960s one man YouTube.
Corman is the man who can teach Echo Park's failed film students more in 5 minutes than they're ever going learn by hiding beneath their oh so ironic trucker caps they bought a week after Ashton Kucher whom they simply cannot mention without doing some sort of Wayne's Wor'd wretching action while secretly wishing they were him. Believe me, I am forever parading around the house in my eurofabrique jockey outlet shorts and beseeching wife-x, "Now do I remind you of Ashton Kucher? Now! Do I!?" I know. And it's really okay. I always get the side-to-side.
So. Corman speaks. Corman brings his posse across the street from Musso & Franks where he's been going since it opened in 1919 and plays the last serious movie he ever made. It's said. 1962's 'The Intruder' starring a sensationally nihilistic William Shatner. He so is. He will destroy anything and he will destroy himself. Damn, William Shatner is so fantastic in this, as a charmingly maleovelent wholly frightening racist interloper hell bent on derailing high school desegragation in the South in the early 60s. Good god almighty. Obviously no one sticks around as long as Shatner without talent, and he's sold his for a pretty penny over the years, but as The Intruder he brings the house DOWN. Shatner is tranformed from the Kirk we know, from the new frontier to the old and we are transfixed. His Adam Cramer is truly astonishing and I've rarely seen as memorable a character as this or a movie like this.
By the way, 'The Intruder' was shot on the hoof, literally, as the Southern Cops chased Corman and his crew out of the boot heel of Missouri.
Joe Dante, who probably should've quit after Pirahnas, while he was ahead, shared a conversation with Corman after an earlier showing of 'Little Shop of Horrors' - a movie shot in two days and one night. Dante was a great and knowledgeable host. Recognizing and bringing it home that Roger Corman has given so much to Hollywood. You can check wikipedia for his legend
I won't get into it here. But this was just another day for the American Cinematheque, at the Egyptian, where, fuck ILM, they make exceptional things happen everyday without the green screen.
Oh and ladies, there was an exceptionally high quotient of baldies in the audience too.
Visit the American Cinematheque