Paramount Summer Classic Film Series: Mavericks

The Iron Giant, Poltergeist, Jaws, Pretty Woman

The Iron Giant (1999)

Sat., May 23, 1pm (P)
It's a simple enough message: You are who you choose to be. The friendship between latchkey kid Hogarth Hughes and the space-born behemoth at the heart of Brad Bird's animated feature is entertainment enough, but the film's true power is in its illustration of how challenging it really is to be who you are. Set against the backdrop of small-town Maine in 1957, a paranoid GI investigating recent strange occurrences convinces the community they are in danger of being overrun by a Martian invasion. You are who you choose to be: Amid that mass hysteria, how do our heroes keep that twinkling principle in mind? By choosing to explore the unknown rather than attack it, to sacrifice safety-in-numbers for personal responsibility. By not being simply a boy, or a robot, but Superman. – Jason Stout

Poltergeist (1982)

Tue., June 9, 9:15pm & Wed., June 10, 7pm (P)
You can talk about the alleged curse that hovers over this film or the arguments over directorial authorship, but for me this movie is about one badass mom: JoBeth Williams. Not only does she swear like a sailor, hum beer jingles while changing the bedsheets, and roll perfect joints, she's also the only one in the family that totally takes in stride the fact that her daughter has been kidnapped by supernatural entities. I saw the film way too young (I was 11), and while it's scarred me for life (in a good way), I recognize now that Williams' Diane Freeling was my first onscreen crush. If there's a curse attached to this film, it's the fact that they've remade it. – Josh Kupecki

Jaws (1975)

Wed., July 15, 9:15pm & Thu., July 16, 7:15pm (S)
This is the story of how Steven Spielberg's maverick filmmaking in Jaws once saved my life (in a figurative manner of speaking, not the jaws-of-life sense). It was the night that the very first SXSW Film Festival concluded. I came home exhausted and collapsed on the couch. I'd had my fill of navel-gazing indie movies, and plots about cheating girlfriends and masturbating boyfriends. I started flipping channels on the TV remote, and suddenly Jaws came into view. It was the perfect antidote. The concise filmmaking, expert pacing, visceral thrills, and unself-absorbed focus instantly made me a believer in movies all over again. – Marjorie Baumgarten

Pretty Woman (1990)

Tue., July 21, 8:50pm & Wed., July 22, 7:15pm (S)
"Fifty bucks, grandpa. For 75, the wife can watch." Sure, she recruited the doe-eyed Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts) into a life of prostitution – but hey, a girl's got to make money, and Kit De Luca (Laura San Giacomo) knows how to do it. The Italian streetwalker constantly chides Vivian that she wasn't cut out for the life, and shows by example the true depths to which she could descend. But while she encourages Vivian to be "Cinder-fuckin'-rella," the only way Kit is getting out of the gutters of Hollywood is on the fine points of her own stilettos. – Nina Hernandez

The 2015 Paramount Summer Classic Film Series kicks off May 22 with a 35mm print of Casablanca and runs through Sept. 6. See the insert in this issue and for complete schedule. Films screening at the Paramount Theatre (P), 713 Congress, are presented in 35mm; films at the Stateside (S), 719 Congress, are presented in digital HD.

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