Sunday, December 18, 2011

Keenan’s Klassics: It’s a Shane Black Christmas

From December 2009. You know you love it.

There I am at my favorite watering hole, talking with the staff, when the subject of Christmas movies is raised.

First suggestion, not made by me: the traditional double-bill of Die Hard and Die Hard II: Die Harder.

Thus giving me the tenor of the conversation. This is not the time, perhaps, to mention Remember the Night and Holiday Affair, two overlooked films (with noir connections!) that Turner Classic Movies has labored to turn into Yuletide staples. Although a mention of Blast of Silence, full of Wenceslas wetwork, might not be out of the question.

So I lobby for my own Christmas favorite, The Ref. And then observe, not for the first time, that the entire oeuvre of Shane Black – Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout, The Long Kiss Goodnight, and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang – is set at the most wonderful time of the year.

Therefore, as you venture out for that last round of shopping, I offer, by popular demand, what has become a VKDC tradition. (“By popular demand” meaning Rosemarie asked, “Why haven’t you posted this yet?” And she did write most of it.) Here, once again, is Shane Black’s 12 Days of Christmas. Record your church group performing this and we’ll post the video here!

Twelve cars exploding
Eleven extras running
Ten tankers skidding
Nine strippers pole-ing
Eight Uzis firing
Seven henchmen scowling
Six choppers crashing

Five silver Glocks

Four ticking bombs
Three hand grenades
Two mortar shells
And a suitcase full of C-4

God bless us, everyone. Or else.

Noir City: Mark Your Calendars

Another sign of the season is the release of the schedule for Noir City. This January marks the film festival’s tenth anniversary, so it’s only fitting that the lineup is the most impressive assembled to date. Highlights include:

* A tribute to Angie Dickinson, with the lady herself there in person!

* New prints of long-lost films, including the rarely screened 1949 version of The Great Gatsby starring Alan Ladd and the huge personal favorite Three Strangers!

* A 1940s-style nightclub with live entertainment open for a single evening!

* A closing day salute to Dashiell Hammett!

My favorite double-bill on the roster, for personal reasons, is the January 23 tribute to Glenn Ford and Rita Hayworth pairing Gilda and The Money Trap. The latter is the only American film noir that I have ever introduced to Eddie Muller instead of the other way around. As such, I feel somewhat proprietary toward it. I’ve been agitating for these two movies to be shown at Noir City together for years, and I’m thrilled it’s finally happening.

Naturally, I won’t be there for that screening. But I’ll be in attendance at several others, and had the privilege of contributing to the souvenir program again this year. If you find yourself in San Francisco late next month, make it a point to stop by.