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The Essentials: Sick in Love

Sick in Love
February 6 & 7: Badlands (1973)
February 13 & 14: Betty Blue (1986)
February 20 & 21: Buffalo 66 (1998)
February 27 & 28: Punch-Drunk Love (2002)

*Please check the week of the screening for showtimes
Sundays & Mondays in February.

Tickets: $9/Adults, $8/ Students & Seniors, and Free for Moxie Members

This quarterly series showcases the “essential” films everyone should see on the big screen. For each month-long program, we’ll screen five films organized by one of the following themes: directors, actors, genres, and eras/movements.

A Note from the Curator:
There’s a scene in PTA’s "Magnolia" where a character named Quiz Kid Donnie Smith (William H. Macy) is passionately arguing with a fellow bar patron. In this scene he is vying for the attention of a bartender with whom he’s cultivated a desperate obsession. There is a part where Donnie says “I’m sick and I’m in love.” to which the patron retorts, “You seem the sort of person who confuses the two.”. Donnie responds with something that I often go back to. He says, “That’s right. That’s the first time you’ve been right. I confuse the two and I don’t care.”
This February I wanted to do a series on love for obvious reasons. Even more-so I wanted to do a series on love stories that may not be perfect or even healthy, but deserve to be told. Not only is this a series on being love-sick, but a series on being sick and in spite of that still finding love —even if only for a while. Each one of these stories has touched me in one way or another, and I hope they will others as well.
~ Avalon Johnson

Romance as a genre has its own particular agenda designed to make audiences fall in love in much the same way the characters fall in love on screen. When the word unconventional is put in front of romance, the genre is turned upside down. Characters don't follow the usual paths towards love. The upended genre leaves the idea of love open to interpretation.

Terrence Malik’s 1966 masterful debut film, Badlands, escapes the pop culture trappings of a true crime tale. It becomes a micro story centered around obsession and loneliness; two things that bring the main characters, Kit (Martin Sheen) and Holly (Sissy Spacek), together for better or for worse.

In the french epic, Betty Blue, we experience a young woman on the edge of insanity, in a romance so pure that it could stave off the inevitable, if only for a while. The whirlwind love affair it depicts sees the pair of lovers turn their backs on conventional society in favor of the hedonistic pursuit of freedom, adventure, and carnal pleasure.

Vincent Gallo’s auteur film, Buffalo ‘66, illustrates how a chance encounter between two strangers can transform the unmovable. Love literally tap dances into the film like an MGM musical. The film begs the question; can the absolution of love triumph over the shadow of self hatred and the innate inability to be loved?

The familiar conventions of MGM musicals are the backbone of Paul Thomas Anderson's frenetic film, Punch-Drunk Love. In this film, the world of the protagonist is turned upside down when he is caught off guard by a momentous event that swells to an inconceivable crescendo of violence and all consuming romance.

This fragmented genre is a battlecry for the recognition of the great loves that traditional romance fails to depict. Fighting against the faulty framework of what love is and how it transforms; the film series, Sick in Love, suggests that no love goes undeserved.

Badlands (1973)

Sunday, February 6 2022 - (TBD)
Monday, February 7, 2022 - (TBD)

An impressionable teenage girl from a dead-end town and her older greaser boyfriend embark on a killing spree in the South Dakota badlands.
(PG, 94 min.)

"Terrence Malick's thriller Badlands (1973), is rightly revered as one of the most astonishing debuts in cinema."
~ James Christopher, Times (UK)

"Achingly evocative of a time when Hollywood had the courage to invest in complex and morally ambiguous films and an indisputable masterpiece of American cinema. [26 May 2003]"
~ Rob Fraser, Empire

Betty Blue (1983)

Sunday, February 13, 2022 - (TBD)
Monday, February 14, 2022 - (TBD)

A lackadaisical handyman and aspiring novelist tries to support his younger girlfriend as she slowly succumbs to madness.
Director's cut
(NR, 185 min.)

"If Betty Blue feasts on the bodies of its leads, it's this director's cut that fully establishes the movie's artistic bona fides."
- Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out

Buffalo '66 (1998)

Sunday, February 20, 2022 - (TBD)
Monday, February 21, 2022 - (TBD)

After being released from prison, Billy is set to visit his parents with his wife, whom he does not actually have. This provokes Billy to act out, as he kidnaps a girl and forces her to act as his wife for the visit.
(R, 110 min.)

"Alternately satirical and romantic, full of pain and humor, Buffalo '66 is a winner."
~ Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times

"All bets are off. For my money, Vincent Gallo wins the Triple Crown of indie filmmaking -- for writing, directing and starring in Buffalo '66." ~ Bob Graham, San Francisco Chronicles

Punch-Drunk Love (2002)

Sunday, February 27, 2022 - (TBD)
Monday, February 28, 2022 - (TBD)

Although susceptible to violent outbursts, bathroom supply business owner Barry Egan (Adam Sandler) is a timid and shy man by disposition, leading a lonely, uneventful life -- partly due to the constant berating he suffers from his seven sisters. However, several events transpire that shake up Egan's mundane existence, one of which is falling in love with one sister's co-worker, Lena Leonard (Emily Watson). But the romance is threatened when Egan falls victim to an extortionist.
(R, 95 min.)

"Mr. Anderson has found a way to fashion a passionate romance out of the materials of postmodern chaos."
~ Andrew Sarris, Observer

"Manages to be both heartbreaking and happy, while managing to look like nothing you've ever seen before."
~ Bruce Newman, San Jose Mercury News