Modern fandom is wonderful. The ease of communication and organization afforded by the internet make it possible for fans of cult films to put together regular events that connect them with other enthusiasts.
The Big Lebowski is something of an odd choice for cult film status – it’s the rare “midnight film” that’s actually good and stands on its own without a cheering crowd. Neglected on its release in 1998, it is as one of the best films from the Coen brothers, but that hasn’t stopped rabid fans from creating a whole world around the meandering exploits of The Dude (Jeff Bridges), Walter Sobchak (John Goodman) and various other bizarre, hilarious characters.
Tulsa’s Fassler Hall and The Dust Bowl in OKC team up to host the second annual “gathering of Lebowski fans” at The Dude Abides celebration April 27. Festivities include a trivia contest; the chance for couples to get married or renew their vows; a costume contest (get some friends together and go as German nihilists); and half-price bowling at The Dust Bowl, in case you want to channel your inner Jesus Quintana.
Jackie Chan has been an entertainment icon for so long that it’s hard to remember before the Rush Hours of the world to a time when he was a fresh-faced, Hong Kong martial artist, a lean breath of fresh air in a world of action films dominated by musclebound Europeans like Jean-Claude Van Damme.
This month, Criterion returns you to those days with a restored re-release of Police Story and Police Story 2, which first introduced Chan to America. Chan dazzles as rogue cop Ka-Kui, bringing energy and humor to the part. If these two action classics aren’t enough, the release also features stunt reels of Chan’s gravity-defying moves, plus an essay by Nick Pinkerton, one of today’s best film critics.
Pixar aside, American animation studios have long existed in the shadow of Studio Ghibli and struggle to produce films a fraction as interesting or mature as the Japanese animation giant. In the past decade, however, Laika Studio pushed to become the premier American animation studio, turning out thoughtful, beautiful stop motion films like The Boxtrolls and Kubo and the Two Strings.
Laika’s newest film, released this month, looks like it pushes its unique aesthetic into new territory. Missing Link, about a sasquatch who sets off to find his long-lost family, seems a tad sillier than Laika’s usual fare (Coraline and Kubo in particular). But the studio should avoid the low-hanging fruit of other children’s movies (looking at you, Minions), and the voices (of Zach Galifianakis, Hugh Jackman, Zoe Saldana and Stephen Fry) should bring crack comic timing. This should be a film that parents can enjoy alongside their children.