Roger Ebert Selected: Red Rock West
After being summarily defeated by Roger Ebert in his annual ‘Outguess Ebert Contest’, the Music Box Theatre is holding up its end of the bargain and handing over the keys to the Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic for one screening on Tuesday, May 1, 2012.
In February, as the 86th Annual Academy Awards Ceremony approached, the Music Box Theatre challenged Roger Ebert to a battle of Oscar predictions, offering him an opportunity to screen the film of his choice should he happen to win.
As Jean Dujardin became the Academy’s best actor of the year, what we feared most came to pass. It was numerically impossible for us to beat the Great Roger Ebert. The Theatre officially conceded via Twitter at 10:24pm on February 26.
Roger’s pick? The 1994 John Dahl cult classic Red Rock West:
Nicolas Cage stars in this noir thriller as Michael Williams, a drifter who lands a job when a bartender, Wayne (J.T. Walsh), mistakes him for “Lyle from Dallas.” But the gig isn’t Michael’s usual line of work: Wayne wants his wife, Suzanne (Lara Flynn Boyle), killed. When Suzanne serves up an appealing counteroffer, Michael’s little white lie spirals out of control — and then the real Lyle from Dallas (Dennis Hopper) strolls into town.
The screening will take place at 7:40pm on Tuesday, May 1, 2012.
For this special screening, we will offer tickets for just $3!
Red Rock West
directed by John Dahl starring Nicolas Cage, Dennis Hopper and Lara Flynn Boyle
When a promised job for Texan Michael fails to materialise in Wyoming, Mike is mistaken by Wayne to be the hitman he hired to kill his unfaithful wife.
John Dahl directed and co-wrote (along with his brother Rick Dahl) this quirky and energetic film noir that, after a well-received screening at the Toronto Film Festival, was consigned to oblivion before resurfacing on cable television. When the owner of a San Francisco movie theater, who was a big fan of the film, arranged for a theatrical release, the film clicked and toured the country as an art house hit.
The film concerns eternal loser Michael (Nicolas Cage), down to his last five dollars and looking for work. He finds himself at a bar in the town of Red Rock. The bartender, Wayne (J.T. Walsh) eyes him suspiciously and asks him, “You must be Lyle, from Dallas.” Michael, eager to earn some cash, agrees. It seems Wayne has a job for Michael, but what Michael doesn’t realize until too late is that the job is to kill Wayne’s wife for $10,000. Michael heads out to Wayne’s farm with the cash to warn Wayne’s wife, Suzanne (Lara Flynn Boyle). Suzanne responds by offering to double Michael’s fee if he will kill her husband instead.
Michael takes the money and tries to leave town, but when a thunderstorm comes up, he runs over a man who was trying to flag him down. The sheriff arrives on the scene to attend to matters — who turns out to be Wayne. Wayne proceeds to drive Michael out of town for an execution, but Michael manages to elude him. Flagging down a driver on the road who is driving back into Red Rock, they return to the bar, where the driver offers to buy Michael a drink.
As Michael accepts the offer of a drink, he realizes that he is drinking with the real “Lyle from Dallas” (Dennis Hopper) who is awaiting Wayne’s return.
…a diabolical movie that exists sneakily between a western and a thriller, between a film noir and a black comedy.