Wet Hot American Summer. If you love movies, summer and nostalgia, this is going to be the a great weekend for you. Fourteen years ago a cult summer sensation was born when Wet Hot American Summer hit theaters. This weekend, go back to 2001, or actually 1981, when the full cast of Wet Hot American Summer returns to camp. Well actually they arrive at camp. Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp reunites the entire cast for a prequel to the first movie, and even though it’s parody, it’s actually pretty brilliant. There are complicated origin stories, new characters added with full story arcs that explain why we didn’t see them on the last day and plenty of new quotable lines to add to everyone’s favorites from the first. All eight episodes go live on Netflix at 3am tonight, so plan for an all nighter and rip through them. Then you can spend all weekend re-watching them to find out what you missed the first go round. Go to netflix.com to watch and find out how different all the campers and counselors were before the summer of ’81 changed them.
Vacation. Keep your weekend of summer nostalgia going all weekend by hitting the theaters to see the sequel to National Lampoon’s 1983 summer movie, Vacation. In the sequel, Rusty is all grown up, and played by Ed Helms. Rusty’s got kind of a no-respect job working as a pilot for a budget airline, but he loves his wife (Christina Applegate) and his kids, and wants to make them happy. When he finds out that his family is bored of their annual cabin vacation he decides to recreate the epic trip from his childhood. So many sequels and reboots end up dull and disappointing so we were completely and happily surprised to discover that Vacation 2015 is really fun, and very funny. Ignore the critics, grab a date or your kids and go see the Griswolds.
I Am Chris Farley. The brief, yet remarkable career of Chris Farley is the subject of this new documentary by filmmakers Brent Hodge and Derik Murray. Photographs and home movies traces Farley’s formative years in Madison, Wisconsin and his quick ascension at Second City Theatre in Chicago. Clips from Saturday Night Live and such films as Tommy Boy and Black Sheep show Farley at the peak of his comedic powers. Anchoring the film are remembrances from Farley’s brothers, colleagues (Lorne Michaels, David Spade, Adam Sandler, Jay Mohr, Molly Shannon, Jon Lovitz), co-stars (Tom Arnold, Dan Aykroyd, Bob Saget, Bo Derek) and friends to paint a moving portrait of a comedic giant who left us way too soon. I Am Chris Farley opens in select theaters this weekend and will air on Spike TV on August 10th. You can go to www.iamchrisfarley.com for more information.
Best Of Enemies. In the summer of 1968, political tensions were at a boiling point. The country was rocked by the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and Presidential hopeful Robert Kennedy, the war in Vietnam and civil unrest, and President Johnson’s decision not to seek another term in office, the Democratic and Republican conventions were critical in determining what direction the country was headed. that he was not seeking another term, leaving the Presidential race wide open. ABC News – then mired in last place in the ratings – decided that a portion of their convention coverage would be devoted to nightly debates featuring two figures that best represented the both ends of the political spectrum. William F. Buckley, founder of the National Review and emerging star of the new conservative movement represented the right while novelist/political commentator Gore Vidal represented the left. Throughout those ten debates, Buckley and Vidal battled it out like intellectual alley cats, each making piercing, bruising and pointed jabs about what the country needed to do to move forward. But it was also a personal battle – Vidal and Buckley hated each other and everything they stood for. Live, unscripted and uncensored, it was a ratings coup for ABC News and forever changed how public discourse was presented. Directors Robert Gordon and Morgan Neville look back at this crucial period in American history using highlights from those debates as well as character readings by Kelsey Grammar and John Lithgow to trace the birth of pundit television as we know it today. It serves as both a history lesson and riveting political theater. Best Of Enemies opens in New York and L.A. this Friday and in select theaters nationwide on August 7th. You can go towww.magpictures.com for more information.
Fantastic Negrito Deluxe by Fantastic Negrito. The story of how Xavier Dphrepaulezz became Fantastic Negrito covers both coasts and is nothing short of extraordinary. One of 15 children, Xavier lived in a strict Muslim household in Massachusetts until the family re-located to Oakland when he was 12. He quickly fell for the vibrant music – and the Oakland street life – before re-locating to L.A. to focus on music full time. With undeniable talent, Xavier landed a deal with Interscope Records. What followed was a period of creative frustration as he and the label chased a sound that ‘would sell’ rather than what played to his strengths. The album’s failure and a near fatal car accident took Xavier off the musical radar and landed him back in Oakland. Getting away from the music business (and starting a family) led to a new creative breakthrough. Using the blues as a musical anchor, Xavier now was Fantastic Negrito, an artist that fuses blues, gospel and traditional R&B to drive his songs that reflect his journey as an artist and as a man. His self titled debut EP got a major shot in the arm when he won the first ever NPR Tiny Desk Concert contest and now the EP has been re-released with more tracks including the contest winning entry, ‘Lost In The Crowd’. The EP channels everything from field hollers to Lead Belly and revival meetings to Skip Woods. Fantastic Negrito lives up to his name – its one of the best albums of the year. Fantastic Negrito Deluxe is available now through Amazon, Itunes and all major music retailers. You can also go towww.fantasticnegrito.com for tour dates and more information.
NEW YORK CITY: Rooftop Films at Brookfield Place. This weekend, Rooftop Films and Arts Brookfield will present a series of free public screenings at the Waterfront Plaza on Brookfield Plaza (formally known as World Financial Plaza). It will start with the launch party for the 12th Annual Animation Block Party featuring the latest animated short films from major and independent studios. Friday night will feature a special sneak preview of Racing Extinction, the latest environmental expose from the Academy Award winning filmmakers of The Cove. The weekend will round out with a screening of Stop Making Sense, Jonathan Demme’s 1984 hit movie that captures Talking Heads during an amazing three night run at the Pantages Theater In Hollywood. With the Hudson River providing a spacious backdrop, this series offers something for everyone. Go to www.rooftopfilms.com for more information.
NEW YORK CITY: Scorsese Screens at MOMA. As a companion piece to the ongoing Scorsese Collects exhibition, MoMa will also present a series of films (picked by Scorsese) that influenced him on his way to becoming one of the world’s greatest directors. It covers everything from early cinematic masterpieces such as The Searchers, Laura, and On The Waterfront, to classic B pictures such as Cat People, I Walked With A Zombie and Gun Crazy. Several of his own classics (Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Cape Fear) are also included. This retrospective explores Martin Scorsese the movie fan as much as it is a mini-history of cinema. Either way, its a must see for hardcore cinema heads. Scorsese Screens runs August 5th through September 6th. You can go to www.moma.org for a complete rundown of films, run times and more information.
CHICAGO: Lollapalooza. Music’s most diverse and eclectic festivals returns to Grant Park with one of its most ambitious lineups to date. Paul McCartney, Florence & The Machine and Metallica are slated to headline the 3-day event with acts such as Gary Clark, Jr, Alabama Shakes, TV On The Radio, Flying Lotus, and FKA Twigs are among the slew of acts scheduled to appear. There will also be events for kids, autograph sessions featuring many of the artists appearing and much more. For those who can’t make it out to Grant Park, the festival will be streaming live via Red Bull TV. Lollapalooza has gone through many changes and permutations, but one thing is clear: This is THE music festival of the season. Go to www.lollapalooza.com for a complete rundown of events.