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Cinema Showdown

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SOMETHING YOU WOULDN'T RECOGNIZE. IT'S CALLED LOVE

One series ends at the Loft this week (The Films of Paul Thomas Anderson, with the screening of probably-about-Scientology-but-let's-not-say-that-because-they'll-sue-us film "The Master" on Sat. Nov. 29 at 7 p.m.) and another begins, as The Films of 1939 take over our favorite Speedway theater in December. As you may or may not know, 1939 was an incredible year for film, often considered the best ever and even though the four films they're screening are incredible, you could pick four other films (let's say "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," "Of Mice and Men," "Ninotchka," and "Goodbye, Mr. Chips") from that year and the lineup would be just as impressive. First up, the magic of "The Wizard of Oz" (Sunday, Nov. 30 at noon), then John Ford's "Stagecoach" (Sunday, Dec. 7), Joan Crawford in "The Women" (Sunday, Dec. 14), Lawrence Olivier as Heathcliff in "Wuthering Heights" (Sunday, Dec. 21) and closing out with the Civil War epic "Gone With the Wind" (Sunday, Dec. 28). If you see all five, you get an exclusive ticket to a time machine that only goes back to 1939. Note: I might have made that up.

I HOPE DAD HASN'T GOTTEN TOO FAT

In not-Loft news, the witty commenters of "Mystery Science Theater 3000" are back again with another Rifftrax in-theater event, this time getting into the holiday spirit with the 1959 absolutely insane film "Santa Claus." The plot of this film, originally released in Mexico, is as old as time: Santa's in his child-labor fueled space castle and the devil is trying to get his assistant to kill St. Nick. I know, you feel like you saw a movie just like this on Hallmark the other day, but the particular weirdness of this film deserves smart funny people making fun of it. You have one night to see this particular production, Thursday, Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. at your choice of Cinemark theaters: Park Place, El Con or Oro Valley. More info at cinemark.com.

WANT SOME GOLD? I'M NOT GIVING IT TO ANYBODY ELSE!

Back at the Loft, there's a lot going on other than the beginnings and endings of month-long film series. The absolutely beautiful in every sense of that word "Spirited Away" shows Thursday, Nov. 27 through Sunday, Nov. 30 at 11 a.m. and 10 p.m. as part of their Late Night Cult Classic series. The 2002 Hayao Miyazaki film was the biggest box-office draw in Japanese film history upon its release, won an Academy Award, and expanded the very art of animated cinema. The folks behind Pixar call this film a classic and a deep inspiration on their work, so skip out on a little bit of the shopping madness and treat yourself to a real work of art. Tickets are $6, a buck less for Loft members.

ONCE YOU DO SOMETHING, YOU NEVER FORGET

Also worth noting, there are a bunch of seemingly great special event one-time only screenings coming up, including "Broken Heart Land," a documentary showing the response of a community to the suicide of a gay teen (free, Monday, Dec. 1 at 7 p.m.), "Huicholes: The Last Peyote Guardians," the story of a pre-Hispanic people group in Mexico struggling to preserve their culture ($10, Tuesday, Dec. 2, 7 p.m.) and two films on Thursday, Dec. 4, "Unsound" and "Trails of Hope and Terror." More info at loftcinema.com.

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