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Every month, we present Staff Picks at the Oriental Theatre - crazy classics, obscure delights, and cinematic masterpieces curated by the incredible Milwaukee Film and Oriental Theatre staff! Before each film screens, we're having a brief chat with each staff member about their selection. Next up in this series? Our former Technical Director, Ben! Read on...




What's your name?

Ben Balcom!


What's your job title at Milwaukee Film? 

Former Technical Director.


What movie did you pick?

Magic Mike XXL (dir. Gregory Jacobs)




When did you first see said movie?

Upon it's theatrical release in (summer?) 2015


In ten words or less, tell us why we HAVE to see this movie!

It's the best film about the American Dream there is!


Okay - expand on that - why did you make this your staff pick? 

There's so much to love about MMXXL. Channing Tatum, obviously. He's just the most wonderful. But also, as a sequel it's an understated film that surpasses the original. It dispenses with the obligatory romance of the first film and focuses on friendship, fluid crushes, and diffuse pleasure. It's about everyone enjoying themselves and trying to escape their workaday world. It's also saturated with high spectacle. MMXXL exists in a category of films that might start with Charlie Chaplin and includes Singin' in the Rain, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and Showgirls. It's a lineage of films about characters navigating the body as a commodity, struggling towards survival and success within the capitalist superstructure. Maybe the best way to put it is that Magic Mike XXL is an American Fever Dream.





Any parting words you'd like to impart?

It's not bro time, it's show time.


Special thanks to Ben for taking the time to participate! See Magic Mike XXL this Saturday night (in glorious 35mm!) at 7 PM at the Oriental Theatre! TICKETS AVAILABLE HERE.

Posted by: Tom Fuchs