Welcome to the inaugural edition of WOULD YOU LIKE TO KNOW MORE? - an ongoing series that continues your education beyond the films currently screening at the Oriental Theatre! In celebration of our current screening JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION, we're bringing you some additional dino-mite titles filled with prehistoric fun.
1. Gertie the Dinosaur
(dir. Winsor McCay | 1914)
I remain endlessly enamored of the showmanship and ingenuity that is a constant feature of early silent films. Winsor McCay is a stone cold legend in the world of cartooning (check out the Little Nemo series of comics to see a man absolutely freak it on the form) as well as animation. Enjoy Gertie in its entirety above!
2. Son of Kong
(dir. Ernest B. Schoedsack | 1933)
*extremely Viola Davis saying "Elizabeth Debicki is six foot three" voice* Son of Kong is seventy. Minutes. Long. And approximately five minutes of those seventy is devoted to a wholly extraneous musical performance. But even more than its brevity, the thing that is never far from my mind when it comes to this movie is when the titular Kong breaks the fourth wall with the dexterity and violence of his daddy snapping a dino's jawbone:
3. The Valley of Gwangi
(dir. Jim O'Connolly | 1969)
While it'd be hard for the "cowboys versus dinosaurs" logline to live up to the 'kid emptying out their toy bin and going to town' energy it exudes, I can still say there's enough meat on Gwangi's bones to give it a recommendation. If nothing else, you have Ray Harryhausen finishing the work his mentor Willis O'Brien started and crafting some jaw-dropping stop motion work in the process.
4. Tammy and the T-Rex
(dir. Stewart Raffill | 1994)
If you're anything like me, you'll be struck by how deeply in on the joke Tammy and the T-Rex ends up being. This is a film that starts with two teenagers engaging in a fight that consists solely of clutching the other's testicles, and ends with Denise Richards bringing a brain in a jar to orgasm. You also won't be surprised to learn that the impetus for this film's creation was the producer's ability to acquire an animatronic tyrannosaurus for a limited amount of time. Limitations breed the most beautiful expressions of art.
5. The Tree of Life
(dir. Terrence Malick | 2011)
And we couldn't end this list without bringing up Terry Malick's prehistoric digression that helps form the primordial spine of his epic Tree of Life. Tackling nothing less than the meaning of life, Malick's reach does not exceed his ambition. He manges to hold the sublime in his grasp over the runtime. Probably a perfect double feature with Tammy and the T-Rex.