When: Wed., June 15, 8 p.m. 2011
I don't want to oversell you, but this screening might very well be the single greatest thing to ever happen to anybody in the entire history of the universe, ever. This is the crown jewel, the rare big-screen print of director Walter Hill's 1984 "Rock 'n' Roll Fable," Streets of Fire, the movie that is quite literally better than Citizen Kane. Some readers might protest this, but does Kane have a sledgehammer fight? No? Argument settled.
The plot involves singer Ellen Aim (Diane Lane) getting kidnapped by a biker gang led by Willem Dafoe at his Willem Dafoe-iest (it is he who stands in the aforementioned sledgehammer fight, wearing black leather overalls). Who can save her? Why, her ex, Tom Cody, the duster-wearing badass played by Eddie and the Cruisers' Michael Paré! All is rendered in a similar style to Hill's previous hit The Warriors: a washed-out, oversaturated urban landscape where trains rush overhead, rain pours constantly and bikers guard their hideout by doing tricks outside.
This movie was so badass that the Bruce Springsteen song that inspired the title was deemed a "downer" and replaced by a couple of rollicking Jim Steinman numbers. That's right, it out-bossed The Boss. Or possibly it was because Springsteen withdrew the rights when he heard it would be re-recorded. Whatever, the new numbers "Nowhere Fast" and "Tonight is What it Means to Be Young" are pure Steinman bombast, and the rest of the soundtrack is a killer as well ... except for the one actual hit it yielded, Dan Hartman's elevator music-worthy "I Can Dream About You." Well, every rose has its thorn. —Zack Smith