BEING THERE
1979, Warner Bros., 130 min, USA, Dir: Hal Ashby

In one of his most sublime performances, Peter Sellers stars as a simpleton who gains great influence when his pronouncements are mistaken for profundities in director Hal Ashby’s hilarious adaptation of the Jerzy Kosinski novel. As gardener Chance, he must leave the Washington, D.C., estate to which he’s tended his entire life after its owner dies. Wandering the streets, he’s struck by a limousine and taken under the wing of its passenger, Eve Rand (Shirley MacLaine), and her power-broker husband (Oscar winner Melvyn Douglas). Be sure to stay through the end credits!


SHAMPOO
1975, Sony Repertory, 109 min, USA, Dir: Hal Ashby

Director Hal Ashby’s classic mid-’70s comedy is a harsh and funny time capsule stuffed full of great performances. Warren Beatty excels as an amorous hairdresser contending with sexual politics and his many romantic entanglements, from the wife (Best Supporting Actress Oscar winner Lee Grant) of his business adviser Jack Warden to Warden’s mistress (Julie Christie) and teenage daughter (Carrie Fisher, in her first role). The film was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Original Screenplay for Beatty and Robert Towne.


THE LAST DETAIL
1973, Sony Repertory, 104 min, USA, Dir: Hal Ashby

A pair of U.S. Navy petty officers (Jack Nicholson and Otis Young) are assigned to escort a young sailor (Randy Quaid) to prison to serve an eight-year sentence. Taking pity on the young man, they decide to make his last days of freedom memorable ones. Robert Towne’s superb (and profanity-laden) screenplay and the outstanding performances of Nicholson and newcomer Quaid all earned Oscar nominations.


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