MELVIN AND HOWARD
1980, Universal, 95 min, USA, Dir: Jonathan Demme

Years after Melvin Dummar (Paul Le Mat) rescues a bedraggled old man (Jason Robards) stranded in the Nevada desert, his kindness is rewarded when he is named a beneficiary in Howard Hughes’ “Mormon Will” in this acclaimed film based on a possibly true story. A spot-on portrait of blue-collar American dreamers, MELVIN AND HOWARD earned Oscars for its original screenplay and for Mary Steenburgen’s beguiling performance as Dummar’s wife. “This lyrical comedy, directed by Jonathan Demme, from a script by Bo Goldman, is an almost flawless act of sympathetic imagination. … This picture has the same beautiful dippy warmth as its characters; it's what might have happened if Jean Renoir had directed a comedy script by Preston Sturges.” – Pauline Kael.


DINER
1982, Warner Bros., 110 min, USA, Dir: Barry Levinson

This nostalgic, funny, highly personal memoir spends the last week of 1959 with the guys who hang out at a local diner in Baltimore. As they eagerly await the world championship football game between the New York Giants and their own Baltimore Colts in a golden week, they enjoy their final fling before becoming adults. The top-flight cast includes Mickey Rourke, Ellen Barkin, Kevin Bacon, Steve Guttenberg, Paul Reiser, Daniel Stern and Timothy Daly. “A wonderful movie. ... Written and directed by Barry Levinson, DINER provides a look at middle-class relations between the sexes just before the sexual revolution, at a time when people still laughed (albeit uneasily) at the gulf between men and women.” – Pauline Kael.


THIEVES LIKE US
1974, Park Circus/MGM, 123 min, USA, Dir: Robert Altman

Based on the same source novel as Nicholas Ray’s THEY LIVE BY NIGHT, this affecting film stars Keith Carradine, John Schuck and Bert Remsen as escaped convicts who become desperado bank robbers in 1930 Mississippi. When the trio hole up in a gas station, one of them falls for the owner’s daughter (Shelley Duvall). With Tom Skerritt and Louise Fletcher. “Robert Altman finds a sure, soft tone in this movie and never loses it. His account of Coca-Cola-swigging young lovers in the ’30s is the most quietly poetic of his films; it's sensuous right from the first pearly-green long shot, and it seems to achieve beauty without artifice.” - Pauline Kael.


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