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!


MASH
1970, 20th Century Fox, 116 min, USA, Dir: Robert Altman

Director Robert Altman’s breakout film defines black comedy and the pushing-the-envelope, pioneering spirit then blossoming in the New Hollywood of the 1970s. Donald Sutherland and Elliott Gould are hilarious as Hawkeye Pierce and Trapper John, newly arrived surgeons at the 4077th MASH unit located in a Korean War battle zone. They’re anarchic spirits with no patience for hypocrisy, bureaucracy or stupidity. Timeless, with a dream cast of standout performers, including Robert Duvall, Sally Kellerman and Tom Skerritt.


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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