San Jose gets Dennis Hopper’s ‘The Last Movie’ before L.A.

Bay Area film lovers will get a rare treat this weekend when the re-release of Dennis Hopper‘s cult classic, “The Last Movie” — which has gone largely unseen since its brief initial first run in 1971 — has its first West Coast screening at San Jose’s 3Below Theaters.

After the runaway success of 1969’s “Easy Rider,” Hopper was given free rein to make the movie about a Western being shot in Peru. Using hours of footage shot in South America, Hopper finally edited together a final cut of the film for a September 1971 release. It won the Critics Prize at the Venice Film Festival that year but was considered a commercial and critical failure after a dismal two-week run in New York City. Hopper became a Hollywood pariah and didn’t direct another movie until 1980.

Alejandro Adams, director of Cinema Club Silicon Valley, was able to bring a 4K restoration of the film — currently enjoying a weeklong run in New York — for a San Jose screening before it shows at L.A.’s Egyptian Theater next week. The special event on Saturday includes a screening of “Along for the Ride,” director Nick Ebeling‘s documentary about the making of Hopper’s film, and a panel discussion with Ebeling and film critic Fernando Croce, a big supporter of “The Last Movie.”

So is it a classic ahead of its time or is it garbage? Silicon Valley audiences will get a chance to decide that on their own, but as the cult success of “bad” movies like “The Room” shows, quirkiness is sometimes more interesting than quality.

It’s definitely unusual for San Jose to get such a cool movie buff event before cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco that are considered to have more cultural cache. If it does well here, that way of thinking may soon change. Tickets are available at

‘CRAZY RICH ASIANS’ GETS A BOOST: There’s a lot of buzz around director Jon M. Chu‘s new movie, “Crazy Rich Asians,” which had a celebration in its honor last Friday at Chef Chu’s, the famed Los Altos restaurant owned by the Palo Alto filmmaker’s father, Lawrence Chu.

The film has screenings Wednesday at many Bay Area theaters and opens Aug. 15. It’s touted as having the most Asian-dominated cast for a mainstream U.S. film since “The Joy Luck Club” in 1993, and there’s a trending social media movement, #GoldOpen, to pack theaters for its opening weekend.

Bay Area author Norma Slavit attended the event at Chef Chu’s and told me the restaurant pulled out all the stops. In his remarks, Jon Chu — who previously directed “Step Up 2” and “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” — thanked his parents and said he hoped the movie would help open doors for Asian stories as well as Asian filmmakers and performers.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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