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Viewer Guide: Avalon and Brothers

February 19, 2021 | Richard Peña

REEL 13 CLASSIC | AVALON  This week’s classic is Avalon, the 1990 family drama written and directed by Barry Levinson. A Jewish-American immigration saga that is both epic and intimate, Avalon is the third entry of an autobiographically inspired four-film cycle, chronicling the history of writer-director Barry Levinson’s extended family in Baltimore. ...


Viewer Guide: Arthur and A Most Wanted Man

February 12, 2021 | Richard Peña

REEL 13 CLASSIC | ARTHUR Tonight’s classic is Arthur, the 1981 romantic comedy written and directed by Steve Gordon. In the defining role of his movie career, Dudley Moore stars as Arthur Bach, the heir to an enormous family fortune who spends his empty days in besotted bliss, roving around New York ...


Viewer Guide: Yours, Mine and Ours and Philomena

January 29, 2021 | Richard Peña

REEL 13 CLASSIC | YOURS, MINE AND OURS This week’s classic is Yours, Mine and Ours, the 1968 family comedy directed by Melville Shavelson. Based on Helen Beardsley’s 1965 autobiographical book Who Gets the Drumstick?, Yours, Mine and Ours stars Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda as the cinematic embodiment of Helen and ...


Viewer Guide: The Apartment and The Ghost Writer

January 22, 2021 | Richard Peña

REEL 13 CLASSIC | THE APARTMENT This week’s classic is The Apartment, the 1960 romantic comedy-drama directed by Billy Wilder. Co-written by Wilder and his longtime collaborator I.A.L. Diamond, The Apartment stars Jack Lemmon in one of the great defining roles of his early career. Lemmon plays C.C. Baxter, mostly known as ...


Viewer Guide: Risky Business and The Music Never Stopped

January 15, 2021 | Richard Peña

REEL 13 CLASSIC | RISKY BUSINESS Tonight’s classic—and a great personal favorite—is Risky Business, made in 1983, and written and directed by Paul Brickman. A 19-year-old Tom Cruise incarnates Joel Goodsen, a high school senior in suburban Chicago dreaming of his future. Joel’s parents head out of town for a week, trusting their ...


Viewer Guide: Pleasantville and Carol

November 20, 2020 | Richard Peña

REEL 13 CLASSIC | PLEASANTVILLE Tonight’s classic is Pleasantville, the 1998 fantasy comedy-drama written and directed by Gary Ross. Tobey Maguire stars as David, a nerdy high school student who enjoys taking refuge from his modern world with the programming on “TV Time,” a cable channel dedicated to retro TV shows. In ...


Viewer Guide: The Bridge on The River Kwai and The Homesman

November 13, 2020 | Richard Peña

REEL 13 CLASSIC | THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI Welcome to Reel 13. I’m Richard Peña, Professor of Film Studies at Columbia University. Tonight’s classic is the 1957 wartime adventure drama The Bridge on The River Kwai starring Alec Guinness and William Holden, directed by David Lean. Like quite a few ...


Viewer Guide: In Cold Blood and Beast

October 30, 2020 | Richard Peña

REEL 13 CLASSIC | IN COLD BLOOD Tonight’s classic is In Cold Blood, the 1967 crime drama written and directed by Richard Brooks. A groundbreaking film of the “true crime” genre, In Cold Blood riveted audiences of the day with its documentary-like approach to Truman Capote’s best-selling nonfiction account of the shocking murders ...


Viewer Guide: The Way We Were and Stronger

October 23, 2020 | Richard Peña

REEL 13 CLASSIC | THE WAY WE WERE This week’s classic is The Way We Were, the 1973 romantic drama written by Arthur Laurents and directed by Sydney Pollack. The Hollywood blacklist era, dominated by the House Un-American Activities Committee’s anti-communist “witch hunt,” was the most devastating political crisis in the history of ...


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