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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 ...


Viewer Guide: Dr. Strangelove and The Company Men

October 16, 2020 | Richard Peña

REEL 13 CLASSIC | DR. STRANGELOVE Tonight’s classic is Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, the legendary satirical black comedy from 1964 directed by Stanley Kubrick. Released at the height of the Cold War, just fifteen months after the Cuban Missile Crisis and two months ...


Viewer Guide: Absence of Malice and The Conspirator

October 9, 2020 | Richard Peña

REEL 13 CLASSIC | ABSENCE OF MALICE This week’s classic is Absence of Malice, the 1981 romantic drama directed by Sydney Pollack. Taking its title from a legal term for a defense against libel, Absence of Malice opens with an unsolved mystery: what happened to Miami union boss Joey Diaz?  Missing for ...


Viewer Guide: Brian’s Song and Wah-Wah

September 18, 2020 | Richard Peña

REEL 13 CLASSIC | BRIAN'S SONG This week’s classic is Brian’s Song, the 1971 biographical sports drama adapted from Gale Sayers’ autobiography I AM THIRD, directed by Buzz Kulik. Still ranking as one of the top “male weepies” or “guy cry” movies of all time, Brian’s Song dramatizes the true story of ...


Viewer Guide: Five Easy Pieces and The Ghost Writer

September 11, 2020 | Richard Peña

REEL 13 CLASSIC | FIVE EASY PIECES Tonight’s classic is Five Easy Pieces, the seminal 1970 drama directed by Bob Rafelson. In one of his career-defining early performances, Jack Nicholson stars as Bobby Dupea, a restless malcontent seemingly trapped in a dead-end job on a California oil field. Bobby’s leisure hours are ...


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