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Cool World

July 12, 2012 - August 24, 2012


We asked you to vote for the coolest actors from the 1960s through the 1990s and Cool World presents the results.

Cool is more than room temp—it’s a contradiction. When cool enters the room, the temperature rises. Poised, but loose, concerned, but calm: all composure in the chaos. And unlike hip, which requires excess, cool is a stylish stoicism, the single gesture, the telling turn of the head. Picture Paul Newman glancing up from the pool table in The Hustler, or River Phoenix peering down the highway in My Own Private Idaho. Or better yet, Pam Grier in Foxy Brown surveying her wrought wreckage with sizzling serenity. Cool World looks calmly at four decades of cool, trying to determine with indifference just who is chillin’ in American cinema.

The rest of the winners: Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Edward Norton, Dennis Hopper, Jane Fonda, Sidney Poitier, Clint Eastwood, Tuesday Weld, and Matt Dillon. A hot series for the summer. Stay cool.

Steve Seid, Video Curator

Thursday, July 12, 2012
7:00 p.m. The Hustler
Robert Rossen (U.S., 1961). In his breakthrough role, Paul Newman plays “Fast Eddie” Felson, a pool shark from Oakland, struggling to succeed at the game, and at life. With Piper Laurie as his alcoholic girlfriend and Jackie Gleason and George C. Scott in Academy Award–nominated supporting roles. (134 mins)

Saturday, July 14, 2012
8:50 p.m. Ed Wood
Tim Burton (1994) Vault Print! In this “very good film about a very bad filmmaker,” Burton chronicles the career of Ed Wood (Johnny Depp), the eccentric, cross-dressing director of 1950s low-budget flops. Depp “gives a witty and captivating performance, bringing wonderful buoyancy to this crazy role” (Janet Maslin, NY Times). (126 mins)

Friday, July 20, 2012
7:00 p.m. My Own Private Idaho
Gus Van Sant (U.S., 1991). Gus Van Sant’s melancholic portrait of street hustlers in Portland follows a narcoleptic Mike (River Phoenix) and his best friend Scott (Keanu Reeves) as they embark on a journey to find Mike’s mother. “Van Sant's cleareyed, unsentimental approach to a plot that pivots on betrayal and death is reflected in magnetic performances from Reeves and Phoenix" (Rolling Stone). (104 mins)

Friday, July 20, 2012
9:05 p.m. Foxy Brown
Jack Hill (U.S., 1974). As the lone female action star of her time, Pam Grier was driven by a fleshy physicality, nonstop aggression, and a wild wardrobe of seventies couture. In Foxy Brown, Grier exacts revenge on a crime syndicate who shot down her undercover-narc boyfriend. “Grier is an actress able to convey an amazing and unflinching strength” (Time Out). (94 mins)

Sunday, July 22, 2012
7:00 p.m. Blue Velvet
David Lynch (U.S., 1986). In Lynch’s color-drenched surreal noir, “as fascinating as it is freakish,” cool-couple Kyle MacLachlan and Laura Dern sleuth out the ugly underneath the meticulous lawns and rose bushes of small-town U.S.A. The film relaunched the career of Dennis Hopper. "An instant cult classic” (Janet Maslin, NY Times). (120 mins)

Friday, July 27, 2012
7:00 p.m. Heathers
Michael Lehmann (U.S., 1989). As the only non-Heather in a cruel high-school power clique, Veronica (Winona Ryder) wants out—then she meets new student J.D. (Christian Slater) and they become a killer couple, literally. In her NY Times review, Janet Maslin wrote that Ryder “manages to be both stunning and sympathetic as the watchful Veronica.” (102 mins)

Friday, July 27, 2012
9:05 p.m. Thunderbolt and Lightfoot
Michael Cimino (U.S., 1974). In this heist film set in Montana, Thunderbolt (Clint Eastwood) and Lightfoot (Jeff Bridges) are two kinds of cool, one composed, the other, crazy. “A funny, tough-fibered crime comedy with an unobtrusive edge of drama . . . the playing is entirely disarming, with Mr. Eastwood's wry restraint meshing perfectly with Mr. Bridges's impish exuberance” (NY Times). (115 mins)

Thursday, August 2, 2012
7:00 p.m. Fight Club
David Fincher (U.S., 1999). A bored white-collar worker (Edward Norton) meets the charismatic Tyler (Brad Pitt) and they form a bare-knuckle “fight club,” a form of escapism that escalates into something more dangerous. “The teamwork of Mr. Norton and Mr. Pitt is as provocative and complex as it's meant to be” (Janet Maslin, NY Times). (139 mins)

Friday, August 3, 2012
9:10 p.m. To Sir, with Love
James Clavell (U.S., 1967). When Sidney Poitier, a new teacher in London’s tough East End, is faced with an unruly mob, known as students, he keeps his cool. The ever-caring educator turns the other cheek and in the end gets the young hoodlums to call him “sir.” (105 mins)

Friday, August 10, 2012
8:40 p.m. Klute
Alan J. Pakula (U.S., 1971). Jane Fonda gives an Oscar-winning performance as a high-class call girl helping dogged detective Klute (Donald Sutherland) on a missing-person case. One of a series of Fonda’s films that “hinge on the contradictions of autonomy and emotional commitment facing would-be independent women. . . . A genuinely psychological thriller” (Time Out). (114 mins)

Friday, August 17, 2012
9:05 p.m. Drugstore Cowboy
Gus Van Sant (U.S., 1989) Archival Print! In Gus Van Sant’s breakthrough feature, Matt Dillon plays the leader of a pack of dopers in 1970s Portland who survive by jacking pharmacies. With William S. Burroughs as a junkie former priest. “One of the best films in the long tradition of American outlaw road movies” (Roger Ebert). (104 mins)

Friday, August 24, 2012
8:30 p.m. Pretty Poison
Noel Black (U.S., 1968). Spread out a blanket on the sculpture garden lawn for our annual free outdoor screening, featuring Tony Perkins and Tuesday Weld in Pretty Poison. Loner Perkins thinks the Commies are dumping waste into a nearby stream and convinces high-school drum majorette Weld that he is a CIA agent and needs her help to stop the polluters. Once she starts to “help,” he can’t stop her. (89 mins)