Sunday, July 29, 2018


Grind-Fu Cinema presents



Saturday, August 18th @ seven p.m.
Wiecking 220 Auditorium
415 Malin St, Mankato, MN


Made possible through funding from the Minnesota State Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund

We've been struggling like crazy to not reveal the August Grind-Fu Cinema, and now that we can we're not gonna shut up about it!  These two movies were made decades ago, and yet they're somehow even more relevant today than ever.  One of them has been on Shelley's bucket list since the beginning of Grind-Fu Cinema, and the second is the perfect match for it.  It's like watching a prophecy unfold.  Shall we talk about the movies?  Let's!

Being There (1979)
Directed by Hal Ashby

Peter Sellers had a long and illustrious career, but one can make a case that his final film role was his greatest.  He was nominated for Best Actor at the Academy Awards, and he won Best Actor at the Golden Globes, for his portrayal of Chance Gardner in Being There.  Chance is a simple minded gardener that has lived and worked on the estate of a wealthy gentleman in Washington, D.C.  Everything he knows in life was learned from gardening and TV.  When his employer dies, Chance is out on the street and aimless.

Through an accident, Chance is taken in by a wealthy industrialist and his wife.  The industrialist is charmed by discussions with Chance, who can only relate to people by talking about gardening.  His gardening statements, however, are mistaken as wise political metaphors, and he becomes a sensation in Washington, eventually even meeting the President.  Soon all of Washington is under his spell.

Being There was directed by the legendary Hal Ashby, who also helmed Harold and Maude, The Last Detail, Shampoo, and even the Rolling Stones concert film Let's Spend The Night Together. The film also starts Shirley MacLaine and the great Jack Warden, and was written by Jerzy Kosinksi, who also wrote the book that Being There was based on.  It's impossible to not be charmed by Seller's portrayal of Chance, and we really think you'll be taken with this film.

Roger Ebert gave Being There four out of four stars and said "There's an exhilaration in seeing artists at the very top of their form: It almost doesn't matter what the art form is, if they're pushing their limits and going for broke and it's working.  We can sense their joy of achievement - and even more so if the project in question is a risky, off-the-wall idea that could just as easily have ended disastrously.  Hal Ashby's Being There is a movie that inspires those feelings."

Being There was selected for preservation as a culturally significant film by the Library of Congress in 2015.

A Face in the Crowd (1957)
Directed by Elia Kazan

Andy Griffith is the ultimate good guy when he's playing the sheriff of Mayberry, but he's terrifying as hell as the charismatic everyman in A Face in the Crowd.  Griffith plays Larry Rhodes, a smooth talking drunk in an Arkansas jail that is put on the radio by a show host looking for voices of real America.  Rhodes' appearance proves wildly popular, and people begin to see him as the voice of the common man.  His success grows, as does his ego, and soon he's using his charisma to fleece the public and gain political influence.  When will his quest for power end?  In the halls of government?  You'd be horrified if someone like this really ended up in government. 


Directed by Elia Kazan, A Face in the Crowd is shockingly relevant for a film that's 61 years old.  It's more relevant than a Michael McDonald sample in a Warren G song.  That's pretty damn relevant.  You'll be horrified.  There's a reason Turner Classic Movies broadcast it on inauguration 2017.  

A Face in the Crowd was received with mixed reviews at the time of its release, but is now regarded as a classic.  In 2008 the Library of Congress selected it for preservation as a culturally significant film

Don't miss this amazing FREE double feature of full on classics on August 18th!  Bring your super friends, snacks, sodas, sweaters (because the air conditioning is exceptional) and SMILES!

I'm the new boy in town!  Where can I go?

Sunday, July 01, 2018


Grind-Fu Cinema presents

Real Genius
Top Secret!

Saturday, July 28th @ 7:00 p.m.
Wiecking 220 Auditorium
415 Malin St, Mankato, MN
Minnesota State University, Mankato


Made possible through funding from the Minnesota State Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund

Before the stories of difficult on-set behavior and Bison ranching... before the Mark Twain impersonating and homoerotic volleyball scenes... there was Val Kilmer the hot new star on the Hollywood scene.  That's the Val that Grind-Fu Cinema is celebrating on July 28th during our Val Kilmerpalooza!  See two funny as heck Val Kilmer movies FOR FREE in Wiecking 220 Auditorium.  What're we showing?  You'll be glad you asked.

Real Genius (1985)
Directed by Martha Coolidge

Val Kilmer plays Chris Knight, a brilliant student at Pacific Tech, who generally who takes having fun more seriously than his studies.  Pacific Tech is populated by eccentric geniuses who study hard and play harder, and they continually use their wits to game the system and prank each other.  Chris befriends freshman Mitch Taylor, and they're put on a team to figure out how to make a super powerful laser.  To Chris the project is simply a problem to solve, but to the Government it has deadly real world applications.

Real Genius is a hilarious comedy directed by Martha Coolidge, who directed Valley Girl, which you may have seen during our Grind-Fu Cinema last July.  Apprently July is now our designated Martha Coolidge month!  Real Genius also has Deborah Foreman, the star of Valley Girl, in a small role, so that's weird.  Anyway, Real Genius was Val Kilmer's second movie ever, and he already was showing off crazy talent and charisma.  Who woulda thunk that just ten years later he'd be playing Batman?

Roger Ebert gave Real Genius 3 1/2 out of four stars, so that's not too slouchy.  Richard Schickel in Time Magazine said Real Genius is "a smart, no-nonsense movie that may actually teach its prime audience a valuable lesson: the best retort to an intolerable situation is not necessarily a food fight.  Better results, and more fun, come from rubbing two brains together."  Words to live by.

After showing Val Kilmer's second movie we're showing his first movie!

Top Secret! (1984)
Directed by Zucker, Abrahams, Zucker

Jerry and David Zucker, and Jim Abrahams only had two film credits before Top Secret!: they wrote the screenplay to John Landis' Kentucky Fried Movie, and they wrote and directed Airplane!, which was a massive hit in 1980.  They built their career on broad sophomoric humor and sight gags, and the their style was widely embraced by American movie fans.  After parodying disaster movies with Airplane!, they decided to make Top Secret! a parody of both World War 2 spy movies and Elvis musicals.  Yeah.

This was Val Kilmer's first film, so the ZAZ team was taking a risk by putting him in a starring role, but he nails it with confidence.  The movie goers apparently weren't convinced, though, as Top Secret! was considered a bomb at the box office.  Even the film makers felt like it didn't have focus.  Don't try telling that to Weird Al Yankovic, though!  Top Secret! is Al's favorite movie of all time.  In a Vulture interview published in June of 2018, he goes into great detail about why he thinks it's one of the best movies ever made.  His fandom is so great that he even told Val Kilmer to his face that it's his favorite movie of all time.  Kilmer's response was "Really?  You're going to pick that one?"

Join Grind-Fu Cinema for Val Kilmerpalooza on Saturday, July 28th!  The admission is FREE, and everyone is welcome!  There's free parking in the back parking lot, and then enter through the back building entrance and look for the movie theater full of movie geeks!  Bring your friends, bring sodas and snacks, and get ready for a fun time at the movies!

I'm the new boy in town!  Where can I go?