‘Reel’ entertainment continues downtown

In the Audience


By the time movie lovers read this, two of the dramas in the Historical Society of the Upper Mojave Desert’s current Classic Movie Night film series, “Reel People, Part 2” will have been screened: Helen Mirren’s Oscar-winning role as Elizabeth II and Gary Oldman’s stunning performance (also an Oscar winner) as Winston Churchill.

On Wednesday, April 17, at 7 p.m. at the Historic USO Building, we will screen a 2002 American biographical crime film directed and produced by Steven Spielberg and starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks.

The film, which opens with a real-life 1977 “To Tell the Truth” television episode, tells in flashback an unbelievable crime spree and resulting “cat and mouse” chase. Before his 19th birthday, Frank Abagnale (DiCaprio) successfully performed cons worth millions of dollars by posing as a Pan American World Airways pilot, a Georgia doctor and a Louisiana parish prosecutor. His primary crime was check fraud. He became so experienced that the FBI eventually turned to him for help in catching other check forgers.

Tom Hanks plays the seasoned FBI agent who wearily pursues Abagnale through an amazing web of crimes and aliases … all over the world. His parents are brilliantly portrayed by Christopher Walken and Nathalie Baye. This unusual and fascinating film was highly regarded by critics and was a huge box office success.

On Wednesday, May 1, at 7 p.m., we present the “pièce de résistance” of our film fare in this series with a much beloved recent classic. This 2009 box office smash hit film, written and directed by Nora Ephron, contrasts the life of chef and author Julia Child (portrayed with Oscar® nominated expertise by Meryl Streep) in the early years of her culinary career with the life of young New Yorker Julie Powell (Amy Adams).

Powell, dismayed with her monotonous call center job, sets out to re-create all 524 recipes in Child’s cookbook in 365 days, a challenge she described in a popular blog that made her a published author. The two stories delightfully weave back and forth in time, jumping between various moments in both Julie and Julia’s lives and making the viewer literally salivate over the fabulous Child creations … from both of the chefs! Chris Messina plays Julie’s gastronomically fortunate husband, and Stanley Tucci gives warm and loving support to his up-and-coming chef wife.

Along with this presentation, one of our loyal film sponsors, Kim Metcalf, owner of the specialty retail store, “Romancing the West,” will be creating a lovely French atmosphere with special décor, tasty desserts and champagne for our guests. Bon Appetite, indeed!

And speaking of culinary creations … our thrifty Snack Bar features a vast array of taste-tempting treats, including our quarter-pound, all-beef “Crumville” hot dog, the four-cheese “Coso Queso” deep-dish personal pizza, specially-crafted sodas from the Indian Wells Brewery, ice cream treats, chips, candies and freshly popped corn and opens up at 6:30 to serve our hungry movie lovers who may sit at tables in our auditorium to comfortably enjoy their snacks.

Admission is, as always, free, but, as I have often mentioned, we greatly appreciate donations to help maintain our beautiful movie “palace.” Cartoons and previews begin at 7 p.m., and after an informative introduction and a few words from our loyal sponsors, the features will roll out on our big screen. Comfy cushions for the chairs are provided, but guests may bring their own, if desired.

See you at the movies! …for “reel” entertainment!

Story First Published: 2019-04-05