The Best Old Movies On a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, April 15-21

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04/15/2015 6:29 AM |


Explorers (1985)
Directed by Joe Dante
This sci-fi State of the Union evokes the magic of 20th-century suburbia, from playing in bona fide nature to making stuff—in this case, a DIY spaceship built in a dry creek bed from spit, garbage and computers. Dante celebrates the officially ended Radio Shack era with his middle-schooler trio (Ethan Hawke, River Phoenix, Bobby Fite), inspired by B-movies and the space program, fueled by salty snacks and pilfered beers. Their junkyard rocket, with TV screen as windshield, gets them above the atmosphere, where they meet couch-potato aliens who unleash an abstract collage of sound and image culled from Earth television, a cultural-sensory assault that accentuates America’s appeal but also exposes the intolerance hiding behind it. Explorers is nostalgic but not naive, celebrating not jingoism or violence but certain American characteristics, embodied by each of the boys, that did approach greatness: pluck, know-how, and rock-n-roll attitude. Henry Stewart (Apr 18, 19, 11:30am at the Nitehawk)