The Monkees in Head

Friends keep telling me that Christmas Day is a wonderful day to spend in a movie theater, enjoying a new and popular film, and perhaps going for Chinese food afterwards. (Okay, by "friends" I mostly mean my boyfriend.) I keep saying that some year I'm going to try that. It sounds so lovely and relaxing. Instead, I'm hopping on a plane this afternoon to visit relatives and probably won't go anywhere near a theater.

Most local and chain theaters in Austin are open on Christmas Day, with the exception of the single-screen Alamo Drafthouse Downtown. But the other Alamo theaters in town are open and showing a variety of first-run features. It's a good week for catching up on current releases; not many film-related special events are scheduled.
  • The biggest film event next week is the Alamo Downtown annual "High for the Holidays" film series, which takes place between Christmas and New Year's Day. Sit back, take a deep breath and enjoy classic and new stoner films on the big screen: Head (12/26 and 1/1), Up in Smoke (12/27 and 12/29), Deep Blue (12/28 and 12/30), and Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle (12/28, 12/30, and 1/1). You know Alamo's going to offer little square burgers on the menu with that last film, although I'm not sure I want to speculate on other refreshments during the series. I'm happy they're showing Head on Jan. 1, after I return from my trip (not that kind of trip, silly), because I've never seen this surreal-sounding Monkees film and Alamo has located a rare 35mm print.
  • This Land is Your Land, a 2004 documentary about corporate takeovers in America, will screen at Alamo Downtown on Thursday 12/29. The film is sponsored by the Third Coast Activist Resource Center. Producer Virginia Williams will hold a Q&A after the film.
  • Free coffeehouse movies: Austin Java on Barton Springs *and* Austin Java on Parkway are showing The Nightmare Before Christmas tonight (Friday) at 8 pm. Cafe Mundi is even more family-friendly tonight, showing Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird at 6 pm. Or maybe Cafe Mundi is just on an avian film-title streak: they're also showing Bird, the 1988 Clint Eastwood-directed biopic of Charlie Parker, on Tuesday 12/27.
  • Beerland is showing the crazy 3-D movie from 1981 Comin' at Ya! on Wednesday 12/28 at 7 pm. The movie is free, and Beerland also will provide free 3-D glases, popcorn, and donuts.
  • Holidays don't keep Alamo Downtown from continuing their long and popular Weird Wednesday series, in which they show free movies at midnight on Wednesday nights, movies that you might not ever want to pay to see. This week's film is Street People, a 1976 Italian race-car buddy movie that stars Stacey Keach and Roger Moore. It helps that Alamo serves beer.

Wait until January, when Austin will be hopping with all kinds of film news and events: a Werner Herzog retrospective, an Austin Film Society series on political thrillers, and The Princess Bride at the Paramount.