You may not know the name John G. Avildsen by heart but you definitely know his films by the impact he's had on yours. The director behind countless classics from my childhood including "Leon on Me" (1989), "The Karate Kid" (1984), and "Rocky" (1976), was honored this past week at Cinefamily's Presentation of their Friday Night November series, Overlooked Auteurs, as they featured two of his hits, "Rocky" and "Joe" (1970). I jumped on the opportunity to see Sly and the Family Stalone on the big screen and get to know a little more behind the orchestration of one of my favorite films of my time in this life. I randomly ended up sitting beside Mr. Avildsen and his lady, whose phone went off in the middle of the movie...awkward. I couldn't hold back the years or the tears from a perfect film and neither could John G, wiping his eyes as the final still punched out a swollen shut-eye sly with his consolation prize before the anthemic score. Because he gets so many of the same questions about the making of Rocky, Mr. Avildsen's son put together a nice little trivial video as a splendid retort/report called "Father Rocky", manipulated from an obscure italian film.
Damn...what i'd give to get some of those Avildsen chromosomes...For Part 2 in the directorial showcase, I was able to explore his less-commercial but still critically acclaimed Joe, a darker drama, displaying the differences in class during the hippie movement of the late 60's starring Peter Boyle and Susan Sarandon early in their careers. The theme song/soundtrack are worth noting so check out Vinnie Rattolle's blog for a nice review of the film and soundtrack rekindling.
Cinefamily has decided to do a bonus 35mm MEMBERS ONLY double feature of some more fun titles from the filmography of John G. Avildsen feat. manic 1981 Dan Ackroyd/John Belushi vehicle Neighbors, which has to qualify for one of the weirdest studio films of my favorite decade and still unavailable on DVD in the U.S. The first film of the double feature is a surprise but i somehow believe that it will be incredible.
If you're like me and you don't have a membership but want to sign up, they will accept enrollments on the night of. Membership info. is right here. If you're not a member, do as I and sign up at the screening. Think of it as a much more socially interactive netflix account of some of the best underground films you can't find on DVD or at a theatre near you... Trust me, The Silent Movie Theatre is Golden.