One of the many under-the-radar gems we have living here in Flagstaff is the College of Arts and Letters Film Series at Northern Arizona University.
Most every Tuesday during the school year for the past 15 years, you can go to Cline Library, watch a classic movie for free, sometimes preceded by a Looney Tunes or other cartoon short, and take part in a discussion after the film with knowledgeable faculty.
The spring semester begins on Tuesday, and so does the NAU Film Series.
While it looks like another great batch of movies — the theme for the spring is “the directors” — I’m a little disappointed. I recently came across a batch of notes on a run near the Riles Building on campus. The notes were half-buried, but it appears the event organizers, after much deliberation, scrapped a proposed semester’s worth of Flagstaff running-themed movies.
I’ve decided to list the films here as a public service and in hopes that these films might be part of a future semester’s offerings. Maybe you’ve seen or participated in some of these already.
There Will Be Mud -- With the same vigor he brings to every role, Daniel Day-Lewis attacks the Dave McKay Memorial Big Brothers Big Sisters Half-Marathon course after a monsoon shower. The course record is not in danger, however. It takes him two and a half hours to complete the course; every Day-Lewis vehicle takes that long.
Rocky VIII -- Sylvester Stallone’s homage to trail-running. The retired boxer (and trainer … see “Creed,” which effectively serves as Rocky VII) decides to get out of Philadelphia and get back to nature. Unfortunately, he finds the blood and bruises on his body from spills on the rocky trails around Flagstaff look like just as much hamburger as his face did in all those heavyweight championship bouts.
Wonder Women -- The original concept was called Wonder Woman, to highlight one amazing Flagstaff female runner. But in preproduction it had to be retooled into a documentary celebrating many local runners because there were too many badass Flag women to choose from.
Running Braveheart -- Two great underdog stories wrapped into one. Billy Mills and William Wallace go on a time-travel athletic buddy adventure, from 14th-century Scotland to the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, finally ending up as modern-day roommates who take in the Flagstaff running scene.
Coco -- Former Coconino High cross country coach Andrew Benford returns from the Land of the Dead (Phoenix) to see the Panthers program is still riding high.
Moonstruck -- Cher enjoys midnight runs in Buffalo Park each month under a full moon with her jerk of a fiancée, until his younger brother comes along. Soon, she gains a new running partner and a new love. That’s amore.
Gutopia -- Beautiful animated film in which a spunky rabbit named Judy lives up to her species as one of the finest runners in the region. When a rancid batch of Gu’s make their way into the aid tent at local races, turning a wide variety of kind, caring local competitors into vicious predators, Judy is on the case to save the season.
Check out the NAU Film Series this semester. Those movies are sure to make more sense than some of these brainstorms. You can find the upcoming lineup at nau.edu/CAL/Events/CAL-Film-Series.