Other people’s leisure

A&E presents a cinematic alternativeto the same old spring break routine

Fresh air and loafing can be so tiresome.

For many, spring break is a chance to travel, party and make up for lost sleep.

But there are a select few who realize they have nine days and 10 nights to catch up on their passions and expand their minds.

For those of our readers who lack the money or inclination to jet down to a southern clime for a week of hedonism, there is an alternative. What follows are some ideas to help you create your very own spring break film festival with 10 hot titles that will give you a wide sampling of genres, flavors and cultures.

We’ve also included a few helpful hints about how to get in the mood. Enjoy!

The Great 2005 A&E Spring Break Film Festival


“Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn”

Sam Raimi’s explosive, grotesquely excessive and campy horror film should offer a hilarious start to your week free of homework and classes. Then again, be sure you’re in the mood for a horror film on adrenaline about a group of strangers and a demon that can possess their souls. Favorite moment: the “chainsaw incident.”

Warm up: Known widely as a drinking film, make sure to invite the whole gang: Jack, Jim and Jose.


“The Great Muppet Caper”

Think we’re kidding? Just give it a try – the best of all Muppet films, about a diamond heist the Muppet crew helps uncover and prevent, in a genuinely witty way.

Warm up: Don’t be fooled by the cuteness of it all: Spend some “quality time” with your niece or nephew and remember why you’re so happy to be young, single and childless.



Paul Cox’s heart-warming and beautifully nonformulaic romance; not about gorgeous, vapid 20-somethings but about the timeless connection between two older lovers who rediscover each other.

Warm up: Whatever puts you in the mood: a glass of wine, stroll around Lake Calhoun, Barry White, nature documentaries (we won’t judge).


“Infernal Affairs”

Alan Mak and Andrew Lau’s urgent, frantic thriller about the parallel lives of an undercover cop and a mole inside the department who share the same burden of being torn between those they are meant to serve and those they feel they belong with.

Warm up: Avoid coffee. This movie alone has enough juice to keep you up all night.


“The Producers”

Mel Brooks’ hyper, no-holds-barred comedy about two shameless, conniving theater producers who eventually produce a musical about Adolf Hitler in hopes it will be forced to close after a single performance.

Warm up: Pretend you’re seeing the Tony Award-winning musical at a ritzy New York theater! First, find some overpriced food. Then, recruit a snobby ticket-taker and find the most uncomfortable seat possible. Oh yeah, be sure to pay the fake ticket-taker $75.


“Dirty Pretty Things”

Stephen Frear’s unappreciated, atmospheric 2002 thriller wallows amid the illegal immigrant underground of London and a hotel clerk who knows too much. You’ll never look at an overflowing toilet the same way again.

Warm up: Clean your bathroom.


“Wings of Desire”

Wim Wenders’ achingly beautiful and transcendent masterpiece explores the observations of angels overseeing humanity and then follows one angel’s descent into the maze of life.

Warm up: Third movement of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and a Walt Whitman poem. Warning: Do not mix with “Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn.”


“The Saddest Music in the World”

Guy Maddin’s mind-bending, surrealist film romps through a preposterous Canadian music competition in which every country in the world enters in hopes of performing the saddest music the world has ever known.

Warm up: Hold your own “saddest music” concert. Finalists: Britney Spears and John Ashcroft.



With a remastered DVD now available, relive Michael Mann’s epic 1995 cops-and-robbers melodrama. Amid bank heists, raging egos and torn loyalties, “Heat” features the best shootout ever constructed and the most intense coffee conversation you’re likely to ever see.

Warm up: Find an open-mic night and give your best Al Pacino/Robert De Niro impersonation. “You talkin’ to me?” “I knew it was you, Fredo. You broke my heart!”


“Charlotte Sometimes”

Round out the festival with this quiet, pained, subtle and beautiful drama about a love triangle and three people who deceive themselves about their real desires. In an era of culturally insensitive (“The Pacifier”) and even bigoted cinema, this exclusively Asian production made waves after appearing at the 2002 Hawaii Film Festival.

Warm up: To appreciate the great, you must become familiar with the wretched. Rent anything starring Sandra Bullock, Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan – or John Ashcroft.