Rebel Without a Cause

Beginning NWFF’s “Required Viewing” series of lectures and classes is an opportunity to hear all about the 1955 Rebel Without a Cause from its 88-year-old screenwriter, Seattle resident Stewart Stern. As directed by Nicholas Ray, James Dean plays the now iconic misunderstood teen, caught between his parents and his ardor for Natalie Wood. “You’re tearing me apart!” he famously howls at his folks. Today the scene—like all the acting here—seems borderline grotesque melodrama; it makes you think more of Jim Carrey’s old Dean impersonation than of any real emotion. The movie’s no classic, but it’s an essential document of its overblown, mom-hating, crackpot-Freud postwar era. Without it, there’d be no WB Network, no The O.C., none of our entire teen-based industrial culture. Blink fast and you’ll miss Dean’s crony Dennis Hopper, merely credited as “Goon.” (NR) BRIAN MILLER

Fri., Jan. 15, 7 p.m., 2010

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