The Weekly Wire: This Week's Recommended Events



Sinfully Uncontrite

There is no Hollywood movie more insouciantly amoral than Ernst Lubitsch's 1932 Trouble in Paradise. Released in the depths of the Great Depression, Lubitsch's urbane comedy concerns a swank pair of thieves, played by Herbert Marshall and Miriam Hopkins, who not only live together in sin but—after successfully fleecing Kay Francis' rich and equally charming widow—taxi off into the sunset utterly unrepentant. Trouble in Paradise could not have been produced after the 1934 Production Code arrived to regulate the fantasy lives of American moviegoers. Hedonism was never more nonchalant. Trouble in Paradise has none of the single-entendre tawdriness or salacious Puritanism that gives pre-Code Hollywood its carnival flavor. The film is graced with a shimmering cast, impeccably streamlined in evening clothes and impossibly clinging gowns. Hopkins' self-amused coquettishness embodies the film's sense of mischief even as the superbly slouching Francis provides a sheen of lazy sensuality. Francis has the bewitching bedroom eyes, but the sly, effervescent Hopkins is the scene stealer; she must literally sit on her hands at one point to keep from swiping Francis' jewelry. At the apex of the triangle, the stiff yet soigné Marshall, often positioned in the frame to show off his profile (or conceal his prosthetic leg), leans forward to inhale his irresistible co-stars, both of whom are experts at swooning on divans. (Through Thurs. ) Grand Illusion Cinema, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 523-3935, $5-$8. 7 & 9 p.m. J. HOBERMAN


New Year's Eve

The Depths of Drunkenness

There are intimidating dive bars that hipsters dare to infiltrate, and then there's Joe's Bar & Grill, where if you've shaved within the past 36 hours, you will be greeted by regulars as though you just raped a pygmy goat on the pitcher's mound at Safeco during the 7th-inning stretch. Ogling these regulars will not only get you nowhere, it may get your ass kicked. So if you patronize Joe's on New Year's Eve, you've got no choice but to try and fit in. And fitting in means drinking. And drinking. And drinking. And drinking. And playing the Marshall Tucker Band on the jukebox. And drinking more. And drinking even more. Then ordering some cheap chow at the food window, if it's open (hours can be sporadic). Then drinking. And drinking. And drinking more. Then—before you know it, and you won't remember it—it's 2012. Good luck staying upright 'til then. Joe's Bar & Grill, 500 S. King St., 223-9266. Midnight. MIKE SEELY

New Year's Eve

The Height of Sobriety

Maybe you're a Friend of Bill W, maybe you've resolved to imbibe less in the new year, maybe you want to avoid all those bottled calories, or maybe you just don't want to be surrounded by drunken yahoos when the clock strikes twelve. Regardless of your reasons for celebrating a dry New Year's Eve, the best and soberest vantage point for Seattle's city lights and the Space Needle fireworks show is on the south prow of Queen Anne Hill, at Kerry Park. A cold, clear night offers the classic panorama of Seattle and Elliott Bay, but you actually want a high, light cloud cover to bounce the fireworks' light back down. With each burst and flare, the cloud canopy fills and pulses with light—cotton suddenly becomes cotton candy. It's like the skies are being seeded with color. Take a thermos of hot cider along with your mittens and hat to claim a good vantage point at the railing. The park fills with revelers each New Year who Oooh! and Ahhh! at the fireworks display. There are ritual kisses in the winter air, whoops and hollers of delight, and a few discreetly raised glasses of champagne. (The cops have got better places to patrol for rowdies, like Joe's, above.) And if you really want a drink to celebrate afterward, just stumble down the hill to Peso's. Kerry Park, 211 W. Highland Dr., 684-4075, Midnight. BRIAN MILLER



Show Us Your "Oh Face"

Before the BBC's The Office, or NBC's version with Steve Carell, there was Office Space, Mike Judge's 1999 exposé of Initech, a generic edge-city software company rooted in his own pre–Beavis and Butt-head cubicle days. Ron Livingston, David Herman, and Ajay Naidu play the trio of malcontents who gradually decide to revolt against their corporate overlords (led by Gary Cole in all his oleaginous, suspendered glory). Jennifer Aniston hints at a better career path not taken as Livingston's crush at the degrading local TGIF-style franchise eatery, Chotchkie's, where she's required to wear multiple pieces of flair. The film is endlessly quotable and resonant for those of us who endure the daily inanity of office life. (Every time I tussle with the printer, I hear Samir's complaint—"Why does it say paper jam when there is no paper jam?") Even if the exact nature and origin of those dreaded "TPS reports" is never explained, we've all had to file them. (Through Jan. 10.) Central Cinema, 1411 21st Ave., 686-6684, $6-$8. 9:30 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

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