Jasper's love affair with The Nick, Christopher Walken, and Frank Capra

We have no idea why we love Christopher Walken as much as we do, but we know why we love The Nick, Columbia's very own art house - plus theatre.

Walken is funny, sure. The characters he's created on SNL alone have made him an American comedic icon -- think The Continental, Behind the Music record producer Bruce Dickinson during a recording of Blue Oyster Cult's "Don't Fear the Reaper" and, our favorite, Colonel Angus.

And he's a highly skilled dramatic actor, winning an Oscar for his role in The Deer Hunter and renown for majorly memorable scenes in such films as Pulp Fiction (a soldier, he delivers a watch to the son of a dead comrade in arms explaining to the boy how many men had hidden the timepiece in their rectums over the course of battles), and the Sicilian scene in Tarantino's True Romance.  He was nominated for a Tony for his role in Martin McDonagh's Behanding in Spokane.  And, he can dance.

Sure, he never turns down a role and has appeared in some pretty hideous films, Joe Dirt and American Sweethearts not even being the worst of them. He says it's because he and his wife of forever never had kids and if he's not working and someone offers him something, he'll take it -- he's an actor.

All this brings us to why we love both Chris Walken and The Nick.

After having mentioned in passing to the good folks at The Nick several weeks ago that we'd love to see Walken's new film, A Late Quartet in which he stars with Philip Seymour Hoffman and Katherine Keener, at the Nick, we got a message this morning from Nick director of marketing, the lovely Isaac Calvage, saying that the film will be screened there January 4 through 10!

It's nice when a wish comes true. And even nicer when a person takes a hot second to let you know that it has,  the way that Isaac did this morning.

This is an example of one of the many reasons we love The Nick. Other examples include Hitchcock (12/21 - 1/3) and, seriously, they're showing It's a Wonderful Life (12/22 - 12/24). And let's face it, showing a film like It's a Wonderful Life on the big screen -- a film that you can purchase at Target for a few bucks -- is, in our opinion here at Jasper, pretty much just an act of love. Love for the film -- by anyone's account one of the best and most beloved films of all time (the newel post alone gets us in the gut every time) -- love for the art of filmmaking and the art of film-viewing (let's talk about that sometime), and love of the theatre's clientele who have the opportunity to walk right off the city sidewalk and into the theatre, buy a box of popcorn, and settle in for the show just like viewers did in 1946. (Except that you can also buy some vino or a brew to go with your corn.)


Thus ends our love letter to The Nickelodeon, but not our love for the theatre or for the enigmatic Christopher Walken. We may not know why we're so crazy about Walken, but with the Nick, it's pretty clear.

Note: Here's what The Rolling Stone says about A Late Quartet. It should also be noted that the director of photography is one Fred Elmes, who also did the beautifully filmed Broken Flowers (starring another one of Jasper's enigmatic art crushes, that bad boy Bill Murray) and the kinkily filmed Blue Velvet. And, while the actors learned a bit about playing their musical instrument props in the film, the lion's share of the music was performed by the Julliard-heavy and exquisite Brentano String Quartet.


-- CB