How to Celebrate Your Birthday with Movies


As the years pile up, we sometimes need something a little extra to make those birthdays a bit easier to swallow. As always, I’m celebrating my birthday this year with some movie-related festivities and fun. Feel free to steal one or all of my ideas and please, share your own!


First, find a movie star who shares your birthday. I’m really fortunate to have the same birthday as Cary Grant, which makes sense: people mistake me for him all the time. (Ok, you can stop laughing now. Seriously, pick yourself up off the floor…)


With Cary in mind, I plan to watch one of his films this weekend, probably My Favorite Wife (1940), one I haven’t seen in quite awhile.


Then, if at all possible, find a good movie to see in a theater. Tomorrow I’m dragging my wife with me to the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center to see Phantom Thread in 70mm. Paul Thomas Anderson is my favorite living director, so this will be a real treat.


Speaking of seeing movies in theaters, I’ve really enjoyed using MoviePass, a Christmas gift from my wife. If you don’t know about it, MoviePass is an amazing idea that could (I hope) reinvigorate the dying theatrical movie industry. Check it out.


I also bought myself a little something this week, the second volume of Forbidden Hollywood DVD set from Warner Archive. I’ve really been getting into movies from the 1930s lately and these pre-code films are always entertaining (especially when they include Barbara Stanwyck).


You always need a good book about movies. For Christmas I received When Movies Mattered: Reviews from a Transformative Decade by Dave Kehr, which is simply some of the finest writing on movies I’ve read in a long time.


Finally, for the third consecutive year I’ll be attending Noir City, the 16th Annual San Francisco Film Noir Festival at the Castro Theatre January 26-February 4. If you’ve never been to a Noir City festival, I urge you to attend one of the festivals in Seattle (Feb. 16-22), Denver (March 23-25), Hollywood (April 13-22), Austin (May 18-20), Boston (June 8-10), Chicago (TBD), Detroit (TBD), or Washington D.C. (TBD). But the biggest and best way to experience Noir City is at the San Francisco location. I’ll only be able to attend the first half of the festival, but if you’re going, please seek me out.

So however you celebrate your birthday, I hope you’ll add some movies to your festivities. Enjoy!

(Also many thanks to those who’ve wished me a Happy Birthday though social media today – Much appreciated!)

Photos: Spectacular Attractions, Return of Kings, Classic Movie Hub, Indie Wire, Screen Rant, Noir City, University of Chicago Press

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