The Reel Less Traveled – September 2023


There's No Place Like Home

    Legacy, laughter, a little lust, plus much more are on view this month at the Orinda Theatre. Let’s get right to it.
    Starting with a non-movie event, the 47th Stand-Up Comedy Competition is Sept. 3 and 8. You will have the rare opportunity to be in on the ground floor as comedians from all over try to out-funny each other. It’s a little like witnessing history, for many past contestants have become world-renowned. Unlike most history lessons, this one comes with its own laugh track which, hopefully, you will provide. See the article on page 13, or visit
    Back to the silver screen. The Chiller Diller Theatre presents It Came from Beneath the Sea Sept. 16 at 8:30 p.m. This is another one of those movies meant to make us aware of the dangers of scientific hubris which, thus far, have given us mutated ants in Them!, spiders in Tarantula! and rabbits in Night of the Lepus. Here it’s an octopus terrorizing San Francisco, brought to life by the stop-motion magic of Ray Harryhausen. Will the Golden Gate Bridge survive?
    The International Film Showcase features a touching drama about friendship, lost and regained. Eight Mountains follows two men who form a strong bond as boys that even the vagaries of life can’t completely destroy. It 
may be true that one can’t go home again, but there is nothing saying you can’t build a new home. This is the daunting task which renews a dormant friendship. Visit for showtimes and trailers.
    Pal Joey, the free movie Sept. 21 at 6:30 p.m., is not that well known, but it deserves to be. With Frank Sinatra, Rita Hayworth and Kim Novak, it bursts with charisma and sex appeal. Though the titular character has more than a few flaws, they might be forgiven as soon as Sinatra sings, The Lady is a Tramp, which practically stops the show. Hayworth and Novak provide some distraction, especially when Hayworth sings Bewitched. Rogers and Hart really delivered here.
    Ooz-O-Rama is a special event Sept. 23 at 3 p.m. Not much is known, but it’s probably safe to guess it will appeal to those of us who appreciate the more visceral side of cinema. It is a matinee, starting at 3 p.m.
    All in all it looks as if there’s something for everyone and, as usual, always make sure to go toward those wonderful images made from sound and light, for that’s where the reel magic lies.

Tom Westlake can be reached at

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