Tickets for Alamo Drafthouse Wrigleyville’s six-screen, 372-seat theater are now on sale here and through their mobile app. Located in the theater lobby is Video Vortex, which combines a cocktail bar with a video store that contains 13,000 films on VHS, DVD and Blu-ray. You can rent three at a time for free, provided you return them within five days. Naturally, I couldn’t resist renting my first films in several years, and decided to go with Lina Wertmüller’s “Seven Beauties,” Robert Towne’s “Personal Best” and Steve Binder’s “The Star Wars Holiday Special” complete with a Rifftrax commentary track. Yet it’s the VHS tapes available for rental that are the most enticing, and luckily, VHS players can be borrowed as well. How can one afford to miss such gloriously obscure titles as “Angela Lansbury’s Positive Moves: A Personal Plan for Fitness and Well-Being at Any Age” or “How Can I Tell If I’m Really in Love?” starring siblings Jason and Justine Bateman?
What made last night so moving was its dedication ceremony attended by James Hughes, the son of Chicago’s celebrated filmmaker, the late John Hughes. A plaque was unveiled, proclaiming that the venue would be known as the John Hughes Cinema, while a memorable scene from the writer/director’s 1986 classic, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” in which a Ferrari sails to its doom, is recreated in the lobby as an ideal photo opp spot. Six Hughes pictures were screened simultaneously, including “Ferris Bueller,” which was preceded by a special in-person introduction from Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim League, clad in a Bueller bathrobe, and James Hughes, who recounted how his father used to love sitting at the dearly missed Julius Meinl cafe on Southport and sketch the customers.
“In 1984, I was fourteen and shared the same hairstyle, untucked Polos and braces as Anthony Michael Hall in ‘Sixteen Candles,'” said League in a statement. “I maybe wasn’t the king of them at my school, but I was undeniably a dork. The classic ‘80s John Hughes films hit me like a sledgehammer. For the first time, I experienced movies that truly understood my teenage experience and challenges. I am honored to be paying tribute to a revolutionary storyteller who both positively affected my life but also changed cinema forever.”