"I love the Music Box Theatre!" actor Crispin Glover told me on the phone as he tooled down a California highway earlier this week. "The Music Box is a beautiful venue, and a very large venue for me. I've always had a great experience there."
Glover, probably best known for playing the creepy, rat-loving lead in "Willard" and Michael J. Fox's daffy dad George McFly in "Back to the Future," returns to Chicago's Music Box at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31, to perform his "Big Slide Show," a live narration of his book with projected illustrations.
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He'll also screen his 2007 film "It is Fine! Everything is Fine," a psychosexual fact and fiction tale about a man (Steven C. Stewart) with severe cerebral palsy and a fetish for girls with long hair.
"My father, Bruce Glover, was born in Chicago," the actor said. "We'll be showing 10 minutes of my next feature film, which I have been developing for many years as a project for my father and I to act in together. It will be a world premiere of this footage, not seen anywhere else in the world. The Music Box is a great place to do that!"
Tickets for Glover's show at the theater, 3733 N. Southport Ave, Chicago, run $20 to $25 and can be purchased at musicboxtheatre.com. Glover will also present his program on Feb. 7 at the Patio Theater, 6008 Irving Park Road, Chicago.
"I always get a little nervous," Glover confessed, "that I'll get there and no one will show up!"
Oscar mire explained
"The Envelope, Please!" Join me and film historian Raymond Benson as Dann & Raymond's Movie Club handicaps the Oscars. Be prepared for fearless predictions, snubs and the names of the nominees who should win, even if they don't. Be at the Schaumburg Township District Library, 130 S. Roselle Road, Schaumburg, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 6, for two hours of clips, comments and criticism. Call (847) 985-4000 or go to stdl.org.
Mini-review: 'Like Father, Like Son'
At first, I feared that Kore-eda Hirokazu's "babies switched at birth" soaper "Like Father, Like Son" would be a Hollywood-esque tale in which two opposite fathers become better people by adopting each other's parenting traits. That happens to some degree in "Like Father," but this carefully observed drama has more subtle and important points to make about the definition of family.
Hardworking, dedicated corporate cog Ryota Nonomiya (Masaharu Fukuyama) lives for his work in the big city with his subservient wife, Midori (Machiko Ono), and 6-year-old son Keita (Keito Ninomiya).
Fix-it guy and appliance store owner Yudai (Lily Franky) lives in the lower-class suburbs with his spunky, dominant wife, Yukari (Yoko Maki), and their 6-year-old son Ryusei (Hwang Shogen).
When the hospital discovers that it sent babies home with the wrong parents, both sets try to work things out to adjust to their new realities.
Workaholic Ryota wants to switch kids immediately so they can get over the change and go on with their lives. The other family -- and his own wife -- can't bear that.
Later, we discover why Ryota is so keen to dump his son, and it has to do with his disappointment that Ryusei simply doesn't measure up to his expectations; he thinks his biological son will.
Yudai is a big kid himself who interacts with his family constantly. When he berates Ryota for leaving his family alone most of the week, the cog man tells him it's not the amount of time that matters.
No, Yudai says, "to a child, the amount of time is all that matters."
Hirokazu's movie indicts the rigid Ryota far more than laid-back Yudai, dealing out harsher criticism of the Japanese work-to-death ethic over Yudai's softer family-first priorities.
Although "Like Father, Like Son" concerns a baby switch between classes, it reminded me of a powerful and better executed movie "The Other Son," which ups the dramatic ante by switching a Palestinian baby with an Israeli baby, and the parents not discovering the error until their sons have become young men.
That 2012 drama more vividly expands both movies' ultimate embracing of the same idea: No matter where you are, no matter who you are, families are important, and they're always a littler bigger than definitions sometimes allow.
"Like Father, Like Son" opens at the Music Box Theatre, Chicago. In Japanese with subtitles. Not rated; suitable for general audiences. 120 minutes. ★ ★ ★
• Daily Herald Film Critic Dann Gire's column runs Fridays in Time out!