Many of you reading this are no doubt part of the Medication Generation, those who had distributed unto them countless ADD, anti-depressant and anti-anxiety pills designed to cure what ailed them (veteran of Ritalin, current imbiber of generic Zoloft, thank you very much). The great melodramatic filmmaker Nicholas Ray—he who crafted James Dean's most immortal role in Rebel Without a Cause and Joan Crawford's most lesbian-tastic role in Johnny Guitar—predicted the proliferation of Mother's Little Helpers with 1956's Bigger Than Life, in which the steroid Cortisone turns schoolteacher James Mason's life from "a handful of hope" into "a fistful of hell!" (as the poster put it).
Unpopular upon its release—how dare a film criticize the suburban family?—it has earned a cult following in the intervening years. This Winter-Spring Film Series screening of a new Cinemascope print from Fox continues the Norman Rockwell-inspired run that began during the museum's Fall Series. The movie starts at 8 p.m. in the museum's East Building; admission is $5, or $3.50 for students and members of NCMA, Cinema Inc. or Galaxy Cinema. —Zack Smith