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Cleveland Cinematheque Presents 'Return of the Reviled' This Month

photo of John Travolta, Lily Tomlin
Lily Tomlin and John Travolta starred in 1978's 'Moment By Moment' just after receiving Oscar nominations for 'Nashville' and 'Saturday Night Fever,' respectively. It's part of the Cleveland Cinematheque's 8th Annual 'Cult Film Festival.'

The Cleveland Cinematheque’s 8th Annual “Cleveland Cult Film Festival” kicks off this weekend, and the theme this year is “Return of the Reviled.”

In various films over the next two weekends, the series will features works from the writers of “Heaven Can Wait,” the director of “RoboCop,” and stars like John Travolta and Jennifer Lopez.

Cinematheque Founder John Ewing says he tries to counter-program the Cleveland International Film Festival every April, and this year he decided to go in a slightly different direction.

“I just decided to focus on four notoriously bad movies which nobody ever revives, and which I think people might be interested in giving a second chance to.”

This weekend, it’s “Moment By Moment” with Travolta and Lily Tomlin plus “Ishtar” with Dustin Hoffman, Warren Beatty and Charles Grodin. Neither film has been on the big screen in years, and “Moment By Moment” has never been released on home video. Ewing says “Ishtar” has gained a following in recent years from the likes of Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino.

Next weekend, it's Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez in “Gigli” as well as “Showgirls,” written by Cleveland native Joe Eszterhas.

Ewing says sometimes films that were poorly reviewed on release get a new following years later.

John Ewing discusses the entire 'Return of the Reviled' series

“For some reason, certain films come along that all the critics gang up against it. Take a movie like ‘Showgirls." It’s an unsavory subject. But whatever ‘Showgirls’ is, it’s a film by Paul Veerhoven, who’s a major director, by a major screenwriter, and the film is quite spectacular, visually.”

Ewing hopes that audiences come to the screenings with an open mind and form their own opinions, freed from the negative hype from decades ago.


Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.