If the Webster Film Series represents the cinephile's ego, what with its fondness for great directors, culturally significant pictures and foreign films, the Strange Brew series is that same film buff's raging id. Strange Brew, which is technically an offshoot of the WFS, dives deep into Hollywood's backwaters to find the cult classics and near-misses of the past. How do you explain the subtle mysteries of distinguished actor Frank Langella playing Skeletor in a live-action He-Man movie to the uninitiated? What madness led to Leonard Nimoy taking on the role of psychic, racecar-driving detective Tom Kovack in Baffled!?
Why the hell did George Lucas crap all over Howard the Duck in his big-budget flop Howard the Duck
? Strange Brew allows you to examine the evidence firsthand with cheap ($5) screenings on the first Wednesday of the month at Schlafly Bottleworks. There is beer, there is food and there are even occasional gems in the pop-culture detritus of our forefathers. Walter Hill's Depression-era, bare-knuckle-boxing flick Hard Times
, starring manly man Charles Bronson, was a notable exception this year, as was Martin Villeneuve's odd sci-fi romance Mars et Avril
. And that's what makes Strange Brew so much fun. When the films are bad they're good, and when they're good they're great. Schlafly Bottleworks, 7260 Southwest Boulevard, Maplewood, 63143. 314-968-7487, www.webster.edu/film-series