The “Miracle Mile” is a busy stretch of Los Angeles’ Wilshire Boulevard, running from downtown to the La Brea Tar Pits. Outside Johnny’s All night Coffee Shop on Wilshire, Harry (Anthony Edwards), a lonely jazz musician, has just met the captivating Julie (Mare Winningham), the girl of his dreams. He answers a pay phone and by chance intercepts a hysterical call supposedly from a missile silo somewhere in North Dakota. The message is simple: “the button” has been pushed and there’s only about an hour left before nuclear disaster. Is the call real, or only the kind you’d get at a pay phone at 2 am in L.A.? What should you do when you may be first to know? Thus begins De Jarnatt’s strange late night adventure, a brave, wild mixture of comedy, apocalyptic suspense, and love story that has been described as a lunatic cross between After Hours and Repo Man.
Eat the Sun, US, 1974
dir. Jim Cox, Steve De Jarnatt (25 mins., Comedy, 16mm)
Made while Cox and De Jarnatt were students at Evergreen State College in Olympia, this comic mockumentary about the fictional Viduru Telemahandi and his Temple of Self Amplification remains one of the wittiest film parodies ever made—a biting poke at exploitative and exploited media cultists. De Jarnatt was the judge for the 16th Northwest Filmmakers’ Festival in 1988, and will be on hand to talk about his two cult classics.