For hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee

Pop quiz! Which is the more apt metaphor for our country’s tumultuous week?

A) A carnival of nightmares rolls into Anytown, USA and seduces the locals with devilish trickery.

B) A self-destructive captain drags his crew on a mission to hunt down a white whale, even if it means tracking the beast “round perdition’s flames.”

C) A nuclear test in the arctic awakens a terrifying beast from a prehistoric slumber and sends him on a rampage to Manhattan.

D) Metaphor, schmetaphor. Get to the point!

Alright, already. Tonight and tomorrow night at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, the American Cinematheque is presenting three films with screenplays written by L.A.’s beloved author Ray Bradbury. Tonight at 7:30 p.m. is Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983) starring Jonathan Pryce and Jason Robards. Tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. is a double bill of the John Huston-directed Moby Dick (1958) starring Gregory Peck, and The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms (1953), featuring a stop-motion “rhedosaurus” by visual effects wizard Ray Harryhausen. Ray Bradbury himself will be on hand to introduce the films.

And if you need brushing up on the plot of Herman Melville’s masterpiece before seeing the movie, my favorite synopsis ever of Moby Dick can be found after the jump.

Photo: Film still from Moby Dick. Courtesy of the American Cinematheque.

From “The Blank Page,” the very special illiteracy episode from the second season of Strangers with Candy. In this scene, Jeri Blank, who can’t read, tries to fake her way through reading aloud the first chapter of Moby Dick:

I’ve already read this one. Isn’t this about, that guy? There was this, uh, old man, with a beard. And, uh, he became friends with, a big white fish. And, um, they became such good friends that the fish moved in with the old man. But, uh, his old lady freaked out on him. So, uh, the fish, Dick, uh, decided to go on a road trip. And, uh, he got busted because they found out he had a lot of narcotics, uh, hidden in his, uh, belly. And, uh, so, uh, he actually did five to ten at the state pen.