If you're in or near Chicago this Friday, free your schedule. As THR's Risky Business points out, there will be a debate of Todd Solondz's 1998 film Happiness at Columbia College as part of their Cinema Slapdown series. "A wildly entertaining crossbreed of film discussion and knockdown, drag out debate," the program features one participant who loves a controversial film, and one who hates it. The two men who will debate the merits of Solondz's depression-fest are Fred Miller, M.D., Ph.D. against the film, and comedic Hollywood icon Harold Ramis arguing for it. Or, as they note on the calendar, Ramis grabs the "See how much fun the suburbs can be?" angle while Miller takes the "Will somebody please put me out of this misery?" side.

The third feature for Solondz, and second to make an indie impact after Welcome to the Dollhouse, Happiness is a dark comedy of perversion that taps into everything from obscene phone calls to fantasies of mass murder. A controversial film that won the Cannes Critics' prize, it's a strange film pulled forward by a cast of names like Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jon Lovitz, Lara Flynn Boyle, Camryn Manheim, and Jared Harris.

Dr. Spengler taking on the debate isn't quite as wildly out of nowhere as you'd expect -- he did offer us his own spin on dysfunction with Analyze This, which hit screens soon after. But it's still a wild choice and should be a great experience. If any of our great Cinematical readers attend, let us know how it goes!
categories Movies, Cinematical