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28

TUESDAY

It’s a well-worn Hollywood cliche: the curmudgeonly misanthrope who, through a series of clumsy plot mechanics, becomes responsible for a ragtag group of urchins. And oh yeah, the kids ultimately break through and melt his crusty ticker. The tradition spans from Matthau’s salty turn as Buttermaker to Kenny Rogers’ portrayal of Brewster Baker in Six Pack. Hell, even John Wayne had to play scout leader to a group of pubescent ‘pokes in The Cowboys. Here, the Duke is a rancher whose cattlemen have all caught gold fever and fled westward, forcing him to employ a group of local boys to drive his cattle to the stockyard. But the movie isn’t all sorghum and sap. It also features the film debut of Revenge of the Nerds star Robert Carradine. And any flick that has Bruce Dern playing a villain nicknamed “Long Hair” has lassoed my attention. Mosey on down at 6:30 p.m. to the Kennedy Center’s American Film Institute National Film Theater. $7. (202) 833-2348. (David Dunlap Jr.)