Okay, so why me?

4 01 2010

As I mentioned in my previous post, I consider myself a film buff. I like to watch movies, I like to think about them . . . I even cowrote a very funny screenplay a couple of years back in collaboration with my two daughters.

I’ve loved movies as long as I can remember, and that includes talking and writing about them. I may have missed my calling as a critic of some kind  – just take a look a this picture. I’m about four years old, on stage at a children’s theater in Paramus, New Jersey, and telling the star what I think should have happened in the show.

On stage at age four, voicing my opinions.

That was just the beginning. As I mentioned before, my grandfather took me to quite a few not very age-appropriate science fiction movies when I was 10 to 12 years old. And I knew I was in trouble when I went off to college and fell in with the Syracuse University Union film board. Oh, we were an angry bunch, itching for trouble in the form of a late night showing of “King of Hearts” or “Lord Love a Duck.” In my two years as Syracuse, I spent a lot more time in darkened auditoriums watching movies than I did studying . . . which explains why I was such an excellent student. But seriously, who could resist all the great movies? And working on the film board meant I got in free! We showed movies every night except Mondays and Thursdays, and there were plenty of double features as well. Just take a look at these schedules. (If you really wanna know, in the Fall 1981 schedule, the highlighted titles were movies I planned to see, and the ones with hash marks were the ones I actually saw.)

Just because I happen to have it, here’s the U.U. schedule for spring 1982. For some reason I didn’t note the movies I saw this time, although I could still list them.

I have to wonder if Syracuse still has a film program anything like this. It doesn’t seem likely. And this sort of program was great not only for the movies we saw but for the insane intensity of the organizers. For example, our all-night “Prisoner” marathon only showed 10 episodes of the series . . . but the film board screened the other seven, not quite as good episodes during the day. Or the all-night “Planet of The Apes” fest, which, thanks to the distributor’s screwup, ended not with “Battle for The Planet of The Apes” but with . . .  “Rabbit Test.” Mmm, that was one unhappy crowd!

My love of movies continues to this day. And while it’s near impossible to get out to all the new movies I’d like to see, I still watch lots of them at home. Some of them are even better than “Rabbit Test.”

Okay, next up, we’ll take a quick look at the early days of Alfred Hitchcock’s career, including his first directorial effort, “The Pleasure Garden,” which, by the way, I still can’t find on DVD.

And remember, ape shall not kill ape.




3 responses

10 01 2010
Kurt Busiek

Wow. Those old UU schedules take me back…


11 01 2010

How I held onto those all these years, I’ll never know.

15 02 2010
Randy Reynaldo

I went to UCLA in the early ’80s and they had a great film screening program from their world renowned archives, and I too took full advantage of them. At that time, there also were many great revival houses in L.A. that I traveled to and kept track of their monthly schedules. I feel so fortunate to have seen some of the greatest movies of all time from throughout film’s history in a movie theater. It’s great that most films today are available on DVD and can be watched on demand, but I also think today’s filmgoers are missing something not seeing it with an audience as they were meant to be seen. I recall about 10 years ago seeing an anniversary showing of Casablanca at the old Graumann’s Chinese movie theater in Hollywood–seeing the movie with the audience brought out elements I never really appreciated before, especially the comic bits! It was great hearing an audience roar in laughter in unison in that film!

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