Friday, September 17, 2010

Au Revoir, Summer Film Series.

Movies and events and digging. Oh my!

Wait. Is this really over?

Am I really done with the wonderful routine? With the comfort of a mezzanine seat, popcorn, and an ice-cold Dr. Pepper?
Yeah. It is over, but it was a heck of an experience. I made it to 72 films at The Paramount Theatre this summer. That's right, seventy-two.
Regarding the 11 films I missed, I fully intend to see them as soon as I can. Well, maybe not The White Whale. Not yet, at least. I'm saving that one for next year.

Hey, I need motive for the sequel, right? Hopefully I can do it again next summer.

I wrote about each and every film, and tried to document every event the best I could. And not just the movies. The parties, the dancing, the crowds, the excitement, the emergencies, and even the campaign for "This Place Matters" competition (which they
won, thank you very much). Armed with my camera in my trusty black messenger bag, I took photographs as often as I possibly could. Here are 80 images I captured that I think captured the spirit and frivolity of the summer for me. If you were there at any of these screenings or events, consider these our mementoes...

In spite of the programs, posters, and memorabilia I acquired along the way, I know my memories will outweigh any souvenirs. For those that couldn't make it, I hope my words and photos brought you along for the ride.
What were some of my favorite moments from the summer, you ask? Well, here it goes.

Most renewed appreciation for an actor/actress?
My initial reaction would be to say John Wayne, considering I never thought of him as a "real" actor before I saw The Searchers. But I've been even more impressed with Sally Field. As I've stated before, I never cared for her much before, but now I can see why she's received such acclaim. Her performances in Norma Rae and Places in the Heart are more than solid. They anchor each of those powerful movies. Dare I say it? I like her. I really like her.

Film series I'm most eager to complete now that I've seen at least one here?
This one is easier, after seeing The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and The Young Girls of Rochefort, I must see the first part of Jacques Demy's "trilogy," Lola. Although currently unavailable in a home video format, I must track it down.

Most solid new entry into my list of all-time favorite films?
There's easily a dozen that could jockey for position in my list of greatest of all time, so picking one is impossible. But if my arm was being twisted, I'll pick The Red Shoes. That one is going to stay with me for decades to come.

Director I am now most interested in?
Elia Kazan, who I knew by reputation before this summer, is now the one whose filmography I'm most interested in viewing. I haven't been this riveted by a director's storytelling style since I first discovered Martin Scorsese.

Best foreign film?
I'll try to keep things fresh and not cheat and repeat my praise for Demy's films. Therefore, I'll have to say Ran. It blew me away. Kurosawa was a real genius; but we already knew that, right?

Film with the best audience?
The matinee "playing hooky" screening of Ferris Bueller was so much fun. The crowd had so much fun, and we were all John Hughes fans that day. The sunlight outside had no chance of matching the sunny attitude inside the theatre.

Best new discovery?
There were only about a handful I had not heard of before, but of those few... I was most impressed by Sunrise. That was such an emotional and beautiful film.

Best event?
Well, the most fun I'd say was The Majestic Party. Everyone there was so friggin happy and friendly. Simply a darn good time by all. Don't believe me? See for yourself.

Most beautiful presentation?
Each of the 70mm films melted my eyeballs with their beauty, but I have to say Lawrence of Arabia was a seminal experience to behold on that screen. The clarity and depth of field in the images was nothing short of amazing. The best cinematic environment I've ever seen. Who needs 3D? You can keep Pandora, James Cameron. I'd rather go to the desert.

Overall favorite moment?
These tough decisions are killing me, but only one had the feel of a once-in-a-lifetime moment. That was the screening of Wings with Graham Reynold's live score. First, it was a one-night only affair. Second, it's not available on home video at all. Third, no other presentation of that film will ever be accompanied by that score
ever again. As a result, I find myself incredibly spoiled. I don't think I'd want to see it again if I can't hear that score. That's the night I feel grateful for above all others this year.

You know I could go on and on about the caliber of these films. But you know what? I already did. Feel free to browse my thoughts by clicking on the archives over here on the right side -->

Whatever I haven't completed is on its way. Seventy-two films take time to write about, especially when life gets in the way. The films often came fast and furious, and I'm still swimming neck-deep in notes I took for each screening. They will be complete soon enough. That I can assure you.

As you can see, the entire experience was infectious to my movie-going habits. In many ways, The Summer Series is like the introduction of a virus, and now that these classic titles are in my blood they course through my veins and will make me watch even more classics... exponentially for the rest of my life. May I never find a cure for this cinema madness.

What more can I possibly say? Oh, it's all been so amazing. Thanks to all the new friends I've made this summer. And a big thanks to The Paramount for allowing me to take this journey. For a couple of hours at a time, they took me to new places and showed me new sights. These few months zipped by in the blink of an eye. On the bright side, it's only nine months until I can hopefully see this view again.

I can. not. wait.

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