The Last Picture Show

Bogdanovich Last Picture Show

“I thought you might want to go to the picture show. Miss Mosey is having to close it. Tonight’s the last night.” – Sonny Crawford (Timothy Bottoms)

How is it that nobody has done a modern version of The Last Picture Show? I realize that Peter Bogdanovich’s 1971 film, based on the novel by Larry McMurtry, is about much more than Miss Mosey having to close down the movie theater due to dwindling business and the rise of television, but let’s face it: the death of the Royal Theater in a small town, circa 1952, serves as a larger emblem of the many chapters in life that open and close for the characters of Anarene, Texas. It does so in ways that are understandable for anyone going through adolescence, their mid-life, and even death. Still: so much is implied by the four simple words of the title that it’s no surprise the book caught the eye of someone like Bogdanovich.

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Origin Story (or, Confessions of a Movie Geek)

Last week in my griping about superhero origin stories, I promised to offer up my own origin story, the explanation of how I came to be the way I am today.  Every story has a beginning.  Mine, naturally enough, starts in childhood–

No.  That’s wrong.  Mine starts even earlier than that.  I began collecting movies before I was born.

I came by my passion honestly. My mother, growing up in the 1950s, saved her allowance up to buy this Bell and Howell 8mm movie projector:

Bell and Howell projector

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Lucy Ricardo Was Just Like Us — She Loved Movie Stars!

This coming Saturday — tomorrow, August 6th – marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of show business’ forever and always top funny lady Lucille Ball, and also a day of Lucille Ball on TCM’s Summer Under the Stars.  It would be more than appropriate for anyone to celebrate this significant milestone, but I especially love Lucy.  My mother used to say that when I was a kid everytime she would come into a room I’d be watching I Love Lucy on TV, and I used to talk about it all the time.  Still do even today — watch and talk about it! [...MORE]

Modern Movie-Going Rewards

Last Mother’s Day I wrote a piece titled Modern Movie-Going Punishments. It got a big response. Clearly, a lot of people have had to deal with negative experiences when going out to see movies on the big screen. Readers also added to the list of rude behaviors, two of which we felt obliged to add to the illustrations on that past post to make ‘em official (these being the sick person who doesn’t think twice about spreading germs, and people who yawn loudly throughout the film). Many who chimed in said that the list was a reminder of why they no longer go to movie theaters. It now seems fitting to use Father’s Day for the long overdue counter-point offering you a long list of why you should still go to movie theaters. As with last time, my heart-felt thanks to my good friend John Adams for providing all the illustrations that accompany the list below.  [...MORE]

Modern Movie-Going Punishments

Today is the second Sunday in May. Mother’s Day. As I’ve had the Sunday shift for several years now I’ve already been able to write on the ways my mom contributed to my passion for cinema during my early years. (For further Mother’s Day homages look no further than R.H. Smith’s recent post.) Mother’s Day is also an important date for gardeners in my midwest region because it marks the official start of when you can finally plant various seeds without having to worry too much about a vicious cold snap freezing the seedlings dead. With that in mind, I’ve decided to plant a few seeds of my own that chronicle the Modern Movie-Going Punishments of our day. I do this with the hope that it might help nip bad behavior in the bud, allow more pleasant movie-going experiences to flourish and, in general, make a trip to the movies less punishing. (Tip of the hat to my friend John Adams for providing the accompanying illustrations.)

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Surviving the Snowpocalypse of 2011

Snowpocalypse, snowtastrophe, snowmageddon, blizzaster. The news media grew increasingly creative in referring to last week’s major snowstorm as their coverage moved from pre-storm to mid-storm to post-storm. Yet, they had nothing on social media: Twitter enthusiasts coined “snOMG” and “snownami,” while many Facebook users changed their profile photos to the image of Jack Nicholson frozen in the snow from The Shining. The instantaneous response to the storm on Facebook, Twitter, and blogs reflected the shared experience of those of us caught in the Snowpocalypse, creating a community among the 30 states affected by the storm, including eight that endured blizzard conditions and massive accumulations.  The official total was over 20 inches here in Chicago, making it the third largest snowfall on record for the Windy City.

Weather forecasters began their warnings the previous weekend so when the storm hit Chicago on the afternoon of February 1, residents had their plans in place for getting home and riding out the storm.  Bloggers across the Midwest began cataloging survival supplies, which included lists of movies to enjoy during the snow days. Just how popular movie-watching became during the storm and its aftermath is evident by news accounts of people stockpiling movies and popcorn right alongside their groceries. Letters on the Redbox blogsite recount customers’ adventures of braving the blizzard to rent a movie only to find the machines frozen from the snow that was blowing sideways from the 40mph winds. Radical movie-goers negotiating record-breaking weather to find a flick—that’s the Chicago I know. [...MORE]

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