Thursday, May 15, 2008

Event Movie Experiences

Approximately 1:30 in the afternoon, May 14, 2008. 93 degrees in the shade (it would eventually hit 96 where I live). It feels like the first day of real summer. I storm the Corte Madera, California "Cinema" and ask for tickets for the 10:00 a.m. showing of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The day before I called the manager, who, after years and years of talking with (mainly about the movie business rather than films per se, but one day I hope that changes) knows me as well as any regular moviegoer in the area. He told me tickets are "going" for the midnight showing ten hours earlier (I'm a fanatic, but not that much of a fanatic... then again, being an insomniac of sorts, what would I be missing anyway? Hmm...) as well as all the other starting times. 10:00 a.m. sharp is earlier than any showing in this theatre's history. (The Star Wars prequels were a little bit before 11:00, if I remember correctly.)

Now, I care about box office the way Gandhi cared about battle tactics. It's just not what motivates me at all (especially with regards to seeing a film). Yet even I have just become aware of early tracking numbers for this Indy movie that make it sound like it could break a five-day record. I only care at all because the money from the box office indicates one thing: People are going to see this film.

When I look back, most of the "event films" most people think of in such an obvious context are before my time. Did I or did I not see Independence Day when I was... (does the math) still eleven years old in a theatre? I honestly can't remember. I'm sure I've seen it once or twice at home.

I remember seeing the animated Beauty and the Beast in a cinema, however. Same goes for The Little Mermaid and, quite vividly, at nine, The Lion King. Jurassic Park the summer earlier.

I suppose every generation has its event pictures, and I'm probably short-changing myself and my generation in my retrospective musings. More recently, The Phantom Menace, I remember seeing and moderately being fine with it despite its many egregious flaws (at fourteen). I can still remember a mother asking her son what he thought while filing out of the theatre and his jubilant demeanor was irrepressible. "Do you think he'll go back and free his mom?" she asked, in the late May heat, asking of course about Anakin liberating his slave mother. As Mr. Bernstein's story of the girl in a white dress holding a parasol in Citizen Kane demonstrated, it truly is funny what someone remembers.

As I became older and more jaded by three-year gaps the prequels, which arguably became better as they went along, became more tedious and frustrating for me with each new installment.

The Lord of the Rings films deserve special consideration. I had at least a couple of high school friends whose devotion to the series seemed a little bit crazy to me. Each year, beginning in 2001 and concluding in 2003, they would see the first midnight showing--at the Corte Madera "Cinema," of course--and the next day in school they would do their best to limn the basic plot to anyone who would listen. I always waited for the weekend for a matinee. The Lord of the Rings films did possess a certain, undeniably populist invitation to seemingly everyone. I still occasionally flash back to the image of my English teacher in high school utilizing a Frodo bookmark for his own book reading. Sometimes event movies mean the occasional problem. Throughout much of The Two Towers, two guys sitting next to me would not cease yapping. Evidently, one had not seen the first film and the other was filling him in on all of the matters from the first that pertained to the second (which, as I'm sure you know, are legion). At about the one-hour mark, I finally lashed out. "Just go watch the first fucking film!" Sometimes one becomes a beast when locked in a dark room with other animals.

Two films that felt like consummate event pictures because of the crowded, bustling summertime audiences on opening day were Minority Report and War of the Worlds. I had a nasty sunburn all over my back when I saw Minority Report in a completely packed house; outside the weather was treacherously humid with a hot, hazy June 21st dampness creating a rare sticky heat for the San Francisco Bay Area. War of the Worlds, a perfectly pleasant summer day with a large crowd at the "Cinema." In each case, seemingly the entire audience began talking about the film they had just viewed with uncommon febrific alacrity. As I began to depart the theatre after Minority Report concluded, I remember briefly eavesdropping on two guys who looked like they were in their late twenties, and had probably become friends in college. "It's not that I disliked it," one of them said. "It just... It didn't..." As he attempted to formulate his opinion, his counterpart enthused, "The entire film is a metaphor for the viewer's relationship with watching a film. It's what Truffaut recognized about Hitchcock."

Sometimes the setting can diminish the experience. Batman Begins came out less than a month after Revenge of the Sith and consequently to see it on a big screen I had to go into San Francisco. I never made it, and saw it instead on a rather small screen in Marin County. I had a great deal of fun with it, but part of me wonders how it would have been on a bigger screen with a superior sound system. And yet that film nevertheless felt like an event movie because of the other people in the theatre, their reactions, and because I allowed the film's textures to wash over me.

And of course, that's the whole point, isn't it? Any film can be an event picture for you. In 2006, I didn't see Pirates 2 as an event film even though it made money hand over fist. For me it was an exercise in toleration, and because I was forced to see it a second time because of a film class I was taking, withstanding torture. Pirates wasn't an event, it was a long, loud and laborious yawn. What was my great event picture of that year? Brick, which I had seen on May 31 in an otherwise completely empty arthouse theatre with my father on Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley. First row, balcony. Just when you think films can't supply you with that "movie rush" anymore, one comes along to shake you as it unspools.

In 2007, my event films were The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford in a nearly empty theatre; There Will Be Blood in a packed Castro Theatre in San Francisco on November 5; and No Country for Old Men at the AMC Theatre on Mission St. with a captivated audience on November 9.

Any film can be an event film for the particular viewer. Whether it's Spider-Man 2 or Cave of the Yellow Dog, any film has the potential to be an event film for someone... for an audience...

What are two of my great event films of all time, though?

July 8, 2006, at Union Square. Citizen Kane presented by Film Night in the Park. Excellent, huge screen. The only disturbance was the occasional trolley car bell, which was actually a cool sub-soundtrack for the film. Otherwise you could have heard a pin drop in the downtown San Francisco that summer night.

July 29, 2006 at Dolores Mission Park. Raiders of the Lost Ark again presented by Film Night in the Park. Excellent, huge screen. Arriving early, and sitting in the unofficial "front row" in the park that evening, it was truly a spectacle of epic proportions to behold thousands and thousands of people streaming through the park to watch a film twenty-five years old. Never have I been a part of an audience so vast, and the only thing that could equal its enormity was its melting into one gigantic voice. It was like the Super Bowl and World Series put together for an Event Movie.

So, do I even have to ask?

Okay, I will anyway. What "event movie" was the biggest event for you? Which event film experiences do you most cherish? Or abhor?

24 comments:

cjKennedy said...

For the largest part of my life, I avoided opening nights. I made an exception for Full Metal Jacket and the original Batman and there have been rare moments since. I think I saw Terminator 2 on opening day, but it was in the afternoon which doesn't have the same feeling as a nighttime screening.

Since I've lived in LA, my opening night habits have changed thanks to the Arclight and its reserved seating.

Kill Bill 2 was cool. They played Kill Bill 1 beforehand and Tarantino was rumored to be coming, but he didn't.

The first Lord of the Rings was pretty exciting. The newness had worn off by 2 and 3 but they had the familiar comfort of visiting an old friend.

The midnight screening of Spider-Man 3 was a total disappointment.

Of all of them, I'd have to go back to Full Metal Jacket as the best. It was the first Kubrick movie I saw in a theater when it was new (I caught The Shining first on video). Eyes Wide Shut I saw on opening day but it was in a crummy theater with a small audience.

So yeah. Final Answer. Full Metal Jacket. I don't remember the date, I'm not a ticket saver, but for some reason I think it played in Seattle a little earlier than most places. I remember at the end they handed out cards asking for our opinion on things.

Daniel G. said...

Oh, man. Great post, Alexander. These are the times when I wish we could all sit around at a bar or something and talk about these. For the most part my event experiences have been in the afternoon, and not at night. I'll still do opening day matinees, but generally I avoid a 7:00 PM opening night if at all possible.

By the way, I love that you dropped Cave of the Yellow Dog in here...

I'm sure I'll remember a lot more of these as other people add theirs, but I'll just go off the top of my head for now - focusing on blockbusters.

Spaceballs might have been one of my first memorable ones. It wasn't opening night, maybe a Saturday afternoon. At a Maplewood, MN theater with my older brother. I think I had M & M's. We also Batman Returns, which I don't think I've seen since.

Back to the Future II and III remain in my head as pretty big deals, especially because I think they had marketing tie-ins, and I was at the age when I bought into those kinds of things - toys, happy meals, whatever. The Sandlot was one of the first movies I saw with a big group of friends. We were about the same age as the characters. Fun time.

Jurassic Park was the first movie I saw 3 times in the theater. I still remember the audience, me included, gasping and oohing and ahhing at the first sight of the dinosaurs. Never forget that magical moment.

Saw Forrest Gump with my family on a Sunday afternoon way back, that was a good time.

Independence Day was a huge deal for me. That was back when I watched trailers, and for some time before it was released I was calling it "The best movie I'd ever seen." Too bad I couldn't cash that check.

For a few years in high school, my friends and I would go to the movies every Friday afternoon after school. During this time we had the Star Wars trilogy special editions released again, which was amazing. For the Phantom Menace we didn't do a midnight screening, but I think we left school early and saw the noon show or something.

I saw Attack of the Clones at the Loews Boston Common on opening day at 9:00 AM, obviously skipping a class. It was a big deal because it was one of the first theaters with digital projection. Too bad there were about five of us there.

Revenge of the Sith I did see at midnight, at the Horton Plaza theaters in downtown San Diego. We waited in line for a couple hours. People were dressed up. A couple of guys staged a lightsaber battle at the front of the theater to pass the time. It was fairly nerdy.

I saw all three LOTR movies on or right after opening day, but don't remember them very well. Same goes for the Spider-Man trilogy.

Magnolia and Titanic on opening nights, both packed theaters.

The Passion of the Christ was a big event, saw it after the Oscars in 2004? 2005? Not too impressed, minimal crowd.

Like you, Alexander, I saw War of the Worlds in a hot summer theater, this one in Las Vegas. Great movie for a packed audience.

I saw Harry Potter 3 (or 4) in San Jose, Costa Rica, and a year later, Pirates 3. Both were completely packed opening weekend screenings, English with subtitles. Very quiet audiences.

Borat was an insanely packed, raucous theater. Opening day 5:00 PM. Immediately followed by Babel at 7:00 PM at a different theater. Maybe 10 people there.

Last year, Transformers and Superbad were buzzy screenings. Great crowds.

OK I've just been listing any and all movies here and I'm nowhere near a point or a favorite. It's just fun to think about, so thanks. I could talk about every movie theater experience I've had, but I'll stop here!

Yes, I'm hoping to make an event of Indy next week as well.

Alexander Coleman said...

Full Metal Jacket is a fascinating pick, Craig.

The Lord of the Rings films, to me, only gained with each installment in terms of being "events." I wouldn't personally say the same for "quality," or at least what I favored the most.

That's cool that they played the first Kill Bill before Kill Bill 2.

Daniel, a lot of great recollections there. You got me with The Passion of the Christ--I should have mentioned that in my original posting, because I saw that on opening day, first showing, packed crowd in the "Cinema." Whatever one's feelings for the film, and mine are rather complicated on the whole, it certainly has to be described as featuring the entire atmosphere of an "event."

I'm entirely with you, by the way, Daniel. I'll go opening day, but only matinees. I just don't go to theatres at night, usually, though it has happened. Craig's right that it's a different experience, between the convenience of hours and, now more than ever, the price, daytime moviegoing is typically the way I go.

lightbird777 said...

Film events this past year (I'm not great with dates except for one because it was the day after Christmas):

There Will Be Blood, December 26th, 68th Street & Broadway
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Angelika

All-time film events:
Raiders of the Lost Ark at the Essex Screen Cinema
Star Wars (episode IV)
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
Jaws
Casablanca, Cinema Village (but one of the most memorable experiences of this movie was last summer, at the Bryant Park film festival)

Alexander Coleman said...

You've got some real classics there, Alison.

I've seen classics like Jaws, Dr. No, From Russia with Love and 8-1/2 among others with big crowds outdoors on summer evenings as well.

Return of the Jedi didn't make the cut? :)

Daniel G. said...

True, some classics, Alison. With TWBB you reminded me of No Country, which was a huge, packed screening here on opening weekend. Minnesotans always come out for the native Coen sons. I actually sat back row, next to some idiot giving a play-by-play. "The transponder! It's the transponder!"

I forgot to mention something Craig said earlier about "ticket saving." The fact that you mentioned it makes me not feel like a total freak. I think I have some going back 15 years or so...

Alexander Coleman said...

I have a shrine made out of old movie tickets.

I should probably organize as many of them as I can by director!

lightbird777 said...

lol, Alexander, no Return of the Jedi doesn't make the cut. I was a little kid when I saw the very first Star Wars in the theater and it was really a phenomenon. And Empire Strikes Back is my favorite of all of them - I saw it with a friend and we had a great time. I'll always remember it. Return of the Jedi was a great way to end the trilogy, but it was sort of anti-climactic.

sarcastig said...

I keep forgetting you're my age, Alexander. Somehow, I always imagine you much older and wiser... But we experienced a lot of new movies at the same phase in our lives.

The first event movie that comes to mind (though it's not necessarily my favorite) was maybe the biggest event movie of them all: Titanic. It stands out for me because it was the first non-Disney movie I ever saw in the cinema: we were living in Morocco at the time, and since we couldn't go to the movies by ourselves, I was restricted to the movies my younger brother and sister would also want to see.

Aside from that, I think the whole concept of event movies is rather American...or, in any case, not very Dutch. There usually aren't huge opening night crowds here, and not that much excitement about films. The last movie I saw in a packed theater was probably Pirated of the Carribean 2. I was dragged there by my sister (I like the first one, but I'd read the reviews), and I felt so old! In the break (yeah, they have breaks in the middle here, one more reason to hate dutch cinemas), I went to the bathroom and was surrounded by 12 year olds pretending to be 16 and retouching their exaggerated make-up.

But I do have some fond memories of event movies I saw while I was in the US, in the first half of 2005. Batman Begins was in a positively buzzing cinema in Westwood, we went to see Mr. and Mrs. Smith with a big group of friends, most of them girls, and the best one: we managed to get 7 of us in a tiny car to drive to Santa Monica, the location of the only cinema that still had tickets for Revenge of the Sith. It was the first Star Wars film I saw on the big screen, and even if I wasn't impressed, the experience was great.

The disadvantage of being a critic is that you often see the big films a little in advance, in a quiet, behaved room without any audience participation. Which is exactly why I decided not to even compete for the review of Indiana Jones: that reviewer will only see it two days in advance, anyway...and I've already booked tickets to go see it with my friends on opening night.

Daniel G. said...

So I was still thinking about this and remembered that L.A. Confidential was a big deal opening night, which strikes me as kind of odd now that I think about it. None of its actors were major stars at that time, were they? Also, a review in the paper told everyone to stay through until the end of the credits, which half the audience did. Now I can't even remember what was waiting for us at the end.

Also, Apollo 13 was a big deal because it was the first movie I saw in a new theater nearby, one that I would be my mainstay for the next five years or so. I think it was also first theater in the area to have stadium seating. What was that, '94, '95? I'm pretty sure we ended up sitting up front in the lower section out of habit. The stadium seating was just too much to handle.

Very interesting perspective, Hedwig. I love to hear how the "event" experience is outside of the U.S.

Alexander Coleman said...

Wow, Hedwig, I guess I'm flattered to be pictured as older and wiser. Are you sure I don't just sound older and tangential? :)

Seriously, thanks for the kind words.

Like Daniel, I'm fascinated by the moviegoing experience of people beyond America's borders. Thanks for filling us all in with regards to your experience with Pirates 2.

I just saw No Country for Old Men again last night. What a film. I still remember the experience of seeing it. The suffocating tension of the theatre, most forcefully felt as Moss sits on the bed waiting and watching and listening. I also remember the older lady talking with her husband as we walked down the steps in the theatre. "I guess the message of that film is that the world is going to hell in a handbasket," she gravely noted.

Interesting newer stories, Daniel. Keep them coming. :)

skidoo68 said...

THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK on opening day. I was allowed to cut school.

INDIANA JONES TEMPLE OF DOOM. again i cut school. This was a great screening and I didn't come down off that film all summer.

BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA. i was out of school by now so i drove myself to the first friday showing. one of the best times i've ever had in a theater. i never felt so in sync with a film.

ALIENS. opening night. wow.

BATMAN. i didn't love it but it was exciting to realize it didn't suck.

PULP FICTION. seeing PF in los angeles on friday night made the film that muuch more great.

LORD OF THE RINGS. midnight screening. i was never swept away, but i was sated. my friend hated it. midnight was too late for that kind of film.

I'm waitin for Indy to see if i can get that old magic...

Alexander Coleman said...

Awesome, Christian. Just from threads at H-E, I knew you'd give me some great ones. Thanks for those, really terrific list of event films ya got there.

cjKennedy said...

No Country was an interesting experience for me last year. It opened smack dab in the middle of the AFI film festival and I was totally frazzled by hitting multiple movies each day for a week straight, but I was there Thursday at midnight for the first show.

Well, you don't need me to tell you how it went.

Keep your summer tentpole flicks. That's my kind of event.

christian said...

And I shouldn't leave out SW: THE PHANTOM MENACE. Even tho film turned out to be what it was, it was incredibly exciting to sit in the theater waiting for the first new STAR WARS film since 83. Plus, I even had a girlfriend at the time who was just as excited.

Alexander Coleman said...

Craig, I knew that experience of seeing No Country for Old Men at AFI was quite an event for you. I'm sure you'll never forget it.

Yeah, Christian, no matter what anybody thinks of The Phantom Menace as a movie, people are lying if they say going into it wasn't an event. How great that you had a girlfriend who was truly just as excited as well!

sartre said...

The event films for me in the last year were TWbB with P.T. and a rock concert atmosphere at the Castro. At the same theatre with a full house of ardent fans for Blade Runner – the Final Cut. And as part of a near empty matinee showing of Jesse James at the Emeryville Bay Street Multiplex.

Joshihno said...

Great post idea, Alexander. I heard about this blog from Getafilm, and man you sure have some interesting posts indeed.
I had never thought that deeply about IN THE COMPANY OF MEN before; your post about it gave me lots to chew on, but it's worth mentioning here because I saw it with a friend soon after we both got our first "corporate" jobs, and it led to long discussion(s) about other men we worked with, and ourselves, and what we thought about the issues ... it kind of equally scared and intrigued us, so that feeling definitely qualifies it for me as an important growing experience and film event memory.

Anyway, to the main topic here, off the top of my head (and sorry in advance for the length):

ET - I was 7. Saw it at some brand-new mall cinemegaplex in Upland, CA (or was it Ontario? San Bernardino County for sure).
Remember being totally thrilled throughout it and really swept away by the emotions. Felt that I really "related" to Elliott somehow, even though I was technically too young. Although it didn't make me cry, I think my little sister had the waterworks going (maybe my Mom too?), and I gave her a hard time about it. Not very nice in retrospect. But boy, for years afterwards I thought that was the best movie experience ever hands down.

GANDHI - I was 8. And freaked out. I was pretty much freaked out right at the beginning, when he is shown being assassinated. I remember grabbing onto my Dad in shock and him comforting me. The rest of the movie is then done with flashbacks and other methods (I think), which thoroughly confused me at the time, but what didn't confuse me, was that the movie just seemed so emotional and real to me. Which makes no sense I guess, but it is nevertheless a hugely vivid memory.
First time I can really remember so many adults crying anywhere. Also remember that it was like 3 hours long or something, and it definitely had an intermission (like the Dutch apparently - lol). Some packed theater in L.A. County.

JURASSIC PARK - I can still remember the oohs and aahs both in my head and in the awe-struck seats around me.

1996 - Seeing both THE USUAL SUSPECTS and SE7EN, in English with German subtitles (separate occasions). Was going to the University of Salzburg at the time, and attended both screenings with an eclectic group of Austrians and other Europeans (and one Canadian - no other Americans). Great memories of mental gymnastics in trying to talk about it all together with each other in different languages afterwards. And great, unique, movies too. Don't remember having the Dutch intermissions, BUT, for those and almost all other showings in Salzburg at least (not so much in Vienna), you DID pay more for the sections of seats to sit in as they got closer to the back. So my preferred middle-of-the-house seats were almost always available. And the rooms were smaller anyhow.

TITANIC - Mall of America 14 in Bloomington, MN, a sold-out show on a snowy night -- almost 2 months after it came out!! Man that movie had legs ... does anyone else remember that it was in the theaters forEVER? I was blown away.

ARMAGEDDON - Got/won free opening night tickets to it for a cinema in St. Louis Park, MN. Oversold (is that even legal? fire code?). Surrounding by annoying, yapping "kids", was hopelessly bored and annoyed by the end of the 3 hours.

TRAFFIC - Got/won free opening night tickets to it for the same cinema in St. Louis Park, MN. Oversold. Surrounded by annoying, yapping "kids", was still completely mesmerized and focused by the end of the 3 hours. Remember feeling the different geographies of the film caused by the filters and cinematography which Soberbergh used brilliantly (and before it became ubiquitous and over-used).

THE MATRIX - Eden Prairie, MN mall cineplex. Opening night. Not even sure it was sold out. Wanted to see it again as soon as it was done. Loved thinking about that world for some reason. Now I almost wish they would not have made parts 2 & 3.

RUN LOLA RUN - Hot, gorgeous day in Minneapolis, opening weekend matinée at the Uptown Theater. Unintentionally had way too much caffeine before-hand, and felt like running a marathon myself as we were walking out. Awesome marriage of music and editing combined with simple story-telling. Or maybe that was just the espresso.

MEMENTO - Lagoon Theater, Minneapolis. Hot summer opening night. Not sold out. Had heard about it on NPR and went to see it by myself. Saw it 2 more times with friends later, but that feeling of confusion and realization seeing it alone for the first time is still the best memory somehow.

~~~ TOP 3 ~~~

TOY STORY 2 - With my (adult) siblings and aunt. Had actually intended to go see a different movie in St. Paul, but due to near-blizzard conditions, after a dinner out, we decided to trudge through the snow across the street instead to the local Maplewood, MN mall cinema, and "settled" for TOY STORY 2. Although I was 24 at the time, I can't ever remember having such an ear-to-ear grinning good time at the movies. I was completely stunned. I had not seen the original TOY STORY (yet), but had seen tons of sci-fi and fantasy movies over the years, along with my usual assortment of morose dramas & cynical indies. I just did not expect that such a new technology of presentation could meld so well with brilliant story-telling. I have pretty much adored what I like to call "the original 5" PIXAR movies ever since. And I continue to support and salute wise usage of computer animation and digital graphics as a valuable cinematic tool for the future of all film.

ORIGINAL STAR WARS TRILOGY, back-to-back-to-back (Special Edition versions), March 1997 at the THX certified screen at the Har-MAr Theatre in Roseville, MN. Probably my most fun movie event experience, great day of joy with friends, and as I have posted elsewhere, definitely solidified forever my vote for EMPIRE STRIKES BACK as the best one of all.

My all time winner(spring of 1995 I think?): Oak St Theater, Minneapolis, MN. Seeing both for the first time ever, a sold-out Double feature event of THE DEER HUNTER -- followed by a long enough break for us to have quick dinner at a local U of MN
Italian restaurant -- followed by APOCALYPSE NOW (obviously not yet the Redux version). Whew. That was something else. I was 20 years old, and went with 3 other friends my age; it was quite a bonding experience, and we actually became known as "The Vietnam Crew" to other people for a while. Weird. Anyway it gave us a lot to talk about, and it really opened my mind. But yeah you had to buy the tickets in advance and it was a moving and memorable experience for all involved. Wish I could put it more eloquently now, but I have said enough for this comment anyway --- Thanks for the opportunity!!

Alexander Coleman said...

Thanks for posting, Sartre. Sadly, Blogger doesn't know what's wrong with your password. I'm still seeing what I can do about it.

Joshihno, thanks very much for stopping by and commenting! And wow, what a comment. Lots of great "event movie experiences" you've had, and it's interesting to see the diversity of such experiences in terms of the kinds of films they were. If you have further thoughts on In the Company of Men, I'd love to hear them in that film's thread, as unlike you I just saw it for the first time and am still in rather deep thought about it after the first viewing.

I really love this thread, as it partly gets to the bottom of what we all love about the cinema. It's one of the great bonding experiences, even between strangers, for a short but sometimes wonderful period of time. The movies are great.

Evan Derrick said...

I was wondering where you went, Alexander, until I realized that you had switched your site's name. Did it used to be colemanscornerincinema.blogspot.com before becoming colemancornerincinema.blogspot.com? My RSS feeder wasn't updating, until I saw from Daniel at Getafilm that you were posting regularly.

My all time best film experience was seeing a 70mm print of "Lawrence of Arabia". It wasn't even ruined by a projector breakdown halfway through (it took 20 minutes to fix) or a guy in the front row who kept snoring (I went down and woke him up, twice). What an amazing experience, to see it on the big screen. If you ever, ever have the opportunity, you must take it (if you haven't already).

Alexander Coleman said...

Yes, I hope others have caught on to the name change, Evan. I'm glad to see you made it, aha.

I did indeed see Lawrence of Arabia on the big screen a little earlier this year. Quite the experience. Thanks for that story of yours.

sartre said...

I too have been lucky enough to watch a 70mm print of Lawrence of Arabia. It was breathtakingly good. Saw it at the best movie theatre in New Zealand - Wellington's Embassy.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/49488259@N00/80331745

Alexander Coleman said...

That's terrific, Sartre!

Alison Flynn said...

This is a very old post but I was actually searching your site to see if you had a review of Cave of the Yellow Dog. I just watched it on Sunday and was interested to see what you may have written about it.

There Will Be Blood is the most recent event movie for me. I was compelled to be there the night it opened. It opened the day after Christmas and I left my family to go back to the city so I could see it in one of the only theaters it was playing in there (it opened wider two weeks later but I couldn't wait). I caught a 10-something pm show that ended at almost two in the morning, then went back to my family out of the city the next day. Talk about obsessed. :D

As for Cave of the Yellow Dog: I've always loved A Mongolian Tale but Cave of the Yellow Dog surpasses it I think. It's a sublime piece on Mongolian life, filled with human drama and emotion, and it beautifully juxtaposes the old ways and traditions of the nomads of the steppes with the ever-beckoning modern city life that often threatens the traditional lifestyle. Only at the very end does it come close to hammering that message but it doesn't.

Let me know if you ever review this movie. I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts. If I remember correctly, you're a fierce advocator of this film. :D