Friday, October 17, 2003

Several Movies and a Book

In this week's New Yorker, Roger Angell recalls sneaking off to the movies in the 30s. He would see several movies a week. King Kong. The Marx Brothers. All those TCM movies that I watch for a minute on the way to the E! True Hollywood special. Yeah, sometime I have to watch the whole thing.

My friend, Susan, came over tonight for beers and a video. Robin Williams in One Hour Photo. The guy who develops your film is actually a psycho who is obsessed with your life. Interesting concept, but it doesn't deliver.

Afterwards, we talked about movies that we saw as kids in the 70s. The one movie that all three of us remember clearly is Escape from Witch Mountain. Two kids with special powers travel around the country in a Winnebago. I think there was a cat involved and a magic harmonica. We loved it.

Also all the Kirk Russell movies, like the Strongest Man in the World. I still love the scene of the skinny guy who gets his arms stretched out on the barbells.

But neither Steve, Susan or myself went to the movies all that frequently as kids. The suburbs didn't have a local theater. Nothing like Angell's city movie experience. In my family, it was a real treat to go to the movies. It involved seeing some Disney film that was good for the whole family.

Or something that Dad wanted to see, like All the President's Men. One film that we'll never forgive him for was The Tree of the Wooden Clogs. My parents dragged my brother and sister and myself to see a three hour long Yugoslavian film with subtitles. I think a peasant cut down a tree from the master's property and suffered all sorts of humiliations. I remember spending a lot of time playing with the water fountain in the lobby of the theater.

Movies didn't get good until the multiplex opened on Route 4 in Paramus, NJ. I saw Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Grease. I could probably tell you the seat I sat in for Star Wars.

I'm too tired to think of a neat way to end this sorry essay. Instead, I leave you will someone else's tale of inspiration.

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