Hey everyone! Another great guest post for you!
This time up, it’s Le0pard13 of “It Rains… You Get Wet”!
Le0pard runs a great series over at his blog where he recalls the first time he saw famous films, including what theatre he went to, and his initial impressions of the movie. I found these posts to be a fascinating read, and asked if he would mind sharing them here…
Lets take a look at a couple of my favorite flicks, as Le0pard takes us back to their theatrical runs!
This is an entry in a Theatre… a Movie… and a Time series that was begun here. This one covers a sci-fi film, one that celebrates its three decade anniversary this year, and one that is praised almost universally now. However, it split many film critics and the director’s own fans from the moment of its theatrical release.
“Sushi. That’s what my ex-wife called me – cold fish.” ~ Rick Deckard’s orphaned quote from the theatrical cut of the film
June 25, 1982: Director Ridley Scott blew away so many with his exceptional sci-fi horror motion picture, Alien, back in 1979 (me included by way of my own experience with the film). So, there was no way my friends at work and I were going to missed his next feature. As well, its movie trailer had all of us film followers at the job more than intrigued. A half dozen of us planned to leave right after work that same Friday of Blade Runner‘s release. We picked the Hollywood Theatre because it was one of the few showing the picture in 70mm for all its wide screen beauty and high-tech sound, along with the fact that it was fairly close to work and not too distant from where we all lived at the time.
A few of us had seen some of the movie reviews offered by critics that day in local newspapers. Of the ones I read, all were bad. Sheila Benson, then working at the L.A. Times, called it “Blade Crawler“. I’ll never forget that review title. We arrived for the evening screening — somewhere between 5 and 6 PM. For a big movie release, the movie hall was surprisingly sparsely attended. I don’t think it was a third full for that showing. Afterwards, out of the six of us, four disliked the film — two of them put it the despised category. Another girl and I liked (not loved) its film noirish quality, but we both felt the trailer and the film’s promotion (along with our memories of Alien) set up an expectation this theatrical cut just couldn’t meet.
The many re-cut versions of Blade Runner would go on to resuscitate the film, but that took years. Ridley’s initial release of this film divided this faction of movie-goers… big time. As a group, we never went to another film together thereafter.
“Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go home and have a heart attack.”
The Marina Del Rey Six:
October 22, 1994: a year before children would enter the life my wife and I had to that point, the film Pulp Fiction arrived. I’d read or seen a number of positive reviews for the film at the time of its release, in print and on television. My younger brother (who was nicknamed the ‘mountain lion’ by me because he’s rarely seen in this habitat, though we know he exists) was hanging out with us for a short period back then. On this Saturday, I asked him to join me on one more segue to another film in what is a long line of them. My wife did not enlist for this excursion as by this time, more than five years into our marriage, she knew all too well that my taste in cinema was not hers. What can I say? I married a smart woman. The old standby of the Marina Del Rey Six beckoned (the same place where I first saw Aliens).
A long time back, my brother and I would go to movies together as kids fairly regularly (you see, being a year and eight months older sometimes bought me chaperone duty from time-to-time). Still, it was great to come together for this as such ventures became a rare event for us once we reached our teens. As my mother’s only surviving sons, we weren’t raised like brothers — we were more or less brought up like cousins (since we were in two different households for a good part of our lives growing up). Still, going to a movie theater as we once had made for a distinctly pleasant memory. No surprise that this compact venue was crammed with movie-goers on the film’s second weekend of release. And we were lucky to get two seats by the aisle (somewhat in the middle) in the largest movie hall at this small multiplex.
Here’s the confession… I hated this film when I first saw it. A visceral dislike pretty much describes my reaction (my brother enjoyed it way better than I, btw). There, I said it. The fact that I did a complete 180° on this was in no small part that I couldn’t get the film out of my head for weeks afterwards. Finally, when the first VHS of the film hit the market almost a year later, I snapped it up and began the first of many re-screenings. Once, I even flowcharted its sequences to see how they worked in real-time (as opposed to its now famous non-linear structure). To me it’s still one of the best films of the 90s. Personal trivia: by the time we got to 00s, I once had to produce a small web tutorial on the Pico text editor at work. I used a portion of Pulp Fiction‘s own dialogue — some of the most quotable and profane interchanges around — to show the editor on the web page. Naturally, I had to clean it up a bit ;-). [recreated below]
The entire TMT series can be found here.
I want to give a big thanks to Le0pard13 for allowing me to share these posts with you, and for all the support he’s given FMR. You can visit his blog – “It Rains… You Get Wet” here! I look forward to seeing lots of good stuff to come!