Despite my ongoing love-hate relationship with this town (where “love” means “feel indifferent”), I will confess that this is a great town for movie lovers, even if you’re not interested in making movies but just enjoy watching them. The studios and the major film archives are right here, so rare or recently restored prints are common. Studios unveil works in progress or otherwise-unreleased films on a regular basis. There are tons of theaters dedicated to showing films for film lovers and not just the latest blockbuster.
Case(s) in point: on Tuesday night I took in the nerdtacular double feature of Tron and The Last Starfighter at the New Beverly, a single-screen theater that doesn’t seem like it’s changed much since those movies were in their first runs. It was great fun, laughing at the ridiculously cheesy parts of those films (“Greetings, programs!”) while reliving some of the excitement we felt when we first watched them. (Unsurprisingly, the male-to-female ratio at this screening was unbelievably high.) Then last night we ventured to the Aero for a sold-out screening of Hotel Chevalier and The Darjeeling Limitedfollowed by a chat with Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola, and Wally Wolodarsky. There have been two advance screenings of Control, the Ian Curtis biopic, in the last week. Earlier this year we saw Brand Upon the Brain, Guy Madden’s latest film, accompanied by a live orchestra and live foley artists. These kinds of things are so rare in SF, and yet down here screenings of rare prints, in-person appearances, and other activities for film lovers are rather commonplace.
One of the things I’ve really missed about San Francisco lately is the proliferation of used bookstores. Though I am generally anti-acquisition (I must tame the clutter beast!) I really enjoyed browsing at Dog-Eared/Phoenix and the mecca, Green Apple, when I was looking for something new to read. Down here we’re walking distance to a few new bookstores (one indie, one chain) but I was looking for a used bookstore so I could replace my falling-apart 1964 Scribner edition of A Moveable Feast. Buying the book new was unfathomable: my well-loved copy had been pressed into my hands by my best friend Laura at a Half Price Books in Dallas 12 years ago (this date I know because the sales receipt is still tucked into its pages). I was looking for something that would have the same feeling of history and serendipity and definitely lacked the New Book Smell. But as I looked around I realized that L.A. is decidedly weak when it comes to used bookstores. Most of the used bookstores listed in various directories are antiquarian and collectors’ bookshops, which are not at all my speed.
But today I agreed to accompany D to the wilds of Burbank to check out Book Castle’s Movie World in search of movie press kits for use in a multimedia presentation. Though we struck out thoroughly on our stated mission, Book Castle was the find of the day. Continue reading
“You know, it’s totally false drama to show the bad cop deleting the undercover good cop’s record.”
“Why, because there’s always a techie somewhere who can recover the data?”
“Not even that. It’s just that any organization worth its salt will have tape backups stored offsite with at least a month’s worth of data. People are idiots, they accidentally delete important files all the time.”
“OK, then. If you and I ever write a screenplay we’re going to show the guy calling IT and asking to have all the backups deleted.”
“Now that’s good cinema.”
I found out about this movie from friends in San Francisco who were upset that it wasn’t being released in their city. So of course I had to go see it; here was something you could do in LA that you couldn’t do in SF! Idiocracy is pretty funny, especially when you realize how adeptly it dishes up the very potty humor and lowbrow entertainment that it is simultaneously skewering. But what was so offensive that Fox decided not to back the movie’s release? Someonegreenlighted the project, so why not try to recover some money from it after it’s been made? Or could it be the limited release was a way to garner attention and build up demand for a film that would otherwise float under the radar?