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Monday, August 28, 2017

LOGAN LUCKY


I hate giving bad reviews, and really wanted to like this one because I like these actors and this director a lot, and am even a huge fan of 'Raising Arizona' and 'Talladega Nights' (the previews made me think that my affection for those other films would ensure that I would like this comedy). 

Alas, I did not.

I can't even remember enough about it to tell you why.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

RETHINKING CASABLANCA


OK, OK...I take back anything I may or may not have said that may or may not have sounded negative about Casablanca! It's not that I hated it, or even disliked it, really...I just have always thought that it was a little overrated, especially for the way that it's generally put in the league with the big classics like Citizan Kane, etc. 

I mean, I know all about it. I know that famed director Michael Curtiz won the Best Director Oscar for it, and I know all of the lines that have become a part of our American lexicon. As a rule, I wholeheartedly agree with the consensus of AFI, or other such organizations that consider it to be in the Top Ten of films appreciated for excellence in cinematic achievement., but I just never thought it was really all that.

Until tonight.

I actually just went to see this evening it because it's the only vintage classic that they're showing this year at the Fox Theatre Coca-Cola Summer FILM Festival (a travesty, but I digress)...and, well, I repent for not appreciating it like I should have, because it's awesome.

I won't review the film itself, because I don't need to, but I will review the evening. It was just a wonderful experience seeing it on the big screen, and with an audience that knows it well, and really loves it and gets it. I've grown so accustomed to seeing dumbed-down modern flicks with dumbed-down modern audiences that it was a pleasant surprise to be a part of a crowd that got the wit and the humor, and laughed in all the right places, and didn't talk over the lines, and generally showed their appreciation by their appropriate response and reaction to all of it. 

An added pleasure was seeing it at the Fox itself...not just because it's my favorite theatre, but in particular because of the Moroccan architecture and motif. Rick's cafe and the external shots of Casablanca looked like an extension of where we were sitting. It was a heady experience. 

I loved, loved, loved every single frame of it, and I'm so glad that I went a got a paradigm shift!

Here's looking at you, Casablanca!




Helen Hedrick Griffin You are a writer also. I'm going to come see you soon on Ponce my important friend

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Chuck Longino Bish, Ingrid Bergman is the classic screen equivalent to Suzanne Pleshette for me. Big time crush. First time I saw the movie was "Academy Award Theatre", Sunday morning on TBS. Glad you enjoyed it and I'm jealous as heyull that you saw it at the Fox.

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Jim Swilley We saw a few things there together over the years...hope you had a great birthday!

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Chuck Longino Thanks bro

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Deb Perkins Muehlstein Glad you you saw the light... Ha... Ha... I've always enjoyed the movie... when you said what you did before... I actually went back & watched it again... I take your movie reviews seriously... glad we can now agree on this one... 😊❤️

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Jim Swilley ❤️

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Michelle Reyna I was there too! I agree with everything about this post. It was such a different way of seeing it and I largely have the audience to thank for it. Being surrounded by the fans made it such a cool experience.

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Jim Swilley Yeah, it was great

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MOVIE MEMORIES


Last week I took my kids to see a movie at the iconic Plaza Atlanta theatre (opened in 1939), and as we were sitting there in the dark, waiting for the show to start, I started thinking about my history with the place, and about how so many of my childhood memories are connected to the movies...

I remember my cousin, Harolene Mushegan Leguizamon, taking me and some of my other cousins to see both 'Swiss Family Robinson' and 'One Hundred and One Dalmatians' there, and how much fun that was for all of us...both flicks must have been in a second run (as Disney used to do back then), since they came out in 1960 and 1961, respectively, and I would have been too young to remember that far back...but it was definitely in the early 60's, and both occasions are great childhood memories for me...in the 70's The Plaza became a porn theatre for a few years, and I used to stand in front of it and preach on the sidewalk to get some of the patrons "saved"...(it was a different time, and that's a different story)...

I've often said that the first movie I really remember seeing at a theatre (our denomination frowned on going to the cinema, so we very rarely went, and only then if we were out of town so that church members couldn't see us) was the The Sound Of Music... but that can't be right, because it came out in '65, and I have vague memories of being in a back seat of a car at a drive-in with my parents, who were watching It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), and I would have been 4 or 5 years old then...but the Sound of Music was definitely my first experience at The Fox Theatre, and it made a huge impression on me, and really officially started my love for movies on the big screen that remains to this day...

One of my most favorite movie memories was with my other cousin, Janet Mushegan Watson, who is 3 years older than me...she and I were both major fans of the TV show Dark Shadows, and in 1970 the producers of that show made a movie called House of Dark Shadows that we REALLY wanted to see...and (amazingly) our moms let us go see it by ourselves! I would have been 12 then, and she would have been 15, so neither of us drove, and both of our moms were super protective, and the movie was pretty edgy to say the least, so I/we couldn't believe that they actually let us go see it...but sure enough I remember my Aunt Myrtle driving us to the theatre that used to be at Ansley Mall way back in the day (where Kroger is now), and dropping us off...the movie was terrifying and we loved it, and I don't think I had ever felt that grown up before...going to the movies without adult supervision, especially one that was that mature...well, that was huge...

Another great memory that I have was also from around that time... Gone with the Wind, which I had never seen, was in a re-release at the famed 'Leow's Grand Theatre' in '70 or '71 where it had actually premiered in 1939...my dad and I went to a matinee there and saw it, and that memory is a special Atlanta one for me because I was able to see the famous film in its theatre of origin, and because that theatre burned in 1978 and is there no more...my dad and I always had very different taste in movies, but we both liked movies about the war in Viet Nam (probably for different reasons), so we saw quite a few of those together over the years...

Then I have lots of shared movie memories with my friend Howard Blount...we weren't "allowed" to go to the movies at our Christian college, but somehow that never stopped us from seeing lots of things between the years 1976 and 1980...Grease, 'The Wiz', and many, many horror movies that shall remain nameless...even now when we go visit Howie at his cabin in the mountains, he always brings a big box of classic flicks, and we spend all of our indoor time devouring as many movies as we can...it's one of my favorite things to do...

To be continued...

Howard Blount Just beautiful memories . . . . God bless Grove Park Cinema after midnight!
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July 8 at 4:05pm
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Jim Swilley Yessir!
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July 8 at 4:12pm
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Frances Martin Wow..I rarely hear anyone say anything about Dark Shadows. I loved it as a kid.
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July 8 at 4:08pm
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Jim Swilley Every day at 4...never missed it...
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July 8 at 4:15pm
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Frances Martin Me too. There was something about it being dark. You know!
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July 8 at 7:48pm
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Lynette Platt Royal First movie I every saw was at the Brookhaven Theater on Peachtree Rd in Brookhaven (long gone), it was "The Greatest Show on Earth". Turned me into a movie lover for life.
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July 8 at 4:23pm
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Jim Swilley 😊👍🏼
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Harolene Mushegan Leguizamon How well I remember doing that with you and Janet Mushegan Watson wonderful old memories of days gone by. Whenever I listen to "The Way We Were" it is often those very memories that boil to the surface. I have "Sound" and GWTW" and watch them, alone, often. "Mem'ries light the corners of my mind, misty watercolor mem'ries of the way we were"  Thanks for the "mem'ries"
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July 8 at 5:16pmEdited
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Jim Swilley 😀👍🏼❤️
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Janet Mushegan Watson Dark Shadows! As I remember we both (maybe that was just me) spent a lot of that movie with my eyes closed! (As an aside...why were they willing to let us go to that movie--why did they want us out of the way? 🤔)
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July 9 at 10:47pm
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Jim Swilley I still can't believe they let us go, but I swear it's one of my best memories!
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July 9 at 11:24pm
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Harolene Mushegan Leguizamon Because THAT was convenient 😂
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July 10 at 7:51am