seeing this today…

I’ve really been looking forward to seeing this film. Today at 4:00, I will finally get a chance to. It’s playing at Regal’s Savannah 10, usually the only place to actually screen arthouse movies here although Carmike’s Wynnsong 11 *is* playing Brokeback Mountain. That’s a rare occurrence, as Wynnsong hardly ever plays anything remotely resembling an indie/arthouse film.

There are ALOT of good movies out now that I want to see: Tristan & Isolde, Walk The Line, Munich, Underworld: Evolution, and Casanova. I sincerely hope that we get Woody Allen’s new film Match Point very soon and by that I mean I hope it gets alot of Oscar nominations on January 31st. If it doesn’t it won’t expand past its current theater count and that would suck. I also hope New Line Cinema continues to roll out Terrence Malick’s The New World as I’ve been anxious to see that for many months now. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – someone really needs to get off their ass and open an arthouse theater in Savannah! It really pisses me off to only get artistic films here in short bursts and if one doesn’t leap like a gazelle to the theater in time, the films are pulled to make room for some lame teen comedy or overblown kiddie film to take up 3,000 screens. Was anyone really clamoring loudly for Big Momma’s House 2?. Carmike 10 on Stephenson Avenue started to back in the early/mid ’90s – they designated one of their screens as “The Screening Room” and always booked arthouse films. I remember seeing their newspaper listing for Trainspotting back in 1996. But after they rebuilt their theaters with stadium seating in late 1998, “The Screening Room” vanished.

But I digress.

Let’s look at The Coligny Theater in neighboring Hilton Head, SC. The last week or two they played Michaelangelo Antonioni’s long-lost film, The Passenger. This purported ’70s gem stars Jack Nicholson and Maria Schneider, when she was fresh off of the controversial Bertolucci film Last Tango In Paris. They’re now showing Rodrigo Garcia’s follow-up to his films Things You Can Tell Just By Looking At Her and Ten Tiny Love Stories, Nine Stories. Nine Stories has garnered considerable critical acclaim, landing a spot on Roger Ebert’s Top Ten Films of 2005 list.

THIS is what we need in Savannah, DAMMIT! I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired! Someone with considerable bank needs to put the wheels in motion and get something going! People need to stop getting scared and/or kowtowing to the stranglehold SCAD (that’s Savannah College of Art and Design, for those not in the know; they own all of downtown practically…old theaters, buildings, etc.) has on anything creative in the Historic District. They’re not going to open one, as that would infringe on their overhyped and far-too-exclusive Film Festival they hold every year.

As much as I’d love to see something like this on the Southside of Savannah, it’d never fly. There’s a Media Play store that’s operated in that area since 1995 and is soon closing (as are all Media Play stores). It’d be very cool to see a several screen arthouse theater open, complete with a cafe and/or small restaurant. But the sad reality is quite sobering: the cretins and slack-jawed imbeciles that comprise the surrounding area would never frequent said establishment, as their tastes are far too low on the Darwinian scale to ever want to sit through Francois Ozon’s latest film, never enjoy a retrospective of the brilliant and before its time 1968 Malcolm McDowell thriller …if. These people would much rather let the numbing opiate of a Rob Schneider film deaden their minds and it’s a sad statement, a rather alarming reminder of how far we’ve fallen. When more people vote in the glorified karaoke contest that is American Idol than those that vote in a presidential election, you know the minutiae of vapid conformity has finally won over intelligent articulation and thought-provoking art.

Only if this theatre was placed downtown would it cull favor with its intended audience, that is if SCAD didn’t try to close it. Some can laugh and wonder why a college would want to do that. I’ve already made my case as to why. It’s depressing beyond the telling of it. There’s a very palpable hunger for something of this nature and if someone would step up to the plate and feed it, they’d get accolades from the entire community. I see a demand to be met here and NO ONE HAS ANY GODDAMN SENSE to do anything about it. I don’t give a flying fuck if it’s a little two-screen affair in a closet with little to no ambience – as long as it can bring this city the independent films it so richly deserves on a regular basis and keep me and the rest of its audience sated, I’ll be fine. And yes, Virginia, I guarantee this enterprise would make money.

It appears until someone wakes the hell up and realizes the potential gold mine they’re sitting on, we’ll be stuck with one-offs at our local multiplex. I’m glad Regal is trying but it seems that we never get a consistent batch of arthouse titles unless it’s Oscar season. I sincerely hope that changes soon.

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