Digital Polyphony

film, games, memories & random thoughts


Blog: Cemetery Screenings

Posted on July 19, 2012 at 8:50 AM

This week, I'm taking a break from the standard schedule and doing something I haven't done in a while: Quick Blogs and thoughts on certain things that have been in the back of my mind. Here we go I guess...

Cemetery Screenings

Between the Hollywood Forever Cemetery and Cinespia, the Silent Movie Theater and Cinefamily, the Egyptian, The Eat See Hear outdoor events, The New Beverly Cinema and the up-and-coming Downtown LA Drive-In, film fans are never at a loss for things to do in Los Angeles. Hell, that's just a few that do it regularly, lest we not forget the special events at a Hammer Museum or LACMA and so forth. There's no other place like it, but when you're in the middle of Hollywood it's not all that surprising. All of these places show classic films, new films, rare films, bad films, good films...everything a film fan could want and probably a lot more (and these are just the big ones, I won't even get into the all the small art house theaters everywhere). These places often have special events, guests, Q and A and all sorts of things that if you blink, you'll probably miss. 

And it's not just a "special event" on a weekend, these things are happening nearly every night. It's hard to keep track of what great movies are screening where, who the special guests might be, how interactive it will be and so forth. Some are huge weekly events, like the one I'll get to shortly, and others small like going to a screening of Buckaroo Bonzai that Edgar Wright hosted which I did not too long ago.


But I wanted to write quickly about one I went to a week or so ago: a screening of Labyrinth at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. I have to tell you, there's not much of a better experience than seeing a movie under the stars on a warm night with thousands of other people on a huge open lawn that laugh, sing and are there having a great time as well. Some of them likely drunk. There's something that felt very "community" oriented with it all. Everyone there is a fan of the movie, everyone knows the lyrics to the song and laugh at David Bowie's prominent bulge, everyone is pretty much just like you and, in a way, it was all more of a celebration of just being film fans than simply going to a screening of an old movie with Muppets and 80s songs.


Usually I'm a prude when it comes to seeing movies with other people. I hate going to the movie theater, for example, because I want to watch the movie and between the phones, the talking, the eating, the heavy-breathing, it's never something I'm looking forward to. But this was something far different and a lot more fun. True, the fact that I and everyone else there had seen the movie dozens of time already helped, but this was one of the few times where a person yelling out a funny line, everyone singing along with Bowie and getting up and walking around felt natural.

It's also something that's very, very "LA" as many of these screenings at these places and theaters are. They play cult movies, nostalgic movies, important movies and classics because they know the LA audience will be in to it and will come out for it. They're involved, a part of the LA world and the people and something like the Hollywood Forever Cemetery is an experience every LA film fan has to do. I know many other cities have their film culture, but this town was built on it and as a film fan, it's literally heaven.

This week they're screening Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the awesome remake (showing that remakes can be awesome) and the week after their screening The Big Lebowski with Elijah Wood in attendance (if you haven't been watching Wilfred, shame on you. He's great on it). Quentin Tarantino's New Beverly is having a series showing original 35mm pristine prints of great films including three of my favorites: Death Wish, McCabe & Mrs Miller and The Getaway. Eat/See/Hear, which is less about the movies and more about film fans just coming together, is doing The Princess Bride. Cinefamily is doing Pee-Wee and Point Break and The Egyptian with Captain Blood and a Spaghetti Western series that looks like it should be it's own festival, including The Good the Bad and the Ugly, Death Rides a Horse and The Hills Run Red. -- and all that just for the rest of July and, best of all about every one of these screenings, all cheap. Tickets ranging from 8 to about 12 bucks on the "high end" (12 usually for a double feature).

The New Beverly Cinema (or "newbev") doesn't look like much...but that's kind of the point.

And that's just screenings/showings of stuff. Let's not forget there are also a ton of "conversations with" and so forth all the time too, like this one with JJ Abrams and Michael Giacchino at the Hammer Museum and so on.

So what's a film fan to do? You can't go to all that and be everywhere at once. It's difficult to keep track of what's happening much less plan to go to all of it. Hell, when the TCM festival was happening a month or so ago, they had Spaceballs and Chinatown showing at the same time with Mel Brooks and Robert Evans/Towne in attendance respectively. How do you make a decision like that? I

Well, you can't. You can just be happy that you're a film fan and that you live in a place where you're foced to make decisions like that. But each summer, Cinespia always puts up a great lineup for movie watching at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. It's one of those where you arrive early, hangout in line for a few hours, then just sit and relax under the always-comfortable LA night sky. If you live in LA and love films, you probably have done it at some point. If you don't live in LA and are visiting over the summer, look it up. Google any of the things I've mentioned and it'll be your first result. Watching movies in new and exciting ways, beyond just "3D' or "imax" is a wonderful experience.


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