Summer Movies always have a way of finding us, Patrollers! It's hard to believe that this November, yours truly, the Toddster, has been writing this little column for eight years, and one old addage in show business always seems to come back again and again, "The Show Must Go On." That being said, there have been a lot of writers who've come and gone over the years. I've managed to do a lot of team-ups with all of them. I decided to bring one team-up idea back since we have some new writers. I asked them to come up with a Summer Movie Experience that is special, or one that they remember. I even decided to throw in a brand new experience of my own (but more on that later). What movies did the team come up with?
“Into the Wild”
I don’t really have a favorite summer movie experience per se, but I do remember a movie that came out near the end of summer in 2007 - and when I say end of summer, I’m pretty sure it was technically the last day of the season, September 21.
It’s not all that interesting a story whatsoever, yet it remains one of my favorite movies, I suppose. A friend and I went to see “Into the Wild,” and we enjoyed it. That’s pretty much the gist of it.
The movie is semi-based on the true story of Christopher McCandless, who chose to abandon his possessions, donate his savings to charity, and make his way to Alaska to live in the wilderness. Emile Hirsch plays McCandless, and does a pretty great job. Viewers do have to take it with a grain of salt, however, as the screenplay written by Sean Penn isn’t the exact account of McCandless’ life.
After watching the film, I read a book based on the film, and a couple others on the journey of McCandless. It’s pretty interesting stuff.
The soundtrack was composed by Eddie Vedder – of Pearl Jam fame – and has been played in my car on a number of journeys of my own.
The bus - sometimes referred to as The Magic Bus - is still up in Alaska on the stampede trail and folks venture out to check it out. Unfortunately, there have been people who have perished while attempting to reach it, but many have made it successfully. Perhaps I’ll add that to my “bucket list” if I ever get around to making one.
At any rate, I enjoyed the movie – and McCandless’ story in general – and it sparked some things within that few films have ... and that’s something I can appreciate.
And if nothing else, there’s certainly nothing wrong with getting lost in the woods for a while.
“Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”
My favorite summer movie experience was the time I saw “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” back in 2004. It was a great film, mostly due to the fact that my expectations were so low. I had always been a huge fan of the books and was swept up in the fantasy of them. I remember staying up late as a kid, flashlight in hand as I flipped through page after page of the Hogwarts experience. I even distinctly remember thinking, “I’m not quite 13, maybe my owl-borne invitation to attend a school with a magically orientated curriculum is still on its way.”
Big surprise, patrollers, it never came.
I remember well the day I attended the cinema to see “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.” It was a day on the other side of warm. A day when the air was so sticky and dense with humidity it had the kind of weight which fights back when you try to walk through it. I took refuge that day in the blessedly air conditioned theater with little hopes of seeing a worthwhile movie. However, I was completely caught off guard when the movie actually turned out to be good. As it were, a change of directors had done the franchise wonders. Unfortunately, it also helped make sure the fourth instillment – my favorite of the books – was an even bigger disappointment for me than the first two movies were.
I think almost everyone has a fond summertime movie experience that stands out, whether it’s one as a child seeing the latest Walt Disney film on the silver screen, or one that recounts a cool summer night as a teenager at the drive-in, with their first jalopy and a hot date.
Personally, my wife and I aren’t big moviegoers. Forking over $23 for two movie admissions and small popcorn just isn’t appealing to a married couple living on a tight budget. But even a theater sourpuss like myself has a fond memory of the movies that I like to hang on to.
When I was a teenager, my brother and I – joined by a few friends – took a brief road trip to the New Hartford shopping center to see “Bean,” a movie based on the British comedy television series, “Mr. Bean.” In my mind, Rowan Atkinson is the embodiment of a childrens’ cartoon; so to see him in a 90-minute feature film is a dream come true (though just shy of the experience of seeing a real coyote chase a road runner through the Arizona desert).
With so many past memories of going to the movies, what makes this particular one so memorable, you ask? We were the only ones in the theater. Apparently, not too many people share a similar appreciation for British comedians, which couldn’t work out better for those who enjoy laughing like idiots at a googly-eyed British guy who gets his head stuck in an uncooked turkey.
Admittedly, it’s not quite as fond a memory as date night at the drive in, but I like to think it’s a close second.
"Star Trek Into Darkness"
I previously told you that I've been doing this column for a long time and I have so many experiences that I could write a book on it. I decided to write about a new experience that happened over this past weekend. Some time ago, I had the privilege to meet Rich and Todd Barnes, who have bought the Colonia Theater and these guys have been working their hardest to see that the theater is restored the way it was years ago, and are still hard at work making some new improvements. They continue to make them with a new air conditioning system that's in the process of being put in, restoring the old ticket office at the entrance, and bringing back the balcony that is being worked on now. They have been really good to me and that was evident when I got to see the latest installment in the newly restored Star Trek franchise.
"Star Trek: Into Darkness" has Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine), Mr. Spock (Zachary Quinto), and the rest of the crew of the Starship Enterprise start out by trying to save a planet from being destroyed. Spock is caught in the heart of a volcano and the only way to save him is for Kirk to violate the Prime Directive, where Starfleet is not to interfere in the affairs of worlds that are still developing into societies. Kirk makes the decision to reveal their presence there to save their friend. This ends up costing Kirk the Captains' Chair and possibly the friendship of Spock. Admiral Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood) saw something in Kirk when he got him to join Starfleet and still sees his potential.
A new threat has come to threaten the Earth in the form of John Harrison (Bendict Cumberbatch). Harrison makes himself known when he blows up a facility in London and comes to San Francisco to assassinate the heads of Starfleet, which results in the death of Pike. Kirk asks for his command back so he can go after Harrison and bring him to justice. What are Harrison's real plans for the Federation and will Kirk and his crew be able to stop him before it's too late?
After the movie, I had a chance to speak with Rich Barnes and he told me that there are a lot of upcoming movies, including "Epic," that will be featured in 35MM and later 3D. The Colonia will be having both formats because not everyone can watch 3D. There are also promotions coming up with a lot of movies, such as the new "Man of Steel.” If you have any questions about movies on the way or any other requests, call 334-2135 or go to www.coloniatheatre.com for more information.