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PCR #350  (Vol. 7, No. 49) This edition is for the week of December 4--10, 2006.

The Fabulous Architecture of the Tampa Bay Region, Part One  by Will Moriaty
"Blood Diamond"  by Mike Smith
The Josh Sullivan Art Show  by Nolan B. Canova
On a Personal Note: The Return of Doug Deal  by Nolan B. Canova
Movie Theater Memories  by Andy Lalino
A Rocking Good Time....Theater Memories....It's Awards Time....Yeah I Say That All The Time.... My Favorite Films, Part 49: "Love Actually"  by Mike Smith
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Andy Lalino
Oddservations by Andy Lalino

Movie Theater Memories

I thought it would be fun to make a list of memorable experiences while actually watching movies in the theater. Mind you, this isn't necessarily a list of my favorite films, they're ones in which something either funny or sometimes frightening happened during the movie. Here goes!

The scare-a-minute experience of watching "Poltergeist" in the summer of '82. The audience was popping like Mexican jumping beans. After "Jaws", "Raiders", and "CE3K", we early '80s teens knew Spielberg (and Hooper) could scare us, but nothing could prepare us for this tour-de-force of phantasmagoric horror. A true classic. Theater: Pinellas Mall 3.
"The Spy Who Loved Me" (1977; or was it "Moonraker"?): There was a scene where Bond dove out of an airplane without a parachute. An overweight smartass waddling down the aisle carrying popcorn and Coke was screaming: "Ahhhhh! I'm falling! Ahhhh!". He cracked all us kids up! Theater: Gateway Mall Cinemas.
"10" (1980). My older cousin Steve took my brother and I to see this (I was 13, Doug was 11) without our parent's permission. Need I say more? I was the hero of 7th grade. Theater: Gateway Mall Cinemas.
"Angel" (1985). Remember this movie about a high school prostitute? The film broke halfway through the movie and the theater owner gave everyone their $$$ back! Theater: Plaza Twin in St. Pete.
"Return of the Living Dead" (1985). In '85 I worked at Crossroads Movie Theaters (the two-theater version, not the eight-theater), and a bunch of us played ROTLD the Thursday night before it officially opened. An experience so awesome as to part the Red Sea.
"National Lampoon's Vacation" (1983). We saw a Saturday matinee, and the theater was jam-packed. People were actually sitting in the aisles! Some goof burst through the doors running into the aisles and fell down upon a bunch of people. Everyone was screaming. It was chaos! Theater: Tyrone Square 6 (which still exists!!!)
"Flash Gordon" (1980). Saw this at a 7pm show. We were the only ones in there aside from two guys who were sitting toward the front. They actually lit up a joint and started smoking it in the theater!!! Theater: Gateway Cinemas.
"Titanic" (1996?). Who cares about the movie. It's just this was my very last time at a drive-in. They closed the 28th Street drive-in shortly after - "Titanic" played.
"The Blair Witch Project"/"The Sixth Sense" (1999). My wife and I paid for "The Sixth Sense" and snuck into the BWP for free! Mike Smith never caught us!
"Demons" (1985): Nothing can describe the feeling of seeing Lamberto Bava's classic horror film in an actual theater (where most of the terror-filled action takes place). An amazing, incredible, life-altering experience.
"Rocky Horror": Everyone needs to experience it.
"Devil in the Flesh" (1989): This was an Italian art film released to legitimate theaters that had an actual pornographic sex scene in it! When I saw it, the theater was packed! It featured a fellatio scene with the lead actress doing her thing to a one-eyed snake. The actress (Katia Caballero) was naked throughout most of it. Great stuff!
"Return of the Jedi" (1983): The scene where Darth throws the Emperor into the abyss - everyone in the theater stood up and cheered. It was like an orgasm. That was the moment all the Star Wars fans waited 6 years for, and it delivered. Theater: Pinellas Mall 3
"Orca" (1978): I had not seen "Jaws" at this point (and for good reason), and it scared me shitless. I had a fear of big things that swim underwater (thanks to that damn whale in Disney's "Pinocchio") and "Orca" was not easy for an 11 year-old to take, esp. the "birth" scene!
"Dawn of the Dead" (1979/1983). Saw this in '83 at a midnight showing...for the first time!!! It was the ultimate. Remember the zombie who got his head chopped off by the helicopter blades? Well, this loud black guy shouted "Frankenstein!!!" at him - it made the entire theater - and yours truly - roar with laughter.
"8 Films To Die For" (Horrorfest) (2006). Not so much the movies, but during the pre-feature ads they featured a promo for a video game. I can't recall the title of the game, but the music they used was a morbidly slow version of Tears for Fears' "Mad World". To my utter amazement, everyone in the theater began to sing along to it. I took a look around and noted they were mostly young kids. I was taken aback that this new generation even knew the song, let alone sing along to it in worshipful tones. I was suitably moved.
"The Krays" (1990). Again, not so much the movie (which was great), but the fact that many in the audience were New Wavers, many of whom were talking about Spandau Ballet. Mind you two Spandau members, Gary and Martin Kemp, portrayed the murderous Kray brothers in the film.
"Blood Feast 2: All U Can Eat" (2002): Saw this at the Enzian in O-town with HGL in attendance - and it was his birthday! We all got a piece of blood-red cake in his honor.
"Pieces"/"Revenge of the Dead"/"Morturary"/"7 Doors of Death"/"Mausoleum" ('83/'84): I feel so privileged to have had the opportunity to see such creative, gory, outrageous cult films at the movies (well, except maybe for "Revenge of the Dead") as God smiled upon us for a short time.

...and of course...

"Star Wars" (1977). What kid back then didn't stare in jaw-gaped wonder at the Star Destroyer zooming by overhead?

Plus, to all those great midnight movies, teenage sex comedies, and drive-in movies I've had the honor of seeing during my teen/early adult years...I raise a glass to them all.

"Oddservations" is ©2006 by Andy Lalino.  The Oddservations banner is a creation of Andy Lalino. All other graphics are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2006 by Nolan B. Canova.