San Diego Classic Film Calendar

Monday, September 22, 2014

When Life Takes Away M, You Make Your Friends Watch The Women

Last night I was going to watch Fritz Lang's M on the big screen. This is a film that has been on my classic film bucket list since a couple of decades before I even knew the term, bucket list. I first became aware of it in a Hitchcock class back in college in the 80s, but it was one of those things where you learn about it, and think, that sounds really good.  The problem is that whenever you think about it, you have no way of acting on it. So when I found out it was playing in the theater, I finally had a chance to do something about it.

I contacted my friend, Didi, to see if he wanted to go. Of all my friends I hang out with in real life, Didi is the one whom I consider even more of a film geek than me. I think I have a better background in classic film, but he has a way better background in film as a whole, foreign film, Asian film, modern film, you name it. He's seen about everything.

Next I posted a message about M on Facebook to see if I got any takers. I knew my wife, Mary, would not be up for it, and while I have been taking my 14-year-old daughter to see a lot of old movies lately, I don't want to throw something at her that she might hate, and then not want to go see old movies anymore. The only taker I got was Max. She is a friend from Comic-Con who I only recently found out is into old movies.

Anyway, M was playing at the Arclight, La Jolla, one of those fancy movie theaters that have recently appeared in Southern California, that has reserved seats, a cafe with something resembling real food, and a bar. Didi and I were having a beer while we waited for Max, mostly because I think if you get a chance to have a beer in a movie theater, you should take it. Anyway, we go into theater, find our seats, and after a minute or two, someone comes out and announces that they are going to have to cancel the movie. There is some sort of calibration they had to do on the film and the equipment that should've been done the night before, but it didn't happen, so they were rescheduling for later in the week.

Thus we end up back at the bar for another beer, talking about movies and beer and movies and chicken and waffles and movies, noticing a trend here? Anyway, I ended up mentioning TCM Film Festival And how I had seen 16 movies in four days. I ended up going through the movies I had seen, and when I got to late Saturday and The Women at the El Capitan, Didi said, "I've never seen, The Women."

Max chimed in, "Me, neither."

"Oh my God, I can't believe you guys have never seen, The Women. We need to go pick up some food, go back to my house and watch it." And I proceed to regail them with how great a movie it is. Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, What's Her Name from His Girl Friday (actually, couldn't remember Rosalind Russell's name), Marjorie Main, .... I pushed The Women so hard that both of them were worried. If this movie isn't great, we're gonna be pissed. You know how sometimes when you talk too much, you start having doubts, even though, you know you're right. Well, there I was.

We ended up picking up carne asada and rolled tacos at a taco shop about four blocks from my house. I popped in the Blu-Ray. About five minutes in, all three of us were laughing our butts off, and I knew I was okay. Both Didi and Max loved it. I had the pleasure of turning two pretty hardcore movie junkies on to a great classic movie that neither of them had ever seen. All in all, not a bad way to spend a Sunday night.

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