The first was when the announced that Ben Affleck was going to play Batman.
My friends completely lost their minds over this. My thought was two words, Michael Keaton:
Oh, and two more words, Val Kilmer. We survived Michael Keaton and Val Kilmer Batmans. We'll survive Ben Affleck too. My friends take casting of Batman movies way too seriously. When they start making Batman movies that stand up to a single 22 minute of this:
Then I'll start taking Batman casting seriously.
The next time my Facebook circle of friends completely lost their collective minds was about four months ago when it was announced that the Ken Cinema would be closing. The Ken is one of the last remaining historic movie theaters in San Diego county (at least that still shows movies anyway). Online sources vary, but from what I gather, the Ken Cinema was opened in 1947. The building that houses it is older, 1912, about the same time that most of the houses in the neighborhood were built.
In the overall scheme of things, The Ken was not a grand movie palace from Golden Age of Cinema. It was, however, a nice neighborhood theater that had managed to survive as a single screen theater in the Cineplex era. As such, that made it kind of special, I was sad to see it go. I knew that it would probably end up a Starbucks or something. Still, I did not jump on the Oh My God The Ken Is Going Out Of Business, We Have to Save It Bandwagon, mostly because I know that it had been like 10 years since I'd seen a movie there. I would feel like a hypocrite if I publicly mourned the death of a business I had not patronized in a decade.
Years ago, okay, let's be honest here, more than a decade ago, when I used go see movies at The Ken, they would do a mix of foreign movies, small independent films, and classics. It's safe to say that I was a lot more into the classics than the foreign and independent films, and these had all but vanished from their schedule. I probably can't complain too much though. It is after all a business, and I'm sure that if classic films packed them in, I'm sure they would have shown them more regularly. I think the last film I saw there was a Bubblegum Crisis (Japanese anime) film. It was a long movie (well over two hours) and the 50-some-year-old seats did not make for a positive movie experience.
As with most social media uproars, the reality of the situation probably did not warrant the outcry that surrounded it. At the heart of it was a rental/lease negotiation between Landmark Theaters, the company that runs The Ken, and the whoever owns the building as well as the cost of converting the old theater to digital to remain viable in 2014.
Fast forward to Friday of last week. By that point, it had all worked out. A friend mentioned that The Ken was doing a retrospective of films from the 60s and 70s. I googled it, and it turns out, the theater had converted to digital and would continue to be a movie theater, hooray!
Not only had a cool old theater been saved from becoming a frappuccino dispensary, they were showing classic movies again. Topping the week-long event, at least in my mind was, The Godfather, scheduled that night. Now, on almost any other Friday, my wife would have gladly gone to see The Godfather in the theater with me, but she already had a Girls Night Out scheduled. Fair enough. So I started texting/e-mail people to see if anyone wanted to go. I also posted a note on Facebook about it, but I'll get to that later.
My first thought was a couple friends, the husband and roommate of the woman hosting said Girls Night Out (they were being kicked out anyway). Turns out, they had already made plans to go see Guardians of the Galaxy. Again, fair enough. Next thought, was a friend who was more into films of any type than I am. He already had plans as well. My next thought was my best friend/old roommate. This I knew was a shot in the dark. He works at a nightclub; so him being free on a Friday night with no notice was not likely to happen. I was not at all surprised that he had to work. I texted my 19-year-old son. If it had been Bubblegum Crisis (or any other anime), he would be on it like white on rice, but a film made 20 years before he was born, not so much. He declined. At this point, I'm starting to run out of options....
Back to Facebook
Now bear in mind that four months earlier, literally dozens of people in my Facebook feed were up in arms about the loss of a San Diego cultural landmark, the Ken Cinema, so Friday afternoon, circa 1:30 pm, when I posted the following:
So The Godfather is playing at The Ken tonight at 8:30. I've never seen it in the theater, anyone up for it?
I kind of expected something other than the following response: [Crickets]. Well, almost, this is what I really got:
- Friend 1 (along with my wife) – Clicked Like.
- Friend 2 – Said, not even exaggerating, that he could drive to Las Vegas faster than it would take to get through L.A., Orange County, and San Diego traffic to get to The Ken, but mentioned that he had seen both The Godfather and The Godfather Part II at The Ken, back before they had redone the seats.
- "Friend" 3 – Said something snarky, unfunny, and negative, because that's what he does.
- Friend 4 – Who lives more than an hour away, said he had been in San Diego the night before for a concert, but was really jealous.
- Friend 5 – Said she would love to go but needed more notice.
I ended up going with my 14-year-old daughter. It was either that or go by myself. I was a little worried. The Godfather would be a little rough at 14. I know she watches things like The Cabin in the Woods, but The Godfather's different. I figured I'd leave it up to her. I asked if she wanted to go, and she said she has wanted to see it some time anyway, so we were on. She's got a good head on her shoulders, and I was pretty sure she'd be okay with it. I'll close with her review of the film:
Corleone family: Fuck you
Other families: Fuck you
Corleone family: Is that your final answer?
Other families wake up traumatized and dead.
She also said she wanted to slap Francis Ford Coppola. And hug him. So yeah, she was just fine with it.