Cranky Hanke’s Screening Room: What gives you your biggest moviegoing kick?

No, I don’t mean that moment that warms the heart of Woody Allen fans when Liev Schreiber’s foot makes contact with Mia Farrow’s face in the 2006 remake of The Omen. I’m after something else here. I’m curious about those things that give the act of watching a movie that certain something that elevates the experience beyond the movie itself. I know for a lot of people it has to do with the company they’re in at any given showing. More than once, I’ve seen people comment that they like a movie better than they should because of who they saw it with. And since movies ideally are a communal undertaking, that’s not necessarily a bad answer.

I know, for example, that my original viewing of the Mervyn LeRoy-Busby Berkeley film Golddiggers of 1933 (1933) was greatly enhanced by the company I was keeping. I don’t just mean that I liked the people I was with (I did, but I try to make it a habit not to go to movies with people I don’t like). It had to do with the fact that they were as jazzed by what they were seeing as I was. The enthusiasm was, in fact, so high that we immediately dashed back—talking non-stop about how wonderful the film was—to one of my companion’s houses so that the more musically-inclined of the group could try to work out how to play “Remember My Forgotten Man” on the piano before the tune like the man of the title was forgotten. (This was 1973 or 74 and the chances then of tracking down 40-year-old sheet music were marginal at best.)

Now, the film still does it for me on every level. It is, in fact, one of the films I use for the specific purpose of introducing those who are resistant to watching an old movie to sit through an old movie to see if just maybe they’ve been watching the wrong old movies. (It usually works, too.) But I wonder if I’d be doing this if that first exposure to it hadn’t been such a strongly positive experience of the sort that only comes from that sense of shared excitement and the sense of shared discovery. I know Golddiggers of 1933 would be a great picture regardless of that, but would it hold quite as high a place in my heart?

Of course, there’s a potential downside to this sort of thing. My father always hated Casablanca (1942). It had nothing to do with the movie itself. His dislike of the movie was stubbornly grounded in the fact that he saw it on a bad date. It seems that the girl he went to the movie with insisted on wearing a sweatshirt to the theater, and apparently this was some kind of breach of social standards in 1942. I guess my dad was a stickler for propriety when he was 17. It seems kind of silly and pig-headed to me.

I’m sure we’ve all had some variation on this. I’m certain that my original take on The Exorcist (1973) was colored negatively by the fact that my group found itself joined by someone who was that awful combination of being none-too-bright and exceedingly outspoken. His occasional disruptions of “This ain’t scary” were one thing, but when the movie hit the infamous scene where Linda Blair performs an indelicate and blasphemous act with a crucifix, he just had to inquire, “What’s she stabbin’ herself in the stomach for?” It is very difficult to regain the mood of the film in the wake of such a query, I can tell you.

Back to the more positive side of things, though, was a personal reinforcement in the past couple days of something I’ve long known. I suppose it’s something that goes with the mindset of being a critic/historian, since most of us who go into this sort of thing do so—at least I hope—for the love of the movies and a desire to pass that love on to others. We are, I think, born proselytizers. This is something that I think a lot of people tend to forget, since there seems to be a greater chance that people remember the movies we’ve eviscerated and not the ones we’ve praised. That factor—quite naturally—becomes even greater if the critic tears into a movie the reader thought was the bee’s knees.

The fact is, though, that most of us are here hoping to turn you on to things we think are worthwhile and that we care about. Believe it or not, it causes me no pain whatever if someone wants to see Transformers. On the other hand, it causes me some joy if I get someone to go see Whatever Works or Easy Virtue and they find that they liked them. That, in fact, is the true kick to be gotten out of the job. There’s a lot more satisfaction in that. Having someone tell me (as happened) that they went to see P.J. Hogan’s 2003 Peter Pan (a movie I’d expected to hate) because of my recommendation and that he or so was glad they went is a lot more pleasing than having someone agree that, yeah, Terminator Salvation was pretty awful.

It’s really not a whole lot different from seeing a movie and then taking your friends to it because, “You’ve got to see this.” Now, that idea in itself is relatively new—at least on a large scale. It came into being in its present mass audience form in 1977 with Star Wars, a movie that thrived on—and gave the movies a whole new model in this regard—repeat business and people taking their friends to see it. Some of us were doing that already, but we were kind of viewed as the lunatic fringe on the basis of, “Why would you want to see it if you know how it ends?” Those of us who write about movies professionally have slightly different tools and approaches—a simple “you gotta see this” doesn’t quite cut it—but at bottom, it’s the same thing.

And don’t think it ends with “going professional.” This week I had occasion to run two movies for people on an in-person basis. The first was the Lloyd Bacon-Busby Berkeley musical 42nd Street (1933). No one in the little group besides me—there were five of us—had seen it. I’m not sure that they quite knew what to expect. I don’t believe it was even a title to them and I doubt that Busby Berkeley was previously a blip on their radar. One of them had been at the Ken Russell birthday screening of The Boy Friend (1971) a week and a half ago, so he perhaps got some added enjoyment from recognizing where some of the inspirations for the newer movie originated. The others were in the dark—literally and figuratively—but I can guarantee that they all know who Busby Berkeley is now. One of them—a fledgling filmmaker himself—immediately afterwards started outlining a plan for a film that could adopt and adapt some of the techniques from this old, old movie.

The next night we ran Tommy. It doesn’t take a lot of prodding to get me to show this, as anybody who knows me even slightly is well aware. Two of the ones who wanted to see it had seen it before. One of them was, in fact, examining the DVD case and remarking, “I love this movie.” The third—the fledgling filmmaker again—had never seen it. And even though he had seen and responded very positively to some other Ken Russell movies, I wasn’t entirely sure how he would feel about this one. I sometimes worry that some of the aspects of it—like the rapid cutting and the matching of image to music—have been so assimilated into film in general in the intervening years that they won’t seem as fresh and innovative to someone who didn’t see it in 1975. I needn’t have worried. We got to the end of the movie and no one got up during the credits—always a good sign. When the screen went dark, he said only three words, “That was beautiful.” That is the sort of moment that probably gives me my biggest kick with moviegoing.

 

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About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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46 thoughts on “Cranky Hanke’s Screening Room: What gives you your biggest moviegoing kick?

  1. Jay

    Watching the Aristocrats at the Fine Arts Theatre was the most recent memory of experiencing one of ‘those moments.’

    The guy with the puppet who tells dirty jokes had a line that went something like this: “Don’t you hate it when you kick your girlfriend in the [insert word here]and she call the cops.”

    My wife, sitting next to me, let out one of her infectious, loud laughs. A man a few rows down let out the beginnings of a laugh and then his wife/girlfriend/female companion smacked him real hard and he stopped. The entire theatre heard this non-verbal exchange and got REAL quiet for a second.

    My wife and I responded with an even louder laugh at the entire exchange.

    Being in a movie theatre and seeing something that is in questionable taste – and seeing the reaction of the rest of the theatre is something I really enjoy.

    Also, to a similar degree – I love watching a disturbing movie (Requiem for a Dream, Martyrs, Meet the Feebles) with a new group of people and watching the intense squirming that goes on. The way in which a group of people will collectively watching something that each of the individuals would never watch by themselves is always interesting. Just seeing the way something incredibly graphic affects them indivudually and as a group entertains me to no end.

  2. Louis

    I think what provides me with my biggest moviegoing kick is discovering the undiscovered –not the movie itself, but the emotions it stirs within me that I didn’t anticipate feeling. It could be laughter, anger, crying, thought-provocation, etc. The exact emotion felt is secondary. I find that the less expectation, or better yet, mis-directed expectation, I had going in, the greater potential for me making that “discovery” coming out.

    The beauty of this experience, for me, is that it doesn’t matter how supposedly “old” the movie is for me to experience new discoveries. It’s sort of like that old tag line: If I haven’t seen it, it’s new to me.

    Like, I’m thinking about the first time I saw Dr. Strangelove. Sure, I’d seen other Kubrick movies, had read about the movie, and seen many of the actors in other movies — but it blew me away when I saw it. I just wasn’t expecting it. That made the emotions resonate more, I suppose. The impact of the “kick” sticks longer when this happens.

  3. Jim Donato

    Louis makes an interesting point. I’m going to talk about the obverse of that effect. In “Kiss Me Deadly” here was a film that I had read about extensively about for years. I finally plunked for the VHS since I tired of waiting for a laserdisc of this title in the late 80s. I had imagined a completely unhinged movie; nihilism with a screaming flame job. While the end result was certainly hard-boiled, and more than a little nihilistic, it was a far cry from what the reams of purple prose had set me up for.

    On the other hand, there’s “Forbidden Zone!” This movie more than lives up to its advanced billing. Though my friends who talked about this movie for years made it sound like a comedy, rather than the cry for help that it is. But what a cry for help! Of course, once I found out that Richard Elfman was a Scientologist, that pretty much killed it for me.

  4. Ken Hanke

    seeing the reaction of the rest of the theatre is something I really enjoy

    So, unless I’m wrong, the biggest kick for you lies in audience reaction — especially in outre situations where their tolerance or taste is being assaulted in some way. Interesting. How do you feel about that most pointed of reactions — the walkout? (That might be worth a column of its own.)

  5. Ken Hanke

    I think what provides me with my biggest moviegoing kick is discovering the undiscovered—not the movie itself, but the emotions it stirs within me that I didn’t anticipate feeling.

    So you’re kick then is almost the polar opposite of Jay’s, since it’s very much inwardly directed — almost as if it has to do with what the movie tells you about yourself. Sort of the movie as a journey of self-discovery. Interesting — and there’s no question but that how you respond and what you like says a great deal about you.

    I find that the less expectation, or better yet, mis-directed expectation, I had going in, the greater potential for me making that “discovery” coming out.

    That makes sense, I think.

  6. Ken Hanke

    While the end result was certainly hard-boiled, and more than a little nihilistic, it was a far cry from what the reams of purple prose had set me up for.

    I don’t really get all the fuss over it myself. Now, there’ve been occasions where I finally saw something that was supposed to be great and I didn’t get it, but then saw it again later and did. (Rene Clair’s Le Million comes to mind.) I do not think Kiss Me Deadly will be one of those.

    On the other hand, there’s “Forbidden Zone!” This movie more than lives up to its advanced billing. Though my friends who talked about this movie for years made it sound like a comedy, rather than the cry for help that it is. But what a cry for help!

    An interesting take, since it doesn’t really seem like a cry for help to me so much as it seems like an attempt to outrage the viewer. I first got it from a friend who copied it for me. He told me that he pretty much hated it, but sat there the entire time thinking, “It’s a movie that might have been made specifically to appeal to Ken.” I’m not sure what that says about me, though I imagine it has more to do with the Cab Calloway and Betty Boop aspects than anything else. I’d never heard that Rick Elfman was a scientologist. That’s kind of depressing.

  7. Frank Delgado

    My biggest joy in a movie theater is being part of a group that is viewing a great movie. Like “Forest Gump”. I saw this movie on opening night. Everyone in the packed theater spontaneously stood up and clapped at the end. THAT is an entertaining movie. The opposite? A cultural degeneration as in Waters’ “Pink Flamingos”. The inclusion of this film in a “best” category is way off. Give me the classics. The best made movies. The good scripts, the good acting.

  8. Ken Hanke

    The opposite? A cultural degeneration as in Waters’ “Pink Flamingos”. The inclusion of this film in a “best” category is way off.

    The many names of Cullen A. returns with a new one! Don’t you ever get tired of this fantasy misrepresentation? Show me where anyone here has ever put Pink Flamingos in a best category? I certainly haven’t. Of course, I wouldn’t put Forrest Gump in one either.

  9. Dread P. Roberts

    Ken, I never told you this, but you recently turned me on to what I would strongly consider a hidden jewel – Rian Johnson (The Brothers Bloom (2008), Brick (2005)). I suppose I should tell you/thank you whenever you introduce me to something that I’m so enthusiastic over, since that means a lot to you. This director would safely fall into what Louis was describing as getting a moviegoing kick from discovering the undiscovered. In fact, shortly afterwards I called my best friend and insisted that he check out these movies ASAP! Now if i can get my hands on what IMDB lists as his first flick – Evil Demon Golfball from Hell!!!

    But I also get a kick from seeing the audience reaction(s) at times. I think it really depends on the kind of movie that I’m watching, and the mood that I’m in. When I rented Brick last week, I was so immersed in the proceedings, that I didn’t want anyone to talk to me until it was over. But if I was watching an enjoyably silly comedy (like “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”) or a horror movie, then I would very much welcome friends.

  10. Ken Hanke

    Ken, I never told you this, but you recently turned me on to what I would strongly consider a hidden jewel – Rian Johnson (The Brothers Bloom (2008), Brick (2005)). I suppose I should tell you/thank you whenever you introduce me to something that I’m so enthusiastic over, since that means a lot to you.

    Well, I wasn’t fishing for that, but it is nice to occasionally hear that my “hard work ain’t been in vain for nothing” (to quote a movie I don’t even like much). In any case, I think Johnson is pretty swell.

    But I also get a kick from seeing the audience reaction(s) at times. I think it really depends on the kind of movie that I’m watching, and the mood that I’m in. When I rented Brick last week, I was so immersed in the proceedings, that I didn’t want anyone to talk to me until it was over.

    A lot for me depends on the audience. I tend to see a lot of movies with a rather small group — most of whom are pretty much aware of my tastes in what is and isn’t a good idea watching a movie. And I can’t recall a case where Justin Souther ever said something to me during a movie that seemed intrusive. Actually, in the case of Brick I think I may have been the only one who did say something — “I’d like high school kids a lot better if they did talk like this” — during the movie.

  11. Tonberry

    Showing an audience a movie you’ve made (I’ve only made a few shorts, and one feature length documentary back in high school) and watching them laugh and cry in the right spots is my biggest movie going kick. It’s that kick that drives me to pursue filmmaking as a career.

    To a lesser extent, if there is a movie that I love, I have to share it with everyone else. I always love to hear people’s opinions on movies, and I love to push movies on to them that they normally wouldn’t see. This always ends being a hit or miss, once I recommended “Bubba Ho-tep” to my grandparents and they turned it off within 10 min of the movie (which still I got a kick out of), but on the other hand, I have a fond memory when they called me up after watching “Stardust” and how they immensely enjoyed it. I could go on and on about the different reactions I’ve gotten out of my friends and family (a favorite of mine being when my mother called me a “movie snob”) but I’m sure you get the point. Just now know, movies like “Savage Messiah” and “Tommy” (and I’m sure many other Ken Russell’s films, because I’ve seen enough of his work now that I can consider myself a fan) will be shared with all my friends who have yet to see them, or anyone gives a damn about great movies.

    And a few years ago, I used to get a kick out of buying random movies I had never heard of with a buddy, and then we would go back to my house and watch them. Of course, this process led to some horrible, horrible movies (all I have to say is “Bloodz Vs. Wolvez” my vote for the worst movie ever made, yet still made it into Wal-Mart.) But this process is also how I discovered “Trainspotting,” “Pan’s Labyrinth,” and for beer and pizza night, “Shogun Assassin.”

    I’m getting a kick just thinking about all of this.

  12. Ken Hanke

    This always ends being a hit or miss, once I recommended “Bubba Ho-tep” to my grandparents and they turned it off within 10 min of the movie (which still I got a kick out of)

    They may have lasted longer than I would have (I have a terrific aversion to manufactured cult items), but you always run this risk when you recommend anything to anyone. Cheesing people off can have its amusement value, too, though. I’m not sure it’s as satisfying — or not as satisfying in the same way. Much depends on the…er…victim. There are some people that just seem to cry out to be sent running into the night by a movie. I might’ve gone easier on my grandmother, though, since I remember making her take me to the drive-in when I was 10 to see a double feature of Elvis in Girl Happy and Bob Hope in Fancy Pants. (What mind came up with that combination?)

    a favorite of mine being when my mother called me a “movie snob”

    Mine just looks at me like she’s trying to figure out these many years later if they sent the wrong baby home from the hospital with her.

    Just now know, movies like “Savage Messiah” and “Tommy” (and I’m sure many other Ken Russell’s films, because I’ve seen enough of his work now that I can consider myself a fan) will be shared with all my friends who have yet to see them, or anyone gives a damn about great movies.

    Oh, there are many more interesting things to see.

  13. Rufus

    Reading your column immediately brought to mind the the fabulous trumpet with plunger mute opening to “Remember My Forgotten Man”, which I haven’t heard in probably 30 years. My recollection is that though the plot might be a little thin, the characters were so engaging, and the musical numbers so good that we all loved the film. I know I did, though going in I’m not sure my expectations were high.

    I really enjoy choosing the movie and having it be an unqualified success with the entire group watching it. I remember a while back picking out JOE VS THE VOLCANO at the video store and receiving some sideways glances and rolling eyes. However, at the end of the movie, came unsolicited “I really liked that movie!” and “why haven’t I seen that before?!”. Great Fun! On the other hand, I tried last night with THE COMMITMENTS which I really like. Those that watched it with me… not so much.

  14. Dread P. Roberts

    I remember a while back picking out JOE VS THE VOLCANO at the video store and receiving some sideways glances and rolling eyes.

    I LOVE that movie! Funny, quirky and touching. If one were so inclined to call this a ‘romantic comedy’, then this would be one of my favorites of the genre. But I’ve always seen it as being more about the personal journey of self discovery, so I don’t know if it really counts or not.

  15. Rufus

    “But I’ve always seen it as being more about the personal journey of self discovery”

    I would tend to agree, which makes the movie one of my favorites of the “personal journey of self discovery” genre.

  16. Ken Hanke

    Reading your column immediately brought to mind the the fabulous trumpet with plunger mute opening to “Remember My Forgotten Man”, which I haven’t heard in probably 30 years. My recollection is that though the plot might be a little thin, the characters were so engaging, and the musical numbers so good that we all loved the film. I know I did, though going in I’m not sure my expectations were high.

    Not sure what my expectations were originally. I’d seen 42nd Street by then and maybe I’d seen Golddiggers of 1935 (I kind of think that was seen later at a midnight show at USF, though). I certainly didn’t know it would be as funny as it was and nothing can really prepare you for “Remember My Forgotten Man” and the way the picture ends.

    I really enjoy choosing the movie and having it be an unqualified success with the entire group watching it. I remember a while back picking out JOE VS THE VOLCANO at the video store and receiving some sideways glances and rolling eyes. However, at the end of the movie, came unsolicited “I really liked that movie!” and “why haven’t I seen that before?!”.

    You know, if all the people who love this movie now had gone to see it when it came out, it probably wouldn’t have been 18 years before John Patrick Shanley got to make another movie!

    On the other hand, I tried last night with THE COMMITMENTS which I really like. Those that watched it with me… not so much

    I liked The Commitments a lot when it first came out, but something has always kept me from revisiting it. Unless it’s the suspicion that I won’t like it so much a second time, I’m not sure why that should be.

  17. Ken Hanke

    If one were so inclined to call this a ‘romantic comedy’, then this would be one of my favorites of the genre. But I’ve always seen it as being more about the personal journey of self discovery, so I don’t know if it really counts or not.

    I think the fact that it doesn’t really conform to a genre that can be easily marketed has a lot to do with why it flopped on its original release. That sort of hard-to-pin-down quality would have been less out of step about 15 years earlier or 15 years later.

  18. Ken Hanke

    one of my favorites of the “personal journey of self discovery” genre.

    Tell that to a focus group.

  19. Dread P. Roberts

    I would tend to agree, which makes the movie one of my favorites of the “personal journey of self discovery” genre.

    Well, if movies like Forrest Gump are what consists of the competition for this category, then that isn’t really a hard decision to make. I don’t know though, I’m going to have to rack my mind over what would fall into this genre.

    Tell that to a focus group.

    Theoretically, one could always whip up a BS suggestion to show movies like this as part of some sort of ‘therapeutic mental session’. If focus groups offered free showings of movies like Joe vs The Volcano, then I might be tempted to go all Tyler Durden-esque, and start group-hopping.

  20. Rufus

    “If focus groups offered free showings of movies like Joe vs The Volcano, then I might be tempted to go all Tyler Durden-esque, and start group-hopping.”

    The challenge would be avoiding the group that was focusing FORREST GUMP.

  21. Ken Hanke

    Well, if movies like Forrest Gump are what consists of the competition for this category, then that isn’t really a hard decision to make.

    Forrest Gump isn’t a journey into anything other than raging insipidity. (If that isn’t a word, it ought to be.)

  22. Dread P. Roberts

    The challenge would be avoiding the group that was focusing FORREST GUMP.

    Actually, that would allot me the pleasure of acting out a cantankerous walkout midway through. Then I could explain to the counselors how the proceedings had caused me great duress. That might be a bit much, but all in good fun nonetheless.

  23. Ken Hanke

    The challenge would be avoiding the group that was focusing FORREST GUMP

    A definite consideration, that.

  24. Ken Hanke

    Actually, that would allot me the pleasure of acting out a cantankerous walkout midway through.

    The midway point seems a little extreme. Surely, this could be accomplished in less time than that.

  25. Dread P. Roberts

    Forrest Gump isn’t a journey into anything other than raging insipidity. (If that isn’t a word, it ought to be.)

    Now THAT sounds like an interesting movie sub-genre worth exploring. And bear in mind, Mr. Cranky, that this is still a journey. [Please tell me that this has inspired you to write an article about bizarre movie sub-genres.]

  26. Ken Hanke

    Now THAT sounds like an interesting movie sub-genre worth exploring. And bear in mind, Mr. Cranky, that this is still a journey. [Please tell me that this has inspired you to write an article about bizarre movie sub-genres.]

    Mr. Cranky, eh? (There actually was, I understand, an internet reviewer by that name.) “Journeys Into Insipdity” might be a very long list. As for an article on bizarre sub-genres, that might have potential.

  27. T.H.X. Pijonsnodt, Esq.

    (If that isn’t a word, it ought to be.)

    I give you my unqualified assurance that it is indeed a word, and one that I associate with your every platitudinous utterance.

  28. Dionysis

    Biggest movie-going kick? That is subjective. One ‘kick’ I experienced many years ago (mentioned previously) was attending a midnight showing of Erasurehead. I had no clue about the film, didn’t know David Lynch, but it seemed appealingly quirky. About ten minutes after it started, a man jumped up proclaiming “civilization is back this way” and stormed out. I knew it was going to be a fun flick.

    I also attended a midnight showing (same theatre) a few years later of the weird flick Liquid Sky, with two female friends I had recently met. Needless to say, they formed a singular opinion of my taste in films as they listened to such lines as “I kill with my c***”

    Ah, the memories.

  29. Ken Hanke

    I give you my unqualified assurance

    What other kind of assurance could one expect from a guy called Pijonsnodt?

  30. Ken Hanke

    About ten minutes after it started, a man jumped up proclaiming “civilization is back this way” and stormed out.

    So, Cullen A. was in the audience, huh? Seriously, it was a midnight showing of a movie called Eraserhead — didn’t it occur to the guy that the movie probably wasn’t your standard fare?

    Needless to say, they formed a singular opinion of my taste in films

    Raising the question of whether this was the last time you ever saw them or the beginning of a beautiful friendship?

  31. Dionysis

    “Raising the question of whether this was the last time you ever saw them or the beginning of a beautiful friendship?”

    Fortunately, we remained friends for many, many years. I guess it shows they were not particularly thin-skinned.

  32. Ken Hanke

    Fortunately, we remained friends for many, many years. I guess it shows they were not particularly thin-skinned.

    It’s the sort of thing that you’re better off finding out early on.

  33. Sean Williams

    Seriously, it was a midnight showing of a movie called Eraserhead — didn’t it occur to the guy that the movie probably wasn’t your standard fare?

    Do you ever wonder why moviegoers depart in outrage from movies whose content is clearly advertised in the M.P.A.A. box on every single poster and preview?

  34. Ken Hanke

    Do you ever wonder why moviegoers depart in outrage from movies whose content is clearly advertised in the M.P.A.A. box on every single poster and preview?

    The answer is, I think, simple — they don’t bother to look. I presume that the person selling them the ticket or the one tearing their ticket is suppose to mystically intuit that they’re about to see something that might offend and warn them of this grim eventuality.

    I have a rant I sometimes go into where I envision taking some shocked ladies up to the poster for The Ladykillers and — shall we say — colorfully pointing out how the poster warned them about the strong language. Unfortunately, I can’t repeat the rant here.

  35. Steve Millard

    My greatest ‘movie kick’ is going to a movie I’ve never heard of before, taking a chance and being ‘wowed!’. These days, unfortunately, that is a rare event.
    Unheard of ‘Wow!’ kicks of my past (in order of earliest): ‘The Blob’, ‘I Married A Monster From Outer Space’, ‘20,000 Leagues Under The Sea’, ‘Bridge Over The River Kwi (sp)’, ‘Bonnie & Clyde’, ‘The Tenant’, ‘Alien’, ‘Coraline’… well, actually, I HAD heard of that latter one, but it was the first ‘3-D’ movie I’d seen since the ’50s. There were others, but these just jumped out of my head. Ah… youth ;-) -s

  36. Robin Anderson

    One of my favorite moviegoing experiences was going to see MAKING LOVE in its’ initial run in theaters.

    Now, MAKING LOVE isn’t a particularly good movie (although it’s aged surprisingly well), but its depiction of a male/male love affair between the characters played by Michael Ontkean and Harry Hamlin came to theaters at a pivotal point in my own life. It was thrilling to see gay love right up there on the screen, unapologetic and in-your-face.

    And it made some people in the audience VERY uncomfortable. About a third of them simply walked out. To this day, I can’t imagine what they were thinking by coming to see the movie. It was advertised as a gay love story, for pity’s sake.

    It was a powerful lesson for me.

    Yes, the love that dare not speak its’ name actually spoke its’ name in this film. It was a wake-up call in two senses of the word. That it was possible to live openly, and that there were some people who’s minds would be forever closed. And that the biggest favor those people could do is simply walk away.

    Yes, MAKING LOVE is not great filmmaking. But it’s an important movie for me. On so many levels.

    I still watch it about once a year.

  37. Ken Hanke

    My greatest ‘movie kick’ is going to a movie I’ve never heard of before, taking a chance and being ‘wowed!’.

    Whether I’ve heard of a film or not, I never sell the “wow” factor short. I’m still not sure how I feel about the film overall, but I screened the new Francis Ford Coppola film Tetro a few nights ago and was rewarded with at least four “wow” moments during the course of the movie.

  38. Ken Hanke

    And it made some people in the audience VERY uncomfortable. About a third of them simply walked out. To this day, I can’t imagine what they were thinking by coming to see the movie. It was advertised as a gay love story, for pity’s sake

    I’ve talked to Barry Sandler (who wrote Making Love) about the audience reaction a couple times — mostly because it kind of surprised me. It surprised me because I only saw the film years after it came out (so to speak) and I couldn’t imagine it upsetting people so much when I’d witnessed audiences sitting through the much more insidious My Beautiful Laundrette without walk-outs in 1985. But Making Love was three years earlier, which probably accounts for it. It may also have had a great deal to do with paving the way for the kind of acceptance I saw in 1985.

    For me, the big problem (aside from a cast I’m not wild about) with Making Love is that the characters are too upscale.

  39. Nick Jones

    I had the opposite reactions to the films Jim Donato mentioned. I found “Kiss Me Deadly” a cheerfully and thoroughly nasty and sadistic little film noir with a spectacular ending, and “Forbidden Zone,” to use KH’s words, a ‘manufactured cult item’ that was nothing but complete trash.

    On the positive side, I have a number of ‘wow!’ (or ‘whoa!’) moments. Having gone to college in the Seventies, many of them were, let’s say, chemically enhanced. The ‘Overture’, ‘What About the Boy?’ and the ‘Acid Queen’ sequences of “Tommy” stand out in particular.
    Didn’t help that animated French science fiction film, though.

  40. Ken Hanke

    I had the opposite reactions to the films Jim Donato mentioned. I found “Kiss Me Deadly” a cheerfully and thoroughly nasty and sadistic little film noir with a spectacular ending, and “Forbidden Zone,” to use KH’s words, a ‘manufactured cult item’ that was nothing but complete trash.

    In the interest of clarification, I am underwhelmed in the extreme by Kiss Me Deadly and, while refering to Forbidden Zone as deliberately setting out to be a cult film, was saying that that was why it should not have worked — in the context of a nothing-but-praise review.

    Having gone to college in the Seventies, many of them were, let’s say, chemically enhanced. The ‘Overture’, ‘What About the Boy?’ and the ‘Acid Queen’ sequences of “Tommy” stand out in particular.

    I had a similar reaction to them without the enhancement — also “Amazing Journey” and “Listening to You” and…probably most of the rest.

    Didn’t help that animated French science fiction film, though

    If, as I suspect, that means Fantastic Planet, nothing could help it.

  41. Nick Jones

    “If, as I suspect, that means Fantastic Planet, nothing could help it.”

    That was it.

    I love “Tommy”; I saw it in the theater at least two more times, unenhanced. It was one of the first videos I ever bought when VCRs came out. Unfortunately, it was a bad transfer that has Nora and Captain Walker quickly disappearing into the clouds of steam at the train station, which is the reason I am reluctant to buy the DVD until I’ve rented it.

    “Forbidden Zone” is one of the two films I actively HATE (the other being “Freebie and the Bean.”) I was made to watch it by an apartment mate who was an Oingo Boingo fan (the band led by Danny Elfman, wrote the score and played “Satan” in the film, and has since gone on to (much) better things), and was appalled at the pointlessness and uselessness of the whole thing. As far as using the phrase ‘manufactured cult item,’ I was co-opting your words above, not quoting you. For me, the term fits the film perfectly, and was the only reason for its existence.

    And speaking of opposites, my reaction to the “Final Destination” films is in reverse order to yours, exactly. Ah, well. :)

  42. Ken Hanke

    I was made to watch it by an apartment mate who was an Oingo Boingo fan (the band led by Danny Elfman, wrote the score and played “Satan” in the film, and has since gone on to (much) better things), and was appalled at the pointlessness and uselessness of the whole thing

    I saw it because I was — am — an Oingo Boingo fan. That may explain something right there. That it leans so heavily on early 30s Max Fleischer cartoons in another huge draw for me. The Cab Calloway song and influence — well, it’s like a compendium of a lot of things I like.

    And speaking of opposites, my reaction to the “Final Destination” films is in reverse order to yours, exactly.

    I have a Final Destination order? How did that happen, I wonder?

  43. Ken Hanke

    Ah, I looked at the Final Destination reviews. Please note — the first one ain’t mine. The two that are mine may slide the scale up a half-star for the third film, but that’s a small difference. I’d have to watch the first one again to see where I’d put it. And with no. four in the offing, well, I suspect I’d be overwhelmed.

  44. Nick Jones

    If it’s not too late, don’t watch the trailer; it gives too much away.

  45. Ken Hanke

    If it’s not too late, don’t watch the trailer; it gives too much away.

    For which one? Or is this a one trailer fits all thing?

  46. Nick Jones

    “For which one?”

    For “The Final Destination.” (Final Destination #4)

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