There’s a scene in one of my favorite films, High Fidelity, where the main character, Rob (played by the sometimes awesome John Cusack), is reorganizing his massive record collection “autobiographically.” The joke is that he is organizing his collection by the date and reason the records were purchased. In a lot of ways this is how my mind is organized with respect to movies. In High Fidelity, Rob can find his Fleetwood Mac album by remembering that he bought it for someone in the fall of 1983 but didn’t give it to them for personal reasons. In my own life, I can tell you that my longest running relationship started in August of 2010 because I went to see Inception 3 times in the theater that month. I can also tell you that my love for independent film started when I was in 8th grade after I happened to come across the film, SLC Punk. That movie also kicked off an ill-advised punk music phase that, luckily, did not last long.
I’ve been a fan of movies since before I even understood the concept of fandom. My obsession, for lack of a better word, with movies started when I moved to the Cleveland area at the age of twelve. I moved here right before a summer break, so I had little chance to make many friends. I spent the summer riding my bike a mile and a half to the local movie theater tucked behind a slowly dying mall. Thirteen years later, I’ve found that the most substantial change in my consumption of movies is the method of transportation used to get to the theater. The film choices have also changed. Now that I live in Cleveland, I have easier access to wonderful theaters like the Cedar Lee in Cleveland Heights and the Capitol in Cleveland. Don’t get me wrong. I still visit my local Cinemark regularly, but there are tons of fantastic films released every year that aren’t big budget studio films with A-list actors and production teams. Sometimes that guy who is in that other thing that you like releases his own pet film project and it plays in smaller art-house theaters like the Cedar Lee. These are the gems I spend my time searching for and that I go out of my way to support because I know that the money I spend on them will actually matter not only to the filmmaker but to the theater.
In the spirit of this wonderful blog of local discovery, I have accepted a mission to highlight the limited release films that I am excited about, along with the other fantastic events that happen at my favorite local theaters. My hope is that this column will encourage more people to seek out the local cinematic gems they have access to. With that in mind, let’s talk about the wonderful things going on this week.
Axe Giant: The Wrath of Paul Bunyun (followed by a Q&A with director Gary Jones) at the Capitol Theater
Saturday, June 1, at 9:30pm
Synopsis: Young adults at a first-time offenders’ boot camp discover the legend of the giant lumberjack Paul Bunyan is real, but is much more horrifying than they could have imagined. Starring B-Movie legends Joe Estevez and Dan Haggerty (TV’s Grizzly Adams), along with many familiar and fresh faces, Axe Giant: The Wrath of Paul Bunyan will make audiences cower in fear.
Yes you read that right. A Paul Bunyun horror movie starring Martin Sheen’s less famous brother and Grizzly-effing-Adams. This already has all the trappings of B-movie gold. These are exactly the type of events that I love to see happening in this city. I anticipate that this film will fall under the “so bad it’s good” category, but for all I know it could be the next Casablanca. Regardless, I’m certain this movie, along with the Q&A, will deliver a lot of fun for your entertainment dollar. Dig out your finest plaid shirt and get to the Capitol this Saturday night.
Batman (1989) at the Cedar Lee
Saturday, June 1, at midnight
Synopsis: After a young boy witnesses his parents’ murder on the streets of Goth…Its BATMAN. You know the story. If you don’t, then your life is in dire need of a serious dose of Jack Nicholson and Michael Keaton.
This is another in a long line of wonderful late night cult movie showings that happen at the Cedar Lee. If you haven’t seen Batman (holding in rage) or like me you were barely alive when it was in theaters, then you owe it to yourself and your country to see this movie on the big screen. I’ve never been the biggest Tim Burton fan, but this movie is undeniably fantastic.
However, if you’re looking for less black rubber and vigilantism and more black leather and transvestism in your movie-going experience this weekend, the eternal classic, Rocky Horror Picture Show, is also showing at the Cedar Lee on Saturday at midnight. This is one of those experiences that everyone should have before they die. Those who have seen it in a theater over the past 30+ years understand what I mean. The rest of you need to buckle up your fishnets and get down to the Cedar Lee this weekend.