Still more lazy thoughts from this one…

TMT: Recognizing Crap From the Balcony

This is the next entry in a Theatre… a Movie… and a Time, a series that was begun here. Continuing my trek with one particular film franchise this week in the month October, strictly as a fan of monster and horror films mind you, here we go again. And I have screenwriter Josh Olson to thank byway of his keen July 18th look-back (over at Trailers From Hell) at an era’s “terrible, terrible idea” for a movie. Thus crystallizing for me the following remembrance of another.

“Anyway, watching this film again is like recovering a traumatic memory from youth. You just try to forget it ever existed.”


Theatre

The Hollywood Pacific Theatre:


Movie

Time

June 17, 1977: ask anyone old enough who actually lived, worked, or went to school during the decade of the 70s and this is likely the one word answer for it all:

Crap.

You name it, we had it all back then. Vietnam, Watergate, Recession, Nixon, Cover-up, Oil Crises (note the plural), Leisure Suits, Gas Lines, Wide Ties, some of the worst cars ever (Ford Pinto anyone?), Nixon’s Pardon, the death of Elvis, and Disco. I could go on… All culminating with the Iranian Hostage Crises (btw, go see Argo). Not exactly happy, joy-filled times. Yet, what we got at the movies during this same period could rightly be argued as “the last great golden era” of American cinema.

Don’t get me wrong. There was crap, too.

If Monday or Tuesday‘s entries didn’t convince you The Exorcist caused a significant ripple in my life during this decade, perhaps what was hoisted upon us this year will. My college finals for the spring semester were over by this week. Time to celebrate. And the highly anticipated sequel to William Friedkin’s adaptation of the William Peter Blatty novel was set to début that Friday. Who cared that the director or author had nothing to do with Exorcist II: The Heretic.

I should have.

My stint as a movie projectionist was coming to a close at that time, as well. The experience made me appreciate going to see any film presented in a grand movie palace, though. It’s why I bought a ticket for the very first show that Friday at the Hollywood Pacific Theatre. The venue still had that wonderful balcony I remembered so well from my visits years before for 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Godfather Part II. Great film always came off more gloriously there.

Still, being in such a beautiful movie theatre made John Boorman’s film seem that much more… crappier. For what the producers heaped on us patrons, upon its release back then, 35 years ago, I still hope they rot in H-E-double-hockey-sticks.

The entire TMT series can be found here. If you’re interested how it’s put together, click here.

12 Responses to “TMT: Recognizing Crap From the Balcony”

  1. ruth

    Ahah, I LOVE the title of this post, Michael. But man, is that theater beautiful or what? Oh, it’s cool that you were a movie projectionist like my dad at one point in time.

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    • le0pard13

      I didn’t know that about your dad. That’s so cool. It seems to be a dying craft these days. We old projectionist needs to stick together ;-).

      It was easy coming up with this title as the crappy nature of this follow-up film to The Exorcist fit it perfectly. The depth and long-standing nature of that disappointment made it so ;-). Thanks, Ruth.

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  2. Marcus Clearspring

    So yeah, I have seen The Exorcist II on the big screen, but not The Exorcist. It must have been part of a double or triple bill which a girlfriend talked me into seeing. I would not have gone to see the sequel without the original otherwise.

    She had wanted be scared, that was her intention, but we ended up laughing a lot at how silly or bad it was. It became a reference point for a bad movie. Fortunately I’ve forgotten the movie…which isn’t much of a challenge.

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    • le0pard13

      I certainly can see the type of reaction you and your girlfriend experienced with ‘The Heretic’. I’ve seen them all, including the last sequel, the one twice done one by Renny Harlin and Paul Schrader. For me, the only ones worth a visit are the original and one I’ll mention in tomorrow’s post.

      Thanks again for coming by and sharing a comment, Marcus.

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  3. Colonel Mortimer (Kevin)

    I will say this for Exorcist II, it has an amazing score by Ennio Morricone, Interestingly, I saw an interview (or maybe read, can’t remember which) that Joe Dante went to see this film on opening day at this theatre, so it’s possible you sat next to him!

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    • le0pard13

      Y’know, I’ve seen ‘The Heretic’s theatrical and re-cut versions, and can honestly say I didn’t notice the soundtrack at all. I’m sure that’s purely me, though. I don’t doubt Ennio Morricone’s score is amazing. Maybe, one of these days, I’ll revisit this to hear it. Thanks, Colonel.

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  4. Eric

    Great piece, Michael. It’s funny that you call the 70s “crap” because I know so many people my age wish they had grown up during that time period. I imagine it’s a lot different to live through the decade rather than just go by what is seen in movies, TV, etc.

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    Reply
    • le0pard13

      The 70s really were an exceptional year for film. But, there’s a reason I’ve long said, “I was born in the 50s, grew up in the 60s, and survived the 70s” ;-). Many thanks, Eric.

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