Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Alone in the Dark: Where is Huntsville's Audience for Indie Films?
I often complain that Huntsville is not a movie person's town. It's a two hour drive in any direction to the nearest art house or revival theater. This is an engineer's town, a NASA town, so I know the population doesn't get all worked up about Joan Blondell and Buster Keaton the way I do. You would, however, think there would be a strong interest in a movie about physicists discovering the Higgs-Boson particle and a movie about the struggle to adapt one of the most influential science fiction novels of all time into a revolutionary film. Engineers love science, right? Aren't they really into science fiction?
I don't really mind being the only person in the theater now and then, especially when I see a movie late in its run and during the day, but it's depressing to think that indie films draw so little interest around here, even when they seem perfectly directed at local tastes. Theaters have no incentive to run indie pictures if nobody shows up; they'll just screen the big, loud blockbusters and stupid comedies (I'm looking at you, Blended) that repeatedly pack the house. I have nothing against blockbusters - I liked Godzilla - but limited access is bad for moviegoers, and it's bad for movies. When we don't watch indie films we forget that movies can be a lot more than superheroes and monsters blowing stuff up. We forget that movies can say something important. We forget that they can be Art.
Over the Memorial Day weekend I plan to see both X-Men: Days of Future Past and Chef. I know there will be a huge turnout for the comic book movie, and as a lifelong geek and comics reader I'm happy about that. Maybe the fact that Jon Favreau, the guy who directed the first Iron Man movie, wrote, directed, and starred in Chef will help generate a little enthusiasm for his film, too, but after the last two outings I am cautiously optimistic at best.
If you live in some great city where indie films draw big crowds and revival theaters show silent films with live organ music, revel in it. Send me a postcard. Hey, invite me to visit and crash on your couch. If you live in Rocket City USA, get up from the computer, turn off the TV, and get thee to an indie film. Your brain and your soul will thank you.
You can read my full review of Jodorowsky's Dune over at Examiner.com.