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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The superbowl

Superbowl Sunday! Late post here. Superbowl Sunday was, well, super dull really. I have never been a big NFL, the only actual reason I give a hoot is mainly because of the former Oregon running back Legarrette Blount, who just had his rookie year with the Tampa Bay Bucs and he was spectacular. He made quite a few highlight reels on sportscenter especially with his crazy hurdling abilities which show that he hasn't lost a step with his entrance into the NFL. It's like watching him play at Oregon again. No offense to LMJ, but the Legarrette was the most entertaining and unbelievable Oregon back of all time. But I am getting off topic.
Superbowl! Yeah kind of dull. The halftime show was pretty God awful, but I think we have come to expect that especially with the slew of has beens that have populated the halftime show as of late. While the Black Eyed Peas are very current, their live music sounded atrocious. They did put on a good light show, I'll give them that. What made the day for me was the new trailers for three films, "Cowboys and Aliens"(2011), "Captain America"(2011), and "Super 8"(2011).
I have to admit, like a lot of people of was unsure what "Cowboys and Aliens" was supposed to be. That is what genre. Is it meant to be serious? Comedy? Jon Favreau cleared that up for a lot of people after the Superbowl tv spot aired saying that it was not a comedy, but just a good fun film. This is the guy who directed both "Iron Man" films, and even if the second was a tad disappointing I think this movie is right up his alley. It can't hurt having Daniel Craig headlining it either.
I have never been a comic book guy. I know a lot of the characters and all that, but have never been in that particular fanbase. The one I am most familiar with is one that everybody knows; "Spider-man". I know little about "Captain America" but the trailer looked awesome! It gave off a cool 1940s sci-fi feel, something that I am a sucker for.
Just like "Cloverfield"(2008) was in the days before it's release, not much is being revealed about the latest J.J. Abram's film "Super 8" (2011) although it does have something to do with aliens. This one also yields that same campy sci-fi feel.
Highlights of the Superbowl! Thank you tv spots!

Monday, January 31, 2011

2010 Oscars

     I have never had the satisfaction of watching all the oscar nominated films and performances before the oscars, but this year I promised myself that I would do just that in time for awards show, but even as I type I know that I have a long ways to go and that there is less than a month to go until the winners are announced. Of the ten best picture nominees I have viewed half, thus far neglecting to see "127 Hours"(2010), "The Kids are all Right"(2010), "The King's Speech"(2010), "Toy Story 3"(2010), and "Winter's Bone"(2010). These five have not caught my eye like the other five nominees that I have seen. Unlike most people I have never been a big "Toy Story" person. With "127 Hours"  I merely quake in my shoes whenever I hear about the horribly intense self-amputation scene. "The Kids are all Right"(2010) I don't agree with the morals or political agenda. "Winter's Bone" don't like the setting, lame excuse I know, but I'm very particular about stuff like that when it comes to movies. "Kings Speech"seems to me like a talky period piece, although I have heard many reports about how there is never a dull moment in it. The point is, is that I should have seen these movies by now so that when it comes oscar time I can in unbiased fashion choose the movie I believe is the best picture.
     I should have learned my lesson with "The Social Network"(2010) a movie that I had no desire to see, but did eventually see. I went into the theatre with preconceived notions, almost positive that I would dislike the film because I wasn't a fan of the cast or director. I couldn't have been more wrong and have sense added "The Social Network" into my list of top ten favorite films.
     Out of the five movies I have seen; "True Grit"(2010), "The Social Network"(2010), "Black Swan"(2010), "The Fighter"(2010), and "Inception"(2010) I would not be able to pick a winner because all of the films are superb and very different from eachother. The oscars have a wide range of films this year; the story of a crazy ballerina, the origins of the monster we know as facebook, the search for the man who murdered a little girl's father in a 19th century western, the trials of boxer Mickey Ward, and the story of a man "who specializes in a very specific type of security" with Christopher Nolan's mind teaser "Inception". Each of these films are good enough in their own right to warrant a separate oscar category. I can not choose one out of five and doubt if the viewing of five more contenders will aid in the process.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Research paper on The Bijou Theatre in Eugene, OR

     One of my first research papers that was on a small locally owned theatre in the town of Eugene, OR.

       The independently owned Bijou theatre has been part of Eugene's community for 30 years now. It is a unique theatre that mainly shows independent, foreign and hard to find films. The Bijou is located on 13th Street near the U of O which provides a major part of it's revenue, obviously due to all the students. The Alternative city of Eugene is the perfect place for such a theatre. The Bijou also has re-runs of such classics as "The Rocky Horror Picture show" and also has events like Oscar night, where they show the oscars on the big screen. It is a big part of Eugene and is really a unique theatre with a interesting history and a few interesting inhabitants of the theatre itself.
     1980 Eugene-Springfield area had a large offering of theaters to choose from, eleven in all: The Eugene Drive-in, The Mayflower, Valley River Twin, The National, Cinema World, Cinema 7, West 11th Drive-in, West 11th Walk-in, Mckenzie, Oakway Cinema, And West 11th Movieland 6. As far as I know these were all owned by corporations excepting Cinema 7 which was independently owned like The Bijou(1).   
     The Bijou theatre was opened in October 16, 1980 by Robert Mcneely, who later changed his name to Michael Lamont, as a single screen 120 seat movie theatre that specialized in independent films. The building the theatre had moved into was a old spanish missionary style church that was constructed in 1925 by The University of Oregon's own W.R.B. Wilcox who was the first dean of the architect school. It was originally the home of the first congregational Church, United Church for Christ.  In 1956 it became McGaffey and Andreason Mortuary(2). Lamont had always been interested in films and it was at the Waco Twin Cinemas on Franklin Boulevard in Springfield that Lamont learned how to use a projector. After discovering that the Wilcox building had space open, which was formerly a chapel, he opened the bijou in 1980 by selling his photography equipment(3). The Bijou's first films were Get out Your Handkerchiefs(1978), The Rink(1916) a Chaplin short, The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour(1967), Beatles Tokyo(1966), and Flash Gordon(1980)(4). They charged two dollars per ticket. In 1981 Lamont and his partner W.H Taft Chatham updated the theatre from a 120 seats to 142 and from a 16mm projection equipment to 32mm and they also updated the screen to a Silver-gio screen. Tickets prices jumped fifty cents after the update(5). Lamont again updated the Bijou in July of 1987 by investing $45,000 to add a second theatre that seated 92 people(6). Lamont had been planning on adding another theatre from as early as 1982, but had trouble because of an appeal by a neighbor who thought the noise and traffic would be unbearable(7).
     Lamont ran the Bijou from 1980-2001. He was then diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease which prevented him from running the theatre as his medical condition worsened. From 2002-2007 the present owner, Louise Thomas, then the manager of the theatre, ran it for Lamont who died in December of 2007 leaving the future of the Bijou in question. In June 2010 after nearly two years of not knowing what the fate of the theatre was to be, it was announced that Louise Thomas was going to buy it. Lamont's sister, Michaele Rychetsky of Bend, Oregon, became the owner after Lamont’s death and was the seller(8). 
     One of the most surprising things I discovered in my research is that contrary to what I thought, and I'm sure most people would think, Michael Lamont was not a liberal, but a hardcore republican, passionately so. He loved Rush Limbaugh, supported Bush Senior's Gulf War decision, and even protested against Bill Clinton when he came to Eugene. The Bijou is such an artsy and alternative theatre that shows numerous films with liberal agendas that it would seem unthinkable that the original owner would be the exact opposite(9).
     The Bijou Cinemas is only one of two independently owned theaters in Eugene the other being the David Minor theatre which opened up back in 2008. When the Bijou first opened there was another independent theatre, Cinema 7 owned by Steve Bove, which opened in 1974. Cinema 7 had a single theatre that sat 120 people and like the Bijou it often had showings of, "a mix of foreign films, HollyWood Classics and occasional second-run and "revival" features”(10). Cinema 7 closed in 1987 leaving the Bijou as the only independently owned theatre and only theatre who's main films were independent, that is until Steve Bove opened another theatre this time in Springfield, The Mercury Theater, taking over the building that the last theater, The Fine Arts Theater on 630 Main St. Springfield, used to inhabit. Bove again showed films like the one's he showed in his Cinema 7 theatre. His plan was to postpone any major renovations until the new lease in late 1989. Tickets ran from $2.50 to $3.50(11). Unfortunatley Bove had no luck with The Mercury Theater which only remained open for approximately a year and a half and closed in mid July of 1989, due to what seemed to be lack of leasing payments and a lack of sufficient audience. This again left the Bijou Theatre as the only independently owned theatre in Eugene until the David Minor Theatre opened in 2008.
     Other than being a theatre, it was also the home of a cat and still the home of- depending what you believe, it could go either way really-a ghost, one Kate by name. The cat was famous enough to warrant itself an newspaper article upon its death in the Guard. Boo, was 22 when she left this world on March 8, 2009, and was only a few pounds lighter than her age. Boo was such a popular creature that people would even drop by the theatre to say hullo to her. She also received birthday cards and gifts and a shrine was even made for her at the time of her death, composed of cards and flowers that were placed on the seat she had made her own in the theatre lobby. She was a big part of the theatre and even made her way into the Bijou’s advertising(12).
     The Pacific Paranormal Research Society, investigated the Bijou and supposedly found paranormal activity in theatre 2. Theatre 1 is supposedly haunted as well. Theatre 2 was the room that housed the dead back when the bijou was a funeral home. An employee as well as several movie goers have claimed to see spirits in the supposed haunted theatre number 2(13 and 14).
     After 30 years of business and with a new owner as of this year the Bijou is still running strong and looks like it will continue to benefit the Eugene Community with it’s fine films and popcorn for the for see able future.

Blog post the first-An Intro of Sorts

    Here goes nothing! My main goal for starting a blog is to keep on top of my writing, this means that I will attempt to publish a minimum of 5 blog post per week. The topic of these blogs will vary quite often as I have a lot of likes and dislikes. Likes at the moment include, The Oregon Ducks, The Portland Trailblazers, Portland in general, film, books, and a variety of other things that I can not recall at the moment, but I'm sure will make an appearance in a blog or two. Occasionally I will go on "rants" which may be produced in a moment of fury or of joy. These could be anything from whats wrong with the world to the importance of an ant colony to human survival.
    The main point to take from all this is that the topics will be quite different. To reiterate this whole ordeal is just to keep me writing so I can improve one of the most valuable skills known to man kind.