Sunday, August 14, 2011

Fade to Black

My heart was sad and I let out a heavy sigh this evening as I exited the Miracle 5 movie theater.   This was the last day of operation for this place that specialized in independent and international films.   As of the 7pm movies, the theater which has been in operation since 1968 was fading to black.  Regal Entertainment, the owner, says that it was an underperforming venue and in these economic times, you better perform or you're outta here.
The Miracle was my movie house of choice.   This is where I went to see Michael Moore documentaries, foreign-language films like  "Once Were Warriors", "The Lives of Others" and "Of Gods and Men" as well as just odd films such as "Ed Wood" and "Bubba Ho-Tep".   I saw "March of the Penguins" several times and was fascinated with "Control Room".   

It was also the place most likely to show movies with LGBT themes.  So it was only fitting that my final film at the Miracle 5 would be "Beginners", an interesting sweet and sad story about a man named Oliver (Ewan MacGregor) in mourning over the death of his father (Christopher Plummer).  Turns out the father lived the last few years of his life as an openly-gay man, something he had kept a secret throughout his 44-year marriage.  When the wife died, Plummer's character was finally free to love in the way he had wanted, only to die of lung cancer.  Still, Plummer was able to live and love fully.  Something his son was struggling to do as he mourned his father's death and the relationship he'd witnessed between his parents.

"Beginners" is not a "Harry Potter" or a "Captain America" or "The Help."  It is a film about relationships as opposed to shoot 'em ups.   It may not be the stuff of blockbusters, but it is the stuff of themes that I'm willing to pay to see on a big screen.  I'm not alone in this.  As a protest to the corporate decision, there was a large gathering of people that showed up Saturday night for a tailgate and movie party in the Miracle's parking lot.   The idea was to show the corporate number crunchers that there is an audience for such art house movies in Tallahassee.

And there really is.  The theater for the 4:10 showing today of "Beginners" was probably 40-percent full.

Still, 40-percent is not a packed house.  And probably qualifies as "underperforming."

I'm hoping that the other Regal Entertainment theatre in Tallahassee will dedicate at  least two or three of its 12 screens to showing some of the usual Miracle 5 fare.  This city, which has a film school at Florida State, really needs a place to show those movies that are characterized as "small films."

At the end of "Beginners", Oliver and his love interest in the film, Anne, are sitting next to each other as they try to begin their relationship after a lot of ups and downs.

"What happens now?" asks Oliver.

"I don't know, " says Anne.

"How does that work?"

I have the same questions about the future of such films in Tallahassee.

Good night and good bye, Miracle 5.   You've been a good show!



Anonymous said...

This is terrible news. Miracle 5 was my favorite theater. It was where I loved going to the movies when I lived in Tallahassee. They showed the films I really loved.

You are wrong Regal.


Anonymous said...

I am devastated to hear this. You didn't tell me this last night. I loved the Miracle 5. I lost my sweater there and they found it, and they showed the films I really wanted to see. Regal is wrong.


fr dougal said...

A pity, it sounds like your version of the Cameo in Edinburgh where i also saw Beginners which was beautifully acted1

SCG said...

I agree, fr dougal! Everyone did a great job in the film... especially Cosmo, who played Arthur the Jack Russell terrier. He stole many a scene for me!

SCG said...

Peggins, I'm sorry to break this news to you. The decision to close it down was very sudden. And for many people, it was a kick in the gut to have Borders go out of business... and then lose the Miracle 5 all in a month. :(

Kay & Sarah said...

Sorry to learn the this movie house is closed. A good friend, Sherie took me to see 'The Spelling Bee' there, as one of my first outings with someone. It was a powerful day all around. A trans woman with a friend.

Good memories, very good indeed!

SCG said...

I saw "Spelling Bee" there as well, and *loved* it. What a wonderfully positive experience for you at our wonderfully old theater!
FYI... the Tallahassee Film Society which is a non-profit in town that shows movies at our defunct Amtrak station says it plans to "fill the void" by the departure of the Miracle. We'll see. They've retained the documentary "Page One: Inside the NY Times" that had been showing at Miracle 5 this past weekend.