Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Decline and Fall of the Inwood Theater

During the 1990s heyday of indie filmmaking, the epicenter of the movement in Dallas was the Landmark Inwood Theater. It's a wonderful relic, an old movie house spruced up a bit for modern movie tastes while retaining its original flavor. It is even said to have a ghost that haunts it. I've seen many good first-run films there, but the real joy has been with its midnight Friday and Saturday night showings. I've seen Vertigo, Singin' in the Rain, The Godfather, Ju Dou, Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, Blade Runner, etc. at that odd hour with some of the most cock-eyed assemblages of humanity. My favorite was the time that a man and woman entered to see Rushmore, I think. Maybe Singin' in the Rain. They were coming from a night on the town, likely in the adjoining Inwood Lounge, and the woman was wearing very high stilleto heels. She was also incredibly intoxicated and she showed the balance of a dreydl walking down the aisle. But I digress .....

My point is, look at the shameful lineup of films playing this week at the Inwood. 88 Minutes. Leatherheads. Made of Honor. Made of Honor? These are films you can get at any moviehouse in the Metroplex. The only one remotely in the neighborhood of indie is Leatherheads, based on George Clooney's delight in cinema history. But then again, it has George Clooney! I mean, Made of Honor? Do they have to disinfect the theater between showings? What the fuck, I saw Grizzly Man in this theater!!!

The Devil Wears Prada was a hint, but at least that is a decent film with a standout Meryl Streep performance and was based on a book, however flimsy the literary merit. When it played Enchanted first-run, there really was no excuse, and that was surely a sign of things to come. But Made of Honor? Made of Honor? Hell, Iron Man has more artistic merit! Perhaps the film programmer is a Gray's Anatomy junkie who has carved out a special programming exception for Patrick "McDreamy" Dempsey. Which would be an explanation. It certainly would not be an excuse.

I suppose they would say it's business. But why would someone drive into Dallas to an old movie theater to see Made of Honor when they could see it down the road at the year-or-two-old AMC theater at NorthPark Mall? Does that make business sense?

If you want to see corporate creep into the film industry, here it is.


Daniel G. said...

Wow, that's pretty shameful. I've lived in 3 cities with great Landmark theaters (Boston, San Diego, Minneapolis), but I hope this never happens. Ugh, there should be a demonstration outside the theater.

K. Bowen said...

Well, there is another Landmark here, the Magnolia. It's newer and pretty good. In fact, that's part of the problem. It used to be that arthouse stuff would play the Inwood, maybe with a fewe screens at larger megaplexes, and that was it. Now there is the additional Landmark, and two Angelikas. It must be hard for the Inwood to compete.

Still, Made of Honor?