Saturday, June 7, 2008

Making peace with the Inwood Theater, for one night

Regular readers might be familiar with my ongoing take on the decline and fall of the Inwood Theater, a classic Dallas theater that has been shucking its indie credibility in favor of more mainstream fare. Recently, they also yanked out the seats in the main auditorium and put in beanbags, love seats, sofas, and comfy chairs in their place.

Last night was my first encounter with the new look place. I attended a midnight screening of Richard Linklater's Dazed and Confused. I have to say, I kind of like the new comfy-seating set-up. It makes for a pleasant experience. Even if I might have some sentimental attachment to the old uncomfortable theater seating, I realize the kids of today might not agree. I figured my recliner would put me to sleep. Didn't happen. The film helped. It's an unusually fluid movie, built on stellar bits and pieces of teenage conversation. The amazing thing about it, as I've mentioned before, is that Linklater has written about 20 significant characters with each seemingly having his or her own particular quirks and vernacular. I'm guessing some of that is improv, but it's impressive however it was achieved.

The thing I always find funny about the film is the credits. Each actor is spotlighted with a clip of footage (sans sound) running next to the name. Of those 20 or so cast members, about 8 or 9 went on to significant entertainment careers of varying degrees after the film (Joey Lauren Adams, Milla Jovovich, and Rent's Anthony Rapp among them). Yet like many teenage films, a lot of the cast would be forgotten. That's where the humor comes. With the first 15 or so of the credits, you run through all the Jason Londons, the Wiley Wiggenses, and the Christin Hinojosas of the world. Then following all of those, within the last five credits or so, you get, oh, ..... Ben Affleck, Matthew McConaughey and Parker Posey. You know. The scraps.

In fact, I think Dazed and Confused, a small indie-ish effort at the time of release, strangely confirms the potency of star power. Even if other actors have more lines and screen time, the most strongly and fondly remembered performance is that of McConaughey. And Posey, in maybe a minute or two of screen time, gives the film one of its best scenes ("Okay, you little freshman bitches, Air Raid!") and stands out as possibly the most memorable of the female characters. That's not to say that the other actors fail to perform, or that if things hadn't worked out differently some of them might have made more of the opportunity. It's just that I don't think it was an accident that this trio moved on successfully.


Daniel G. said...

Well, maybe one night is all it takes to change your impression of a place. I definitely understood your concerns going in, but it sounds like their efforts may help the theater adapt for the future. Depends on what they play, though, right? Hopefully the best of the Landmark fare.

K. Bowen said...

Oh, my concerns are still there. But my concerns are less the furniture than the general direction of the kinds of films.