My Take by Jim Carl - December 14, 2011

MY TAKE is a blog about my funny life experiences that happened to involve movies, and how I found myself in charge of programming films for a living.  I’ll discuss how certain movies came to be responsible for my bad attitude, memories, associations, personal beliefs, and plain stupidity. Yes, I fully intend to trash films considered sacred in certain circles, and will probably offer a poor explanation for doing so. I also intend to squander praise on movies considered awful by most everyone, even if it makes me sound ridiculous, because I have a funny memory to share about them.  Again, I’m not writing reviews.  All I mean to do here is tell some good stories, and perhaps a clever lie or two.  No one has ever accused me of suffering a shortage of ways to make a fool of myself, and because blogging is one I haven’t tried, at least this is one most of my friends haven’t yet seen.

PEE-WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE (1985)
No film released during my high school years caused more debate between me and my friends than Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure.  They thought it was brilliant.  I thought it was the stupidest thing I'd ever seen, and I didn't mind telling them they were stupid for liking it, which was unimportant anyways, because they were all gonna end up polishing tokens over at that X-rated bookstore in Abilene, because that's the cruel hand that fate dealt to stupid people who liked stupid movies like Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, right?  They didn't think so.  In fact, they thought this guy, Tim Burton, might have a long career ahead of him in Hollywood.

And what would they know about Hollywood, I argued, having recently spent the summer in Los Angeles to visit my mother, and still clutching my souvenir guide to the Universal Studios Backlot Tour?  Nothing, absolutely nothing, I told them, because Tim Burton wasn't mentioned at any point by any person of importance during my stay at Universal, that's why.  They said it would someday happen. They were right. 

It was the first time in my life that I hated a movie so much, it eventually got the better of me. Was I so arrogant in those days?  Probably.  So many of us were.  To this day, I cannot think of the Alamo without also thinking about that silly red bicycle. Tim Burton became...well, Tim Burton, whom I will forever despise for not having the good sense to prove me right.  Whenever I hear that he's releasing a new picture, it makes me feel better imagining there is now a 30-acre mall devoted to X-rated bookstores in Abilene, Texas.  If this isn't true, please don't tell me.

JIM CARL is Senior Director of the Carolina Theatre.  He has been in charge of its film program since 1995.  Some of his favorite contemporary movies include True Grit, The Queen, True Lies, Postcards from the Edge, Star Trek, Aliens, The Fog (1980), Private Benjamin, What’s Up, Doc? and almost anything involving Great White Sharks, Jamie Lee Curtis, Gilda Radner, Kurt Russell, or is set underwater.  His favorite movie of all time is Ordinary People.  Some of his least-favorite contemporary movies include 300, Alien 3, Brazil, Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, Moulin Rouge, G.I. Joe, District 9, Take Me Home Tonight, The Tourist, Sherlock Holmes, O Brother Where Art Thou?, Scarface (1983) and almost anything involving Ben Stiller (except Flirting with Disaster), British gangsters, or a toy that transforms into a loudmouthed robot.  His least-favorite movie of all time is Pulp Fiction.  He is a firm believer in the presentation and preservation of 35mm film and will book any movie he suspects will make money, even if he hates it. 
     

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