Thursday, September 10, 2015

Sunset Cinema: Back to the Future Rooftop Film Club

After seeing some light Back to the Future goodness at Universal Studios Saturday morning, that evening we headed to Hollywood for a screening of the classic 1985 flick. We've seen Future a half dozen times over the years in settings as varied as The Egyptian Theatre for a marathon (twice), a theater converted into a Church in Hollywood (where they stopped the movie midway for a cosplay contest), outside at the awesome but now defunct Oscars Outdoors and downtown at the renovated Ace Theatre. This 7th or 8th time out would be part of the new Rooftop Film Club series out of London and New York. Repertory titles play near every night on the roof of The Montalban Theatre on Vine, named after actor Ricardo of Star Trek II fame. Just around the corner from The Acrlight, Pantages and happy hour spot The Well, I had no clue the place existed.

Unlike your usual outdoor venues where you lug in blankets, chairs, snacks and booze, Rooftop provides rows of deck chairs and headphones with blankets, dranks and snacks available. It was a terrific setting and the ambiance was quite nice but the viewing experience itself leaves much to be desired. To start, the deck chairs are not very comfortable. The wooden frame cuts into the back of your legs and apparently being 5'8" with a weight lifting background made me too wide for the chair as the wood dug into my back and shoulders. By 7:30 PM it was getting dark and a host said we'd start in a few minutes...which turned out to be 30...Back to the Future is of course a classic flick and this time out I noticed how nuanced the performances of Christopher Lloyd as Doc Brown and Crispen Glover as George McFly were in terms of physical tics and body language. Pretty sure Michael Richards' performance as Cosmo Kramer from Seinfeld owes Lloyd a debt. Being given wireless headphones was a new development but I'm sure there's noise ordinances in the area plus there's lots of honking and yelling from the busy Sunset Blvd nearby. But using the headphones really destroyed the communal aspect of watching the film for me. All in, an interesting night but not something I'd do again.

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