I love movies both old and new and I have a particular sweet tooth for the wild and wonky history of the film industry. From a very early age I was fascinated with the stories behind the making of some of my favorite films and have always been extremely curious about the heroic and tragic figures that have devoted their lives to the art of making movies. Where does this unerring love and devotion come from? Chalk it up to armchair infatuation; the people who have lent their magic to films like It’s a Wonderful Life, Casablanca, The Godfather, A Place in the Sun, Sophie’s Choice, Jaws and East of Eden (among so many others) have given my inner-self so much joy and happiness over the decades that it almost feels a bit like homage to them and their efforts when I dig around for a biography to read about Frank Capra or beat the bushes for another interview with a kind soul who worked diligently on a small gem like Dogfight (of which, in the interest of full disclosure, I’m writing a book on). It’s one man’s very small way of saying “thanks” in a round-about way for all of the hours of a misspent youth. Perhaps that’s why I have an affinity for filmmaker Quentin Tarantino – because he gets what it means to count a movie like Before Sunset or Dog Day Afternoon as actual close friends, almost as if they were living and breathing entities. The auteur known for Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown speaks the coded language of “Geek”, which is to say that he knows what it’s like to be madly and passionately in love with the movie industry, troubled and as warped as it has been and, let’s face it, kiddies, still is. If you need further proof of my assertion Constant Readers, look no further than yesterday’s headline from the vaunted trade journal The Hollywood Reporter…
In a desperate time when the public is losing more and more independent movie theatres due to the worldwide pandemic – my heart still breaks over the news of the seemingly inevitable closing of L.A. landmark the ArcLight Cinema – a bit of good news was revealed on Sunday when it was announced that the historic revival theatre the New Beverly Cinema, which the writer of True Romance and Natural Born Killers outright owns, would finally be reopening to the public this June. If you’re a film buff, this news is the equivalent of discovering an unknown fourth James Dean film or getting tagged to be a walk-on in the next Martin Scorsese film. In other words, it’s a pretty big deal.
The 7165 Beverly Blvd. theatre began life in 1929 as a showcase for first-run feature films and has, over the years, garnered a deserved reputation as a house of worship to all true-blue movie nuts, showcasing glorious black and white classics, esteemed foreign films and the best of modern day arthouse cinema. This trend continued when, in 2007, Mr. Tarantino saved the New Beverly from destruction by purchasing the famed temple of cinema and continuing the years-long tradition of catering to cineastes.
The New Beverly Cinema closed last March because of COVID-19 which led to some of the more gloom and doom minded out there to suggest that the beloved movie theatre might never open back up. But, like George Bailey’s very own pillar of sanity in It’s a Wonderful Life – The Bailey Building and Loan – the closing was but a brief pause; poor old George had the Great Depression to fret about and we of the 21st Century have a pandemic, but like that stalwart hero and his family business from the classic Capra film, rumors of the New Beverly’s demise were greatly exaggerated. The bright red letters which now decorate the marquee at the New Beverly Cinema provide us all with the hope we need so desperately right now: “Re-Opening Jun1, 2021 – Because We Love Showing Movies.” Amen.