Secret Screening

“I think it’s much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong. I have approximate answers and possible beliefs and different degrees of uncertainty about different things, but I am not absolutely sure of anything and there are many things I don’t know anything about, such as whether it means anything to ask why we’re here. I don’t have to know an answer. I don’t feel frightened not knowing things, by being lost in a mysterious universe without any purpose, which is the way it really is as far as I can tell.”

― Richard P. Feynman

A terrible Blackberry photo of my folding Xootr Swift parked next to a Yuba cargo bike (set up to carry a whole family) outside the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. Two different philosophies on urban bicycling.

Jesus! I almost completely forgot!

It was six forty today and I was puttering around the house doing six-forty PM sorts of things when I remembered that over a week ago I had bought a movie ticket for a seven o’clock movie tonight.

An email had arrived touting a “Secret Screening” at the Alamo Drafthouse Richardson. That is where, for a discount ticket of six bucks, you get to see a movie – probably a genre movie from decades past – but you don’t know what movie you are going to see until it starts. I know that sounds nuts – but it is the sort of thing I can’t resist. When I checked the seating – although it was almost two weeks out – there were only single seats left, the others had already sold out. So I bought a ticket and proceeded to forget about it until six forty tonight.

Luckily, the Alamo isn’t very far away (remember – that theater chain won’t let you in after the movie starts) and I through some pants on and jumped in my car. It has been eleven days since I retired and this is the first time I’ve been in my car (I have ridden with other folks) since I stopped working. All other trips have been by bike – and I would have ridden to the Alamo if I had remembered earlier. Luckily, it started right up and shook the summer dust off and made it to the theater with a few minutes to spare. I need to get over being a boomer and learn a decent, reliable system of reminders for my phone.

I ordered a Temptress and sad back to see what movie we were going to be treated to.

It was a film called Prime Cut from 1972. When the name was announced, I didn’t think I had seen it, but when the guy came out and started to talk about it I realized that I had seen it, when it was released, but had not thought about it for, maybe, forty years. Let’s see, in 1972 I was in Nicaragua, so I would have seen it a year later – so I saw it in 1973 – forty-nine years ago. I remembered little bits about it – it was set in Kansas City, my old stomping grounds – and although KC is actually in Missouri, the film takes place in rural Kansas – though it isn’t a very good representation (there is a scene with a combine – a very good scene – an homage to North by Northwest – but the combine does something that combines can’t do – and believe me, I used to drive one of the damn things).

It’s a mob movie set in the wheat fields, a ton of violence and nudity, completely politically incorrect, a movie that could never be made today. It was of its time – a true genre film but with a strange, dark sense of humor. A lot of black comedy in the film.

One thing unusual for a movie of this type is that all three main characters are played by actors that won academy awards (four in total). The anti-hero is played by Lee Marvin, the bad guy by Gene Hackman, and Sissy Spacek – in her first speaking movie roll (four years before Carrie).

The crowd was into it – it’s the kind of people that will pack a theater to see a movie when they don’t know what it will be. They laughed at the anachronisms and sick humor and cheered the ending and again after the credits.

So I guess I had better check the calendar and buy tickets for next month’s Secret Screening. They teased us and said that since it was the 90th Secret Screening it would be a film from the 90’s – not much of a clue.

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