Keeping The Faith In Hollywood!

Keeping The Faith In Hollywood!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

AFI Night At The Movies

More Special Film Screenings and Panel Discussions:

I attended Target presents AFI's Night At The Movies on October 1, 2008, which is a yearly event showcasing movies that made AFI 100 Best Film lists or one of the 400 films nominated for consideration for the list. I wanted to see West Side Story presented by Rita Morena. I have been a fan of Rita Moreno since a child and had sent a hello to her through a friend of hers, who had danced in West Side Story and who I had met the night before the Oscars in February 2008. Unfortunately, all the tickets sold out in a flash so the next best bet for me were The Man Who Would Be King which was being presented by Sean Connery, The Matrix or Glory presented by Denzel Washington but all of these were sold out also. I paid $25 and bought tickets for Something About Mary to be presented by Cameron Diaz. Though I liked the movie well enough I just bought the ticket so that I could at least have a ticket to attend the event. I then went on e-bay and found out why all the tickets had sold so quickly. All the scalpers had snapped up tix to sell online for 2-3X the price but West Side Story tix still weren't available. I got a good seat for The Matrix for $60 that I was very lucky to get especially for the price. I tried to sell my Something About Mary tix the day of but got major attitude at the event from the staff because it's a fundraiser so I just donated the cost.

It was a great night! First, the Austin Powers look-alike flirted with me on red carpet and I was with the crush of photogs waiting to see what Cameron Diaz would be wearing. Then we were ushered into the theater just before the stars appeared for the red carpet. We had a long wait but free popcorn and soda and making new friends made it a bit easier. They had to relocate me because the camera man needed my spot to position the camera to tape the star on stage. I was a bit bummed out with the move but I ended up with the best seat in the house for viewing the movie's intro. Keanu Reeves arrived and did a 15 minute introduction of The Matrix. He spoke mostly about its themes and what drew him to film and he introduced the producer who was in the audience. He took his seat and we all settled down to watch the movie. Boy , that movie still holds up and I even got goosebumps as the opening scenes began.

Speaking of which, I attended the Matrix 10th Anniversary panel and trilogy at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica in March 2009. We watched the fist Matrix movie then heard from the panel with Zach Staenberg (editor, Academy Award-winner), Kym Barrett (costume designer) and Dane A. Davis (supervising sound editor, Academy Award-winner), Owen Patterson (production designer) and moderated by author, Eric Lichtenfeld. The theater was filled with many college -aged students but a large amount of fans in their 40's and 50's.

Directors and brothers Larry and Andy Wachowski were not slated to appear but I had seen them up close and personal at the Speed Racer premiere in Summer 2008 so that was okay. Kym Barrett actually didn't make it but the rest of the panel was great. They all remarked that they had not seen the movie in the 10 years since the movie premiered and they were surprised how well it held up and how enjoyable it still was to them. I got to speak to everyone after the panel and ask them questions (especially Owen Patterson). Yes, I asked them many, many questions mostly about how they successfully put the science into sci-fi. I also got to shake every one's hand and to thank them for one of my favorite movies ever. The panel seemed genuinely surprised at the fan response 10 years later but they were appreciative of our praise of their work.

I wore my little cross card pinned to my lapel and it was received well as there were many Christians in attendance besides myself. I asked Mr. Patterson what he was doing so far from home as he lives in Australia and has worked on most of the movies there. He said he was working on a new movie in L.A. and that he had a place to stay here also. He explained to me a bit more about what his job on set is like and his hopes for the new film he was working on. I told him that I was praying that God would continue to bless him in everything. He said thank you and was very touched by my prayer and concern. One college age guy thanked them and wished them "Happy Easter" and "Happy Passover" and everyone concurred.

We were ushered back into our seats and we watched Matrix Reloaded and it's terrific fight scenes. I left half way through Matrix Revolutions as it was nearly midnight and I had been sitting for hours. To tell you the truth, I'm not a fan of the other 2 movies and especially not Revolutions. I felt that Revolutions was confusing and unsatisfying as the conclusion of the trilogy especially because it strayed from the Judeo-Christian themes of the original. I think if the Wachowski's had stayed true to Christian principles, the subsequent movies would have been great. Still, theses films grossed over $400 million each, which is nothing to laugh at.

The blue ray box set of The Matrix trilogy was released to commemorate the original movie's 1oth Anniversary this year. They raffled off 3 free sets to lucky audience members before the panel and the winners looked really stoked to have won.
Aero Theatre 1328 Montana Avenue Santa Monica, CA 90403

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