(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘cult film

“Where there is ruin, there is hope for a treasure”*…

Shakespeare, New Mexico

Shakespeare, New Mexico has a fraught history. Built around a desert spring, it was an Apache settlement, then a stage stop on the route linking St. Louis and San Francisco in the mid-18th century. When silver was found nearby, its population briefly soared to 3,000; but as the deposits nearby were meager, the propectors– and almost everyone else– left, leaving only the proprietor of the stage stop. Then in 1879, The Shakespeare Mining Company filed claims for a number of neglected mines in the area. Its Anglophile owners changed the town’s name to Shakespeare, dubbed the main street “Avon Avenue,” and called the hotel (which they built within the walls of a Civil War fort) “The Stratford.” But the Silver Panic of 1893 turned Shakespeare into a ghost town once and for all. Even the stage stop was gone (as the railroad had built a stop in nearby Lordsburg).

There are dozens of stories like this, all illustrated with photos like the one above, in Daniel and Ligian Ter-Nedden‘s Ghost Town Gallery.

* Rumi

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As we ruminate on ruins, we might recall that it was on this date in 1997 that Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion premiered. A deserved cult classic, it’s the story of two 28 year-old women who fear that their achievements-to-date are underwhelming, so invent fake careers for their ten-year high school class reunion. Beyond that hilarity that ensues, it’s a testament to the acting skills of the two leads that they were each playing against their own backgrounds (Lisa Kudrow graduated from Vassar; Mira Sorvino, from Harvard).

Michele : Did you lose weight?

Romy : Actually, I have been trying this new fat free diet I invented. All I’ve had to eat for the past six days are gummy bears, jelly beans, and candy corns.

Michele : God, I wish I had your discipline.

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“The most beautiful sight in a movie theater is to walk down to the front, turn around, and look at the light from the screen reflected on the upturned faces of the members of the audience”*…

Back in the early 1990s, movie theaters weren’t that great. The auditoriums were cramped and narrow, and the screen was dim. But in 1995, the AMC Grand 24 in Dallas changed everything. It was the very first movie megaplex in the United States. This is the gigantic, neon, big-box store of moviegoing that we’re all used to  today, and it’s easy to dismiss as a tacky ‘90s invention. But the megaplex—specifically this first megaplex in Dallas—upended the entire theater business and changed the kinds of movies that got made in ways you might not imagine…

A plethora of choice, stadium seating, a surge of independent films, the move to 3-D and IMAX– how the rise of the multi-cinema shaped movie-going and movies: “The Megaplex!” from the ever-fascinating 99% Invisible.

* François Truffaut, as quoted by Gene Siskel

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As we salt our popcorn, we might recall that it was on this date in 1921 that The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari was released in the U.S., roughly a year after it’s release (as Das Kabinett des Doktor Calagari in its native Germany. Directed by Robert Wiene and written by Hans Janowitz and Carl Mayer, it is considered the quintessential work of German Expressionist cinema… and was hailed by Roger Ebert as arguably “the first true horror film” and by Danny Peary as cinema’s first cult film and a precursor for arthouse films.

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Written by (Roughly) Daily

March 19, 2021 at 1:01 am

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