Saturday, February 05, 2005

Chasing Oscar, part 1

Andrew Sacks for The New York Times

My beloved hometown Michigan Theater got some national exposure in Thursday's New York Times. It's a beautiful theater, run as a non-profit organization, and truly one of Ann Arbor's cultural gems. Of all the things I miss from my hometown, the Michigan Theater is at the top of the list. They have great popcorn, too.

But Micheline Maynard's feature focused on the frustration faced by filmgoers who live in smaller cities, far from bigger cities and media centers, and don't get an opportunity to see all of the Academy Award contenders. And even when those films do open in wider release, it's months after they premiere in cities such as New York and Los Angeles, and then markets like Chicago or Seattle. But Ann Arbor has it better than, say, Iowa City. For example, "Sideways" just opened here last weekend - undoubtedly due to its Oscar nominations. It was originally released in October. I saw it in Ann Arbor over the Thanksgiving holiday.

I know it's a matter of dollars and cents. Studios and distributors can't afford to exhibit movies everywhere. And a lot of theaters will make more money showing "Are We There Yet?" and "Hide and Seek" than a smaller, independent film like "Vera Drake." That's simple reality. I just wish I didn't have to wait until the majority of these movies are released on DVD to see them.