Thursday, August 14, 2008

My Summer, Your Summer

You still have a few weeks left this summer. Check out some films. And when I say "check out," I don't just mean "see." I mean, "sign out something from the library." 

Look, Syracuse is a boosh-wah town. Finding great movies here is sometimes impossible. There simply aren't enough theaters. And the only "art" theater, the Manlius Cinema, looks like the interior of one of those military transport planes. Plus, the seats are lousy. The lines of sight stink. You can't find a place to park. 

This is where the library comes in. Get a library card, if you don't have one. Make sure you have a PIN (a code in addition to your library card number); check with a branch librarian to get one. This will allow you to order anything from the library system and have it sent to your closest branch. The Onondaga County library is at They have obscure films, old films, foreign films, films that should have had a larger release--and would have if the theaters didn't run the latest superhero film on several screens every hour of the day for months on end (until the scheduled DVD release).

Hey, I'm not bashing superhero movies. I'm a big comic book fan. I saw the Iron Man, Hulk, and Batman movies this summer (in the company of some highly educated fellow teachers!). But the finest in film is hard to find here--or hard to catch because, if it comes, it comes and goes like lightning. 

So in the time remaining, find some of the better reviewed movies that you never got to see last year. Adult movies, not movies designed for not-terribly-clever 12-year-olds. Go to and watch every trailer there to get a sense of all the things you won't be seeing in Syracuse next year, then make a note of those films so you can see them later.

Oh. And challenge yourself with some books while you're at it. Summer, for me, is reading time. I recommend going to 2nd Story Books, on Westcott Street; they have a small collection, but it's international and interesting. Fiction is where anything is possible, and the great writers know no bounds.

One more thought: Read Watchmen--not just one of the great books, but one of the great books period--before you see the film. I like what I've seen in the trailer (it captures the visual sense of the book without merely looking like a comic book that's been slapped onto the screen), but this is the director who gave us such dubious achievements as 300, so I wouldn't expect the movie to live up to the book.

No comments: