Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Next-to-Last Picture Show

It was pure luck that I hadn't seen SHOOTER yet, so I decided that a trip out to Westwood to go to the National one last time needed to be done. I went to the 7:20, not the 10:10;sure, the final one would have been preferable, but I have to get up too early.

I don't go to Westwood much anymore. It was already starting to go downhill when I got here but there was still a fun college atmosphere in the air for the most part. I have lots of fun memories of going to those theaters and hanging out on Friday nights. Simply put, it doesn't feel that way anymore.

Going back even further, my memories of visiting L.A. with my family when I was a kid are maybe memories of an L.A. that was never really there. What I remember is a certain feel, that certain architecture that is associated with the 60s and the 70s, maybe how Century City used to look, parts of Beverly Hills that have changed too much by now. The National in Westwood, with its distinctive look and spacious second-floor lobby, had it. It was never a particularly beautiful place and the color of the curtain in the actual theater is even slightly-ugly, but the place has That Feel to it. The theater is big, the screen is big. I was very glad that SHOOTER, the last film I was going to see there, was in Scope, which really showed off how cool a place it could be.

There's no great or lasting point I can make here except to say that movie theaters at their best can feel like cathedrals to me. And a city like L.A., and an area like Westwood, remains unique because of places unlike those you find anywhere else. And when a theater like the National is removed, it makes that place that much less special. It's a shame.

And just for the record, SHOOTER actually turned out to be pretty good. For the memory of the theater, I'm glad about that.

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