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Letter from the editors: You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone

By Jeff Boudreaux

 

As an avid movie fan(atic), I have to admit that sometimes my hopes are shattered and films that I long to see just vanish. It happened in August of last year that Open Road films inexplicably pulled Eli Roth’s latest horror opus “The Green Inferno” from their release schedule. What do you mean it’s not opening? The trailer has been playing before half of the films that I have seen lately. I’ve been looking at the poster in AMC Elmwood for months now. Sept. 5, no more. This wasn’t the first time that this has happened to me and it surely won’t be the last.

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Back in the mid-to-late 2000’s, two films from The Weinstein Company were scheduled to hit cinemas. “Killshot,” a crime thriller starring Mickey Rourke and Diane Lane was slated for a March 2006 release. The film’s awesome trailer featured Thomas Jane, Rosario Dawson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Johnny Knoxville of “Jackass” fame in a prominent and rare dramatic role. Remember his performance in the film? Neither do I. When it was finally released in January of 2009 to a literal handful of theaters, Knoxville’s part had been cut completely from the film. They blamed all of the wrangling and postponing on test audiences. A film that undoubtedly would have made several million dollars brought in a total of $18,463 – according to boxofficemojo.com.

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And then there was “Fanboys,” a comedy starring Jay Baruchel and Kristen Bell. It was set for August 2007 and had a great plot about four “Star Wars” fanatics who attempt to steal a copy of “The Phantom Menace” before its release. It introduced great comic actors such as Seth Rogen and Will Forte in very early roles. To cap it all off, there was even a terrific poster that functioned as a tribute to “Star Wars” and specifically stated its release during that year. It just wasn’t to be however, as delays and needless re-shoots pushed this promising film all the way to February 2009, where it was featured in fewer than 50 theaters.

Fanboys Original Theatrical One Sheet Movie Poster

Speaking of Seth Rogen, he’s certainly no stranger to movies getting yanked from release. One of the biggest news stories of 2014 concerned his film “The Interview” and a massive hack of Sony. The North Korean based hackers demanded that the film not be shown as planned on Christmas Day. (It was actually pushed back from a planned Fall release.) Hell, they went even further. They demanded that it never be shown in theaters or in any other form of media or America would experience another 9/11. All of the nation’s biggest theater chains became petrified and refused to show the film. As a result, Sony and its subsidiary Columbia Pictures decided to remove the film from its planned release. After a major backlash by Hollywood stars and conservative pundits alike, Sony relented by releasing it to over 500 independent cinemas across the country. These brave theater owners (including my good friend Ellis Fortinberry of Chalmette Movies) decided that our First Amendment was more important than an empty threat of terror. Merry Christmas and eat it, North Korea!

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With that crisis averted, it wasn’t long before director Eli Roth was quoted in interviews as saying that his film “The Green Inferno” will most assuredly open in theaters later this year. Coincidence? I think not. If you don’t find this exciting, then you haven’t been fruitlessly checking Roth’s Twitter account ever since September, just hoping for some kind of update. Okay, I didn’t check it every day, just every few weeks. Regardless, this is great news! Whatever legal issues that are holding this film up will be sorted out come September. (Fingers crossed.)

If you think about it, one year isn’t so bad. I mean, I’ve been waiting since 1986 (when it last played in theaters) for Disney to re-release the controversial Academy-Award winning classic “Song of the South.” The future on that looks about as bright as Jerry Lewis’ “The Day the Clown Cried” ever seeing the light of day. Sadly, it’s not going to happen. I’ve already consigned myself to the fact that I will never see Tod Browning’s 1927 classic “London after Midnight.” I’m not happy about it, but I’ve learned to live with it. The thing about that film is, it has an excuse – it’s lost. The other ones I mentioned are alive and well…dormant.

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I’ve always believed that art should be available for everyone to enjoy. It just so happens that my favorite form of art is motion pictures. Movies are all at once inspiring, arousing, incredible works of art that aren’t doing anyone any good by laying in a film canister on a shelf somewhere, collecting dust and deteriorating. If you’re not going to let me see the film that you have created, then why do you tease me with trailers, posters, or even worse – untouchable relics from a bygone era? Pablo Picasso once said that “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” Maybe it’s time to open up some vaults and dust off some souls.

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