Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Monday Night Moon-vie

Since moving to New York, I've been disturbed by how much everything costs. There is so much to do here, but having any kind of social life basically means kissing all of your money goodbye. I've heard tales of cheap and free things to do around town, and I'm finally realizing that these aren't just urban myths. They do exist. Perhaps because it's summer there are more of these events to go around but, whatever the reason, I'm all for it. Tonight, I took in my first free movie at Bryant Park.

For those of you who've never been, Bryant Park is a lovely little area in the heart of Midtown Manhattan that boats a gorgeous lawn, surrounded by flowers and trees. It's a favorite lunch spot for workers in the area, and I'm now lucky enough to be working a mere four blocks from there. Every year, the park hosts the HBO Summer Film Festival and will be screening such classic movies as The Sting, Casablanca and Psycho this year. I went tonight with some friends to see the Ryan & Tatum O'Neal grifter flick, Paper Moon. It's one of those movies that I've always wanted to see, and I'm happy to say that I wasn't disappointed. I can certainly understand why little Tatum won an Academy Award for her performance, as she effortlessly walked the line between vulnerable little girl and tough mini-adult. Tatum actually showed up to introduce the movie - a reminder to anyone distracted by the serene garden setting that we were still in the Big Apple.

For anyone who's seen Paper Moon and Better Off Dead...did the writers of the latter draw inspiration from Tatum O'Neal's character, Addie, in creating the character of the paperboy? The paperboy's angry demands for the $2 that Lane owes him seem very similar to Addie's for the $200 that Moze owes her. The characters' snarling expressions are even frighteningly similar!

Prior to the movie, the old bumper that was used to intro HBO feature presentations was played and about 80% of the crowd went nuts. Everyone was jumping and dancing around, much to my amusement and confusion. My friend, Stephanie, explained that it was some kind of Bryant Park tradition to dance to the intro music. I'm not sure why that is, but that didn't stop me from joining in. I hadn't seen that intro since I was a kid, so it was pretty cool to be reminded of it. It took me back to the days of furtively watching movies that I really wasn't allowed to watch. And without HBO back then, I might have never been introduced to the greatest Michael Keaton movie, ever.


Karen said...

Sounds like a great time! And brings back the good ole' days of the drive in (minus the cars of course). I must admit, I've not yet seen Paper Moon but will check it out when I get a chance.

Alice said...

ha! they have free movies on the mall in the summer down here in DC, and people dance during the intro here too. i had no idea why, and always felt like i was missing out on some awesome inside joke.

Coaster Punchman said...

I haven't done that in a number of years. My office is also right around the corner. The first film I saw there was Mildred Pierce - it was hysterical when they announced it over the loudspeaker because the announcer had the thickest, most classic New York accent you could imagine: "Welcome to da summah movies at Bryant Paaak. Tanight's featu-ah is Mildred Peeace." The crowd laughed.

Beth said...

They're showing many of those same films at Piedmont Park here in Atlanta. Wish they'd show Night Shift!

Stewart Sternberg said...

I wish I lived in New York, but I probably wouldn't be able to afford it. Freebies? I even ferret out free stuff here in Michigan..and then once I do, I tend to avoid them.

I think it would be fun to take off cross country in a car with an itinerary of such things as the free movie event at the park or the flotilla race that some maniacs participate up near where I live.

X. Dell said...

The university used to be across the steet from Bryant Park. And I lived a couple of blocks over on west 44th. For years, no one would go there because of the muggers, the dope deals, etc. But they re-did it, so that it became a great place to hang out, movie or no movie.

But the movie series was nice.

Now that you reminded me of the flicks, maybe I'll go see one.

Writeprocrastinator said...

I want my momma's records back!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I haven't seen Paper Moon either, but I was pretty sure the greatest Michael Keaton movie ever was Johnny Dangerously.

But that park is so pretty I would even sit through Eraserhead to be there.

chelene said...

Summer is definitely chock full of free stuff. Last year I did an opera in the park. Aside from the massive amounts of people who also had the same brilliant idea, I had a great time.

Travis said...

Free movies in the park? Coolness!

LoraLoo said...

That sounds like a lot of fun! I seriously can't wait to visit NYC someday.

I remember watching Night Shift on HBO when I was a kid too, LOL.

We have some parks that do free movies around here too, but it's still over 100 at sundown right now, so I am not sure how many people go....

Perplexio said...

Better Off Dead is one of my favorite films and Paper Moon is pretty damn good too.

I like Ryan O'Neal's acting even if everything I've ever read about him indicates he's generally a bad father and an asshole.

Malcolm said...

At last, I come across someone besides me who made the Paper Moon/Better Off Dead connection. I love it when Addie grits her teeth and tells Moze to "get it" after he says he doesn't have the $200 anymore. According to the commentary on the DVD, Peter Bogdonavich instructed Tatum to deliver the line like John Wayne...adding that Addie had Moze by the balls. Peter said that this got a laugh out of Tatum.

Dale said...

Excellent sounding time Beckeye and it brought me back, Paper Moon is the first film I remember seeing at the drive-in with my sister and her date (quite a night for them I guess) and I believe another sibling. I was scandalized by the 'let Miss Trixie sit up front with her big tits'.


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