Paramount Theatre: Classic Pix Fix Quix

As the Paramount Summer Classic Film Series comes to a close, we are reminded of staying cool on hot nights inside the beautiful theater on Congress Avenue.

The series traditionally ‘fades in’ with a near sellout showing of Casablanca. You’ll never know the laughs, the applause, and the sighs that occur throughout this film by watching it at home. The chuckles at Peter Lorre, Claude Rains and Carl the waiter, are funnier in a theater full of people. The power of everyone singing La Marseillaise over the Germans is heavy.

Plus, the Paramount has beer and wine, so it’s a great date night.

This year, we saw Sweet Smell of Success – a first for both of us, and the snappy dialogue reminded me that a character in Diner was constantly rattling off some of the lines between Lancaster’s J.J. Hunsecker, and Tony Curtis’s Sydney Falco. We also saw Network, All the Presidents Men, My Left Foot and The Big Sleep – which, while being excited by film noir, left us scratching our heads.

We liked Dial M for Murder. Originally, and famously, shown in 3-D, it looked odd on-screen, but we had so much fun laughing with the crowd and such a thrill sitting on the edges of our seats, that we loved the whole thing.

I saw Sahara by myself one hot afternoon. I love it on TNT on Memorial Day weekend, but I really loved it on the big screen. And, though I had seen it a hundred times, there were parts of the film I never caught before because of the audience.

Christie wanted to see Back to the Future, so we did. Because, to quote a smarter man, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”. But, she was right on and I’m glad she dragged me. It was like seeing it in the theater for the first time. We rooted for Marty and George McFly, and we booed bad guy Biff.

We even brought my young nieces and my Mom. The nieces thought the movie was fun; my Mom liked the Sauvignon Blanc.

One overlooked treasure, The Paper, pays a nice homage to His Girl Friday. A then-1994 Ron Howard proves his directors chops by shooting a film in a style more reminiscent of the great 1970’s directors. The film has a rough exterior ala Stuart Rosenberg, Paul Mazursky or Sydney Pollack.

Nearby, the Congress Avenue-area offers some great opportunities for a before, or after, movie experience. We enjoyed the bar at the Driskill Hotel, and the balcony at the Stephen F. Austin Hotel – it’s always nice to catch a great evening shot of the Capitol dome. I’m sure someone might like the sushi at Silhouette, or if you’re with the family you can grab a slice at Cozzoli’s. Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse offers an amazing wine list, and you can always cozy up to the bar for terrific snacks.

Last week, we tried the bar at the Roaring Fork and found a fairly decent wine list, and their very inexpensive bar menu. – I was always a fan of the Green Chili Pork Stew, but sans tortillas.

Next is 2001: A Space Odyssey, and I don’t want to tell moviegoers, but I enjoy 2010 more. It was Roy Scheider up against the odds! It doesn’t get any better than that.

The Summer Classic Film Series draws the curtain with Gone with the Wind. And, like the wind, the classic films will be gone…until next year. Have fun and come out on September 5th for GWTW, and remember what seeing a real film in a real theater is like.

The next episode of Scandal can wait.

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