Quality Films Need Patrons

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Perhaps you recall the observations made a few weeks ago in this space concerning the shortage of quality films typically on view at the Sawmill Theatres.

At that time, I chided the theater's managers for relying so heavily on mainstream, teen-oriented Hollywood fare, and not giving Payson's adult moviegoers enough credit to bring more commercially risky fare to town ... such as, I said, Steven Soderbergh's partially subtitled "Traffic" and Lasse Halstrom's "Chocolat," both of which carry an "art house" cachet even though both managed to snag twin Oscar nominations for best picture.

Now it's time for the Rim country's moviegoers to take some action. Three days after my first go-round on this subject was published, the Sawmill's director of theater operations, Brian Deveny, brought "Traffic" to town. But the film hailed by dozens of the nation's most respected critics as one of the year's best was gone in a single week.

Why? Because hardly anyone showed up to see it.

And boy, is my face red. Because in that earlier commentary, I very nearly guaranteed Deveny that Payson boasts a built-in adult audience seriously in the mood for cinematic brain food instead of adolescent brain candy. "Tell Deveny to tell his film bookers that Payson ain't Mayberry," I concluded. "We can handle subtitles better than we can handle films with titles like, "Dude, Where's My Car?"

Was I wrong? Is this Mayberry after all? Fortunately, Deveny is giving us another chance to prove it's not. He brought "Chocolat" to the Sawmill last Friday.

Now it's your turn to tell Deveny that you appreciate his efforts, and that you want him to continue bringing quality, adult-themed movies to Payson, by purchasing a ticket.

And if you choose not to see "Chocolat," as you did not see "Traffic," please refrain from griping and moaning when the Sawmill Theatres' marquee reads, "Dude, Where's My Car? Parts II through XII."

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