The local art house theater, The Enzian, showed the 1974 classic Chinatown earlier this evening. It’s part of a series of classics, including the upcoming Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Robocop—all of which are shown from actual film prints, not just blown-up and interpolated DVD or Blu-Ray discs. For a $5 (!!) ticket the sound is imperfect, the print is covered in defects, and there’s the occasional skip or missed line.

It is, in a word, awesome.

I’d never seen Chinatown before. No, I really don’t know how it had escaped me. It was surprisingly good, and the twisty (yet still plausible) plot kept me guessing up to the end. On top of that, I can’t even count the number of lines that I recognized as being lifted for later films or TV shows—I was dumbstruck to hear them in their original setting, never having known that they weren’t original how I had heard them.

I mean, how could I have suspected that the she’s my sister and my daughter line from The Adventures of Ford Fairlane was a riff back to another film?

While watching the film, I also managed to gorge myself on a Yukon gold potato and bacon pizza, chai latte, and Flan Jovi. More theaters need to offer solid food beyond popcorn. Srsly.

The only flaw in the evening was the table of six next to me. They came in obviously buzzed on something, one especially tipsy. All of them were raucous, with one woman providing a stilted and slurred running commentary not just on the film, but on the rest of the audience’s reaction to the film. On top of being lit when she came in, she managed to down almost an entire bottle of Shiraz on her own. She was finally silent for the last 10 minutes of the film, not because of any sort of decorum, but because she had passed out.

What kills me is that the group was only a couple years younger than me. Really? Really?

Beyond that: good evening.

By Rick Osborne

I am a web geek who has been doing this sort of thing entirely too long. I rant, I muse, I whine. That is, I am not at all atypical for my breed.