It was tough year for local moviegoers with the closing of longtime favorite Westhampton, a unique and beloved West End movie house. Sadly, there was no local Quentin Tarantino to ride to the rescue and snatch up the property years ago. Few cities get famous auteurs willing to invest in the dying two-screen cinema model just for the good of the community.
But Richmond does have a growing movement for a new local art film theater with the Bijou hot on the fundraising trail. And unique film series and festivals continue to thrive across town.
Take the case of writer and Fan Video employee Andrew Blossom, a passionate film buff who’s been doing his best to provide quirky entertainment options in a communal audience setting. He’s probably best known for the Great Southern Twin Peaks festival (June 9-12) but his lesser-known Movie Club Richmond is a fun periodic series featuring quirky cult films screened in such places as Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, Strange Matter or outdoor lots.
Where else are you going to see hilariously bad films distributed by Alamo Drafthouse in Austin — such as the homoerotic kung-fu fantasy “Miami Connection,” with one of the greatest letter-opening scenes in the history of sobbing?
Blossom says there will be screenings this summer in conjunction with Great Southern — including “Blue Velvet” on June 5 and “Laura” on June 11 — and for next Halloween he’s lined up Stephen King’s “Pet Sematary” and “Chopping Mall” as well as modern-day classics “Idiocracy” and “Scrooged.”
We’re still hoping for more Drafthouse films though, or even rare Crispin Glover vehicles such as “The Beaver Trilogy” — where he plays an Olivia Newton-John impersonator and Sean Penn shows up as a pre-“Fast Times” Spiccoli. Or the brilliant “Rubin and Ed,” where Glover plays Rubin, the goofball Republican who just wants you to meet his mother before going to bury his frozen cat in the desert.