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PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 4:00 pm 
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I imagine the reason only the olds go to Film Forum is because living in Manhattan is prohibitively expensive, and the lower east / west side is no longer filled with the types of folks that built the original FIlm Forum. Screenings at BAM are filled with people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s who are a bit more "hip" than a FF.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 4:08 pm 
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I will say that Film Forum did give me one of my most memorable experiences: the totally free, early-morning tribute event to Donald Richie, featuring loads of his friends as speakers, films by Richie, and general love and reminisces. I would be lying if I didn't get a little star-struck telling Stephen Prince (over a pastry and coffee) how much I love his commentaries. Not a "hip" event, necessarily, but a very important and special one.

As an Inwood-ite, FF is 2nd easiest rep cinema to get to after everything by Lincoln Center; I've only been to BAM twice: Catherine Deneuve's no-show at The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (a younger crowd by far than the same film at FF a year earlier) and an exhibition of films by Manfred Kirchheimer who I took film production with as a freshman (when I still thought I wanted to do that sort of thing). The seating feels very lecture-hally, laser-light-show to me, but I don't mind the facilities, and the programming is always so enticing; it's just a long commute for me.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 4:14 pm 
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The main cinema (upstairs and in the back) is definitely weird. The screen is a bit too close for the steep drop. But seeing The Thing, sold out, in a packed house, with a bunch of people in the perfect age range to love the film was one of the best theatergoing experiences I've had. No interruptions, people laughing and scared at the right time.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 5:04 pm 
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Drucker wrote:
I imagine the reason only the olds go to Film Forum is because living in Manhattan is prohibitively expensive, and the lower east / west side is no longer filled with the types of folks that built the original FIlm Forum.
Huh? . Those folks you refer to as the "olds" are the same folks that helped build the Film Forum from the 70s and 80s. Olds were once youngs.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 5:19 pm 
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"Type of folks" not "literally the same folks." In my experience FF is not overrun with college students and young film buffs (though there are many of those!)


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 5:32 pm 
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Who said anything about college students and film buffs.

The old folks you refer to are not a recent phenomenon. When the old folks were young, they were the ones helping the FF get established. Do you think back in the 70s when the FF started and seated 15 people showing 16mm films that they were old folks? They were young "hip" people. Now those same young, hip people are the "olds" you refer to. "Everyone" goes through this process.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 11:59 pm 

Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2009 12:45 am
Also who cares what age moviegoers are, unless they're engaging in distracting behavior specific to their ages during the movie?

My father went to the FF on and off since the 70s (he passed away in 2015) and was a model moviegoer. So was his longtime girlfriend (who used to be the Maysles brothers' agent).


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 1:44 am 

Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2009 12:28 pm
Love all these comments. I am interested in theatre crowd dynamics, but I can generally tune them out if they are annoying.

Regarding the "olds". BAM gets huge crowds of "youngs" for many repertory screenings. I remember when they were running the full-length "Out 1", they initially had to move it to their biggest screen, and "youngs" ruled. (Most of the audience also bailed fairly quickly after the first two episodes.) But BAM Cinematek seems to be in decline--haven't been in awhile.

Metrograph has a nice mix of age groups, even for daytime screenings. Quad (as always) is definitely skewing old during daytime, and is near deserted for any screening after 9pm (yay).

Film Forum, generally speaking, draws the worst audiences, regardless of age. I'm not sure why that is, as to me it is out of the way and really a theatre of last resort. Why go to the trouble of going there if you aren't going to respect what you are seeing. But today I saw two Melvilles during the day and the audience was extremely respectful. Film Forum definitely has the highest age audience, but maybe that's because of all the 20's/30's/40's programs they have, coupled with the incessant 2-week runs of restored (often unadventurous and, worse, French) films from the 50's and 60's (or really, whenever--who needed a revival of "Tampopo", unless they were on their deathbed). Film Forum is the least cool repertory cinema in NYC, but they have brought that on themselves.

Ultimately, I use the 35mm "issue" as a filter. On any given day, there are a number of repertory options. 35mm won't be here forever, so I basically tune out the DCPs and that still leaves adequate 35mm options if I want to go out.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 12:00 pm 
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In my anecdotal experience, the older crowd at Film Forum have been more rude, and it's definitely a snotty type. Just last night at Melville, while waiting in line a woman took a step backward, essentially stepping on my friend's toes. Without any sense of where she was sitting. Then, in the theater, a woman was asking other patrons to move their seats so she could see the screen more clearly (she had come in after them). Tons of little things like that just add up over time.

I wasn't going to FF until 4 years ago, so I will refrain from further comment on the types of people that used to be there. My only perception was framed around the intro video that has a moment of archival footage they show every screening.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 12:17 pm 

Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2008 12:49 pm
If the Film Forum olds have in fact outpaced the MoMA olds in the entitlement and obnoxiousness competitions, that's a truly impressive feat.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 1:48 am 

Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2009 12:28 pm
MoMA has decimated their film programming. I emailed them about that, with no response other than "we have referred that to the film department". So the "olds", like zombies, are increasingly invading other theatres. SCARY.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 12:12 pm 
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Drucker wrote:
Then, in the theater, a woman was asking other patrons to move their seats so she could see the screen more clearly (she had come in after them).

That's definitely not age related. Not a theater incident, but one moment a few years back sticks out for me. I took a bus from Boston back to NYC, and actually got there early so I could get an aisle seat at the front. (Comes down to this - I can use the aisle for extra legroom, and if I'm in the first seat, for the most part it won't be in anyone's way.) A college age couple arrives at the very last minute, barely making it. There are only scattered seats left, no aisle seats and no pairs, including one to my right. The kid asks me to move so he and his girl can take both of the seats. I was polite, but I was already in a cranky moon and on the inside, I thought "FUCK YOU I got here really early so I could be comfortable! I'm not going to spend four hours crammed into a window seat just because you couldn't get to the fucking station on time."


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 3:04 pm 
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This has turned into an amazing thread, shouts to J. Adams for getting the ball rolling and shouts to Frau for sticking up for 'olds'.

FrauBlucher wrote:
I respectively disagree with this. First off, I go to the FF at least 25 times a year if not more. I've been there a good number of times that I've heard 20, 30, and 40 year olds laughing at lines that weren't meant to be funny. Especially, old noirs always get laughs from young folks who are there because they heard about the film with little knowledge of the history. This is a bane of my movie going experience.
I'm there about the same amount as you and am in total agreement with everything you've said in this thread. The younger crowd, myself included (tho I'm not that young anymore), do laugh a lot when they're not supposed to. I remember seeing Imitation of Life there a couple of years ago with everybody cracking up. I don't have a problem with it tho, a lot of lines in 2017 are just flat out corny and there's no way getting around it. I don't think having a few chuckles diminishes anything.

FrauBlucher wrote:
but many are very familiar with and know about cinema and why they are there.
This is so accurate I've learned and enjoyed talking with the olds far more than I have with most of the idiots introducing the flick or moderating Q & As.

FrauBlucher wrote:
If you eliminate your "seniors" from the rep houses the rep houses take a big hit financially. The avg age for FF membership is 56. And they are not recent members but most have been members for many, many years, a good 15, 20 years, maybe longer. So, they are full of themselves because they feel entitled as if they own the place. Which makes them so friggin obnoxious. Unfortunately, the FF is a not-for-profit so the memberships are vital for it's existence.
Yeah you get rid of the seniors and I don't think FF lasts 6 months. You're also right in how many of these people know each other and have known each other for years. Some are friends others mortal enemies it's totally hilarious.

FrauBlucher wrote:
So, they are full of themselves because they feel entitled as if they own the place. Which makes them so friggin obnoxious.
I think you hit on something here. I honestly don't believe the olds are any more or less entitled, obnoxious than any other group — I mean look at some of the comments in this very thread a couple of you could use a hit from a bong or a little aged scotch, chill out a bit — I think they get a bad rap because of aesthetics. It goes without saying younger folk are going to be more attractive but FF olds compound this by looking like they were bused in from the homeless shelter. FF should include a razor in their senior membership packages.

FrauBlucher wrote:
Karen Cooper, one of the founders and the programmer for first run at the theater said in a discussion recently, that it's getting harder and harder to get young people to come to the FF. Which is as much a societal dilemma about movie going than anything else. She said they've reached out to NYU to create some kind of program geared to getting students to the theater as patrons and filmmakers (NYU is known for it's filmmaking program). And Bruce Goldstein schedules FF Jr. every Sunday morning geared to kids. Anything from Willy Wonka to Charlie Chaplin. I give them credit for trying to get younger folks involved to eventually replace the old crotchety people you dislike :wink: .
I'm with you it is great that they're doing this and I've sent friends with rugrats there on Sundays, they love it.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 3:30 pm 
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Just to be clear, I love and generally defend Film Forum. But there are certain annoying experiences I've really only had there, and when coupled with programming dominated by DCPs of films I'm about to buy/already own on blu-ray, I just find myself there less and less.

I can honestly say the only time I've been to a film in NYC where the crowd was inappropriately laughing was Suspiria at BAM, where the crowd clearly had limited experience with bad Italian dialogue synching, which really ruined that experience.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 3:31 pm 
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Drucker wrote:
The main cinema (upstairs and in the back) is definitely weird. The screen is a bit too close for the steep drop. But seeing The Thing, sold out, in a packed house, with a bunch of people in the perfect age range to love the film was one of the best theatergoing experiences I've had. No interruptions, people laughing and scared at the right time.
J Adams wrote:
Regarding the "olds". BAM gets huge crowds of "youngs" for many repertory screenings. I remember when they were running the full-length "Out 1", they initially had to move it to their biggest screen, and "youngs" ruled. (Most of the audience also bailed fairly quickly after the first two episodes.) But BAM Cinematek seems to be in decline--haven't been in awhile.
See with all the complaining about FF I'm surprised there's not more about BAM, I'm just as uncomfortable in their seats as I am at FF.

You're right about the big crowds of youngs but it's mostly the peasants who have moved into BK in recent years. This crowd puts the pulse in repulsive.

This is a little tangential but still kinda related: the other night I met a SoCal blonde fashion student dressed like Punky Brewster about the size of Tinkerbell who on top of that is the offspring of a big fashion person so eventually it got to where do you live? Bushwick.

Viva la Film Forum


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 3:42 pm 
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FrauBlucher wrote:
Drucker wrote:
I imagine the reason only the olds go to Film Forum is because living in Manhattan is prohibitively expensive, and the lower east / west side is no longer filled with the types of folks that built the original FIlm Forum.
Huh? . Those folks you refer to as the "olds" are the same folks that helped build the Film Forum from the 70s and 80s. Olds were once youngs.
FrauBlucher wrote:
Who said anything about college students and film buffs.

The old folks you refer to are not a recent phenomenon. When the old folks were young, they were the ones helping the FF get established. Do you think back in the 70s when the FF started and seated 15 people showing 16mm films that they were old folks? They were young "hip" people. Now those same young, hip people are the "olds" you refer to. "Everyone" goes through this process.
Ha! I love how all this old bashing got under Frau's skin but again as someone who's been going there since I was a kid he's right.

Drucker wrote:
Just to be clear, I love and generally defend Film Forum.
I feel you man, I'm just having a little fun.

Drucker wrote:
But there are certain annoying experiences I've really only had there
Precisely why it's amazing.

Perkins Cobb wrote:
If the Film Forum olds have in fact outpaced the MoMA olds in the entitlement and obnoxiousness competitions, that's a truly impressive feat.
That's awesome, I need to get my ass to MOMA more but whoever said their programming went to shit is right.

I recently went to MOMI for the first time for a screening of Sayat Nova. Really liked that theater and the museum in general.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 5:35 pm 
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Personal anecdote has shown me that the arthouse theaters are getting filled with gray-hairs showing up to watch the films being screened through most of the country. I'm not old enough to witness the 60's arthouse cachet that had college crowd lining up to see the latest Bergman gem, so I would think our resident elders who lived through the era could educated me better on that sentiment. My perception on why we see a large number of older people in the audience is that they attended the movies most frequently then any other age demographic, speciality those who are self-retired. You also can't overlook at the changing landscape of movie distribution in the states that has made it difficult to push smaller adult dramas into the multiplex, where much of the space is reserved for the latest Marvel flick. In turn, those older crowds will go out in the evening and watch the latest film being shown in the arthouse at the nearest urban area. This will differ from other cities, especially those which have more of a youthful college environment.


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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 1:26 am 

Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2009 12:28 pm
I have avoided Film Forum like the plague for awhile. The laughs tonight generated by "Army of Shadows", although VERY scattered, were disturbing. There are roughly three ironic lines delivered during the film, but laughing at death options delivered to WWII resistance fighters is beyond comprehension (I think the "youngs" are to blame here).

Plus marks: the 35mm print was awesome.

"Youngs" do not bring crinkly plastic bags to screenings and fiddle with them on their lap. They don't snore. They don't bitch about sightlines in a theatre they've been in dozens of times. The very idea of demanding a "tall" to move is worthy of ejection from the theatre. Deal. These are all experiences I've had at Film Forum in just the last few days.


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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 2:14 am 

Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2008 12:49 pm
I dunno, I have some issues with Dave Kehr, but I feel like he's revitalized MoMA somewhat. He'll never be useful on post-1950 cinema but in the last two years they've shown a lot of rare early Hollywood and foreign stuff that nobody else would bother about (i.e. Bruce Goldstein, who's content to play and replay the greatest hits version of that). They could stand to complement him with a programmer who's strong in other areas, obviously.

Mostly I want a version of the New Beverly in NYC -- even with three new venues with designs on the hipster crowd, nobody has gone all in on that.


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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 7:23 am 
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J Adams wrote:
I have avoided Film Forum like the plague for awhile. The laughs tonight generated by "Army of Shadows", although VERY scattered, were disturbing. There are roughly three ironic lines delivered during the film, but laughing at death options delivered to WWII resistance fighters is beyond comprehension (I think the "youngs" are to blame here).

Plus marks: the 35mm print was awesome.

"Youngs" do not bring crinkly plastic bags to screenings and fiddle with them on their lap. They don't snore. They don't bitch about sightlines in a theatre they've been in dozens of times. The very idea of demanding a "tall" to move is worthy of ejection from the theatre. Deal. These are all experiences I've had at Film Forum in just the last few days.


I had to deal with that bag guy at Metrograph!


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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 8:43 am 
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"I had to deal with that bag guy at Metrograph!"

The bag guy or gal has attended every film screening or theatrical performance I've seen in the last 15 years. At one memorable matinee at the Public Theater, the bag guy was rustling bags so loudly and relentlessly that it took the intervention of the house manager to save the bag guy from being torn to pieces at intermission.

And just yesterday, a screening of A QUIET PASSION featured a gentleman who seemed to need to gauge the dimensions of each individual piece of popcorn in the bag before putting it into his mouth. I just moved to another seat, not wanting to cause a ruckus, as the opening credits of the film had already been defiled by the sound of some moron about to leave a voicemail message, the recorded voice ("please press one to leave a message") was audible throughout the theater.


Last edited by Roscoe on Mon May 01, 2017 11:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 10:58 am 
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The one place I'm surprised hasn't received any scorn is Lincoln Plaza... in my view it's by far the worst combination of all the elements discussed and the single place I avoid if I can.


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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 11:02 am 
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Perkins Cobb wrote:
I dunno, I have some issues with Dave Kehr, but I feel like he's revitalized MoMA somewhat
To be fair I don't keep up with there that much, but I feel like every time I open their email up The Red Shoes or something like it is screening... nothing against The Red Shoes, but you know.


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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 11:06 am 
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I haven't been to Lincoln Plaza in years! It's basically my idea of a post-apocalypstic arthouse cinema - deep underground, no-frills decor (like it was a converted, abandoned building from a hotel chain), and whatever cushiony seats they can scrounge up. The latter charge is unfair, but I recall two screenings in one of the smaller theaters where some seats were in piss poor shape. I think one was even wrapped in plastic and tape, like someone spilled something on it.


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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 11:08 am 
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Once in a while it's funny that Kehr's there, because they'll do something big, like an Altman retrospective, and you know that wasn't his proposal. Maybe there was a bargain, like "you can have your Zemeckis retrospective if we can do Altman." I can just see him clutching his face like "Dear God....fine."


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