Thursday, January 08, 2009

final answer

There was a time when the Regal Downtown West Cinema had lines wrapped around the building for movies like "Jurassic Park." Our friend Jennifer told us about those days when my son wondered why Regal Cinemas would have two properties as close as Downtown West and West Town Mall. Downtown West survived by screening smaller, independent films that are rarely seen in other markets our size. Its very existence serves as a reminder that the country's largest movie theater chain is headquartered not in Hollywood, but in Knoxville. Coincidentally, Regal CEO Mike Campbell was interviewed tonight by Lori Tucker on WATE. And Byron Chesney shared a link to a new interview with Campbell on the BusinessTN site.

My wife and son and I met our friend at Downtown West tonight to see "Slumdog Millionaire." I realize that most people can't drop everything and rush out to a movie on a Thursday night but I would have liked to have seen a bigger crowd there tonight. "Slumdog" deserves to have lines wrapped around the block.

Jamal, the lead character, works in a call center for a cell phone company, but not as a customer service representative. He's the chaiwalla, the guy who brings tea to the operators. The authorities suspect him of cheating on the Indian version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" Flashbacks to his childhood illustrate how he learned the answer to each of the game's questions. They also tell the heart wrenching story of Jamal's life in poverty. He is covered in filth, both literally and figuratively. It is both a feelgood movie and a shocking look at slums, orphanages and crime. On top of all that, Jamal is searching for his childhood love, the beautiful Latika. As someone who always stays for the closing credits, I was rewarded with an unexpected yet very entertaining Bollywood-like dance number. I hope the movie is rewarded with some trophies at the various award shows in the weeks ahead.

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