Tag Archives: The Capri

Capri Movie Poster Sale

Although the struggle between art and commerce has been waged since the advent of humanity, there was nevertheless, on Saturday morning in Montgomery, a beautiful excerpt from the front lines.

It happened in the lobby of our treasured arthouse movie theater, The Capri, and it was captured in the trajectory of the blindly swinging elbows of the obese man, sweatily trying to unroll a movie poster. Although we left the poster sale only minutes ago, I have already forgotten whether he was wearing a shirt with a character from Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away on the front, unrolling a poster from a Francois Truffaut film, or perhaps the other way around.

You see, this enthusiastic shopper was one of many — an innumerable mass, really — that had descended upon The Capri to acquire (at low, low prices) what is evidently the highest art form that America has to offer. The sale was not of the movies themselves, which people probably screen on Netflix while doing God-knows-what. Rather, they were seeking to grab up the paper advertisements for the “indy” films, perfect for hanging in the hipster home, loft, or dorm room. Soon, someone will be getting the poster for Goodbye Lenin! as a gift, offering an awkward thanks, having no idea that the giver of the gift nearly got pressed to death in a poster sale that called to mind the Hillsborough soccer crush.

We thought we were smart to arrive a few minutes before the doors were scheduled to open. We suspected trouble when we joined the line at the corner in front of Sinclair’s. We felt pity when we reached the door of the theater and looked back and saw that the line was now extended back around the block. We felt remorse when we saw that the movie posters were not unrolled, not attached to cardboard backers, and were, in fact, in tubes (which were jammed into boxes) and were somehow linked to a numerical coding system. We felt fear when we saw that the crowd, many of whom had browsed the list of posters ahead of time, had no idea what numbers were linked to their desired posters and, as a result, were frantically unrolling, re-rolling, and crinkling various posters in a hurricane of outstretched arms, flying elbows, cardboard tubes, and movie nerd sweat.

Our arthouse movie theater does not possess a very large lobby, and the people that had been standing in line for 30 minutes or so in the Alabama July sun were anxious to crush into the lobby, get some air conditioning, and beat the mob in the quest to find that poster of Mifune’s Last Song. Codes? Numbers? Must buy something! Adding to the crazy was the fact that it appeared that the crowd (in full consumer conquest mode) smelled bargains that could be re-sold on E-Bay. And the fact that The Capri is currently screening Will Ferrell’s Everything Must Go didn’t help. People probably read the theater marquee and assumed that this was some sort of going out of business sale.

Not sure how long this link will be up, but the list of available posters is here. We hope they sell them all, since we love and support our theater and want them to have as much space and money as they need. We just hope the mob didn’t make off with the popcorn machine and we’re glad we got out alive.

Anybody want to sell us a really cheap poster from Waltz with Bashir?

The Capri — The LiM Interview

Martin

Mmmm....popcorn...

We at Lost in Montgomery are huge fans of The Capri movie theater. We link to it over on our side bar and consider it one of the most important institutions in the city. It is truly one of the things that the city can be proud of and is something that you can brag to your friends in other cities about. We were fortunate enough to get an interview with the director of The Capri, Martin McCaffery.

What’s your official title and how long have you been at The Capri? Have you always been into films and how’d you get into this current job?

Director. I’ve been here since Nov 1985. I’ve worked in the exhibition industry since I was an usher in HS (1974-75) and was a projectionist from 1976-1985. My getting the job is a long story involving a visit to Montgomery, rejection, subtrafuge, questionable decisions on many people’s part, and me being really bored with my previous job.

How are things going generally?

Worst attendance since 1991. Fortunately, unlike 1991, we have a nestegg to get us through, thanks to My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

My totally uninformed guess would be that there’s some competition from Netflix, but that you have a pretty steady market of people who want to see fare that doesn’t come to The Rave.

A steady but way too small market of people. NetFlix isn’t really competition, more like where they go after they’ve missed it here. The whole indie biz is doing its much predicted (by me) collapse right now, so all art theatres are hurting bad this year.

We try to follow all of your various promotions and themes, like 80’s Week or the Summer Matinees for kids. Tell us a little about the responses to the various promotions.

The dreaded kids matinees got off to an above average start this week. We generally cater to daycare centers, but the last couple of years we’ve had a large number of walk-ins. There must have been a burst of reproduction in Cloverdale the last few years.

80’s week is the first time we’ve tried something like this in 20 years. Rep films don’t usually do much for us, but since no one is coming to what we are showing anyway, I thought we’d try to lure in some unsuspecting post-boomers. The theory is, they’ve seen these movies a million times on TV, but never in a theater. Sort of the Wizard of Oz approach. We’ll see what happens.

What do you think about the direction of Montgomery generally? We get a lot of negativity when we tell people that we live here, but we are excited to battle that and be civic boosters and improve the place where we live. Do you see hope or a city that is slowly rotting, or what?

Hope is not part of my vocabulary about anything 🙂 Montgomery is very different place than when I got here. I’m glad they are finally trying to save the downtown, too much of that’s been blown up in the last 24 years. You weren’t around during the Emory Folmar days (or were you?). Just imagine Montgomery being run by local talk radio.

We were excited to see that you were allowed to start selling beer. Was that a huge breakthrough or just one of a long string of improvements to the kinds of things you can offer? Any other goals on the horizon in that regard (or infrastructure, or whatever)?

Selling beer and wine (and tobacco and pseudophedrine if we want to) was a big breakthrough. Alas, there hasn’t been anyone here to drink it. The big improvement this year is to redo the concession stand and repair the bathrooms. We don’t own the building, and the owners won’t sell, so we can’t do any of the major work and renovation we’d really like to do.

When I was in high school, I remember there being a huge freakout about the movie Last Temptation of Christ. Were you here then? Any other moments when you felt like cinema was at the center of some sort of cultural moment? I doubt there were actual protests or people upset that you screened a film like Milk or Bill Maher’s Religulous, right?

Yes, I was here for Last Temptation. We were the only theater in the state to show the movie. We were personally condemned by the Mayor, the City Council, and the Governor, besides all of the petitions from people who hadn’t seen it. It was, of course, our number one movie for many years. No one has bothered us since. People do not like to be told they can’t see something. Our archives are at AUM and the Temptation files are entertaining, as are the Capri Raid files. A book about the national Temptation controversy came out last year and we get a few pages (though are not listed in the index!)

No problems with Milk, though I remember when the aforementioned Folmar regime tried to stop the AIDS Quilt from coming to town, and maintained an AIDS list. As I said, things are very different in many ways now. Picketters really boost business!