Image via WikipediaIf you live in Salem, it's likely that you either have yourself complained about Salem's lack of cultural offerings or heard others -- many others -- complain about that.
Meanwhile, Salem Cinema trudges onward, showing world-class movies from every genre, from just about every country, and for every taste to small crowds, crowds who tend to eschew the refreshment stand (where movie theatres make essentially all their money, the lion's share [read: all] of the ticket sales going to the distributor and the studio).
Worse, Salem Cinema owner Loretta Miles took a gigantic leap of faith just as the Great Recession was really getting rolling, and she went from one to THREE, count 'em, THREE screens for independent, intelligent movies, and she brings an astounding lineup of films to little ol' Salem, whether we deserve to have such an awesome theatre or not.
Right now, the Oscar-winning foreign film, "The Secret in Their Eyes" -- an unforgettable, powerful, and beautiful movie -- is still playing, along with the enchanting "Ondine" (with big-screen beefcake star Colin Farrell doing an astonishingly great performance in a role that Hollywood would never give him). Oh, and she's also got "Cyrus," and "A Solitary Man," and has an giant handful of other great films already lined up and waiting to come in to Salem . . .
. . . where many people will miss them, all the while complaining about how little culture Salem has.
Before coming to Salem, we lived in another capital city of about the same size -- that had NO downtown movie theatre at all, and only megaplex chain monsters in the area at all. That truly sucked. We had to drive about the same distance as from here to Portland to see a great movie on the big screen. It was sad.
And it could happen here. If Salem Cinema can't make a go of it, then it won't disappear -- some chain will grab the spot and start slamming in the same plotless explosion fests and teen T&A screamers as Cinebarre and the Regal screens are showing, and we'll all be the poorer for it.
My just-made Mid-Year resolution is to try and take in a movie each week at Salem Cinema. Please join me. Buy a great cookie or some popcorn. Think you can't afford it? Cancel cable TV and you'll improve your life immeasurably, and you'll have plenty of money (and more time) to support real great movies.
If we don't support Salem's best cultural treasure, expect to see it disappear.