Tired of Movie Mindlessness? Local Classic Film Group Open to New Participants

Stephen Whiteman lives in Ormewood Park and runs a cool classic movie group out of his home. The group’s in its eight year and Stephen reached out to the VHCA to see if any VaHi residents might be interested in joining. Here’s his group’s story. Get in touch with Stephen if you agree that life IS too short to watch lousy movies.

StephenWhiteman#1After a half hour of commercials and two hours of explosions at the multiplex, have you ever had the feeling that there must be a better way to spend a Saturday night?

The Ormewood Park classic movie seminar Life is Too Short to Watch Lousy Movies, now winding up its eighth year, has a few openings for congenial people interested in viewing, learning about, and discussing the greatest films of all time. Regular participation with guaranteed seating and space-available participation are both available, and there is no charge for the films or the programs.

StephenWhiteman#3The movies are recognized classics, the majority from Hollywood’s Golden Age, the rest from other eras or countries. For example, this year the group has screened Preston Sturges’ screwball comedy, The Palm Beach Story (1942), with Joel McCrea and Claudette Colbert; Vittorio De Sica’s Italian Neorealist classic, The Bicycle Thief (1948); Vincente Minnelli’s groundbreaking Cabin in the Sky (1943), starring Lena Horne and Eddie “Rochester” Anderson; and Nicholas Ray’s brooding film noir, In a Lonely Place (1950), starring Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame, among others. Regulars are polled to ensure that the films chosen aren’t ones that everyone has already seen.  Programs include a cartoon and/or short subject, Coming Attractions, the feature film, and clips and commentary on personnel and genres, with thoughtful discussion interspersed.

StephenWhiteman#2The group meets on the first Saturday of every month and is conducted like a friendly, laid back seminar. Our membership includes both long-time film buffs and more casual movie fans – a background in film is not necessary. Attendees have ranged from as young as 10 to over 70. The group’s wide-screen, surround-sound home theater seats 15, and typical attendance is a dozen or so. Meetings are moderated by Steve Whiteman, a long-time film buff with a 12,000-item video library. Space allowing, screenings are open to all who show up when they say they will and who treat the movie and each other with respect.

Because the evening is more than just a “movie night,” new people should have a look at the group’s website, ClassicFilmAppreciation.webs.com, which explains how things work and includes detailed program examples, photos from meetings, and testimonials.  Then, if they would like to be notified of future films they can sign up for the mailing list as a space-available “Drop In” participant on the Contact Us page of the site. After attending a couple of screenings, signing up as a “Regular” gets you a guaranteed seat and additional benefits.  Steve can answer questions at ClassicFilmAppreciation@gmail.com.

As one of the regulars has said, “There is no better way to spend a Saturday evening in Atlanta!”


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