The screening of The Shining concluded a year-long celebration of Stanley Kubrick films at Alamo Drafthouse last night in Katy, Texas. The crowd, the largest of these films that I've attended, was described as a "packed house" by the Alamo representative who greeted us before the film began.
Although the room looked nearly sold out, the seat directly to my right stayed open in case the Princess wanted to join us at any point. Maybe a movie about a deranged killer chasing his wife and child around a hotel with an ax isn't the best pick for a potential first evening out together, but this is a Stanley Kubrick movie so that makes it okay.
A Clockwork Orange and 2001: A Space Odyssey screened earlier this year at the same facility. I missed Full Metal Jacket due to travel the day the picture screened.
This particular filmmaker's movies, in addition to being some the best ever produced, are experience-driven and best viewed in that environment. Big screen, big crowd. His use of lighting, his unique screenshots and compositions, along with the bizarre and at times edgy subject matter and characters just seem more alive and real at the theater.
Also, knowing how these films were made makes them interesting to watch. The way Kubrick worked with actors, at times making them do multiple takes for seemingly mundane or perfunctory scenes, brought out the best in the performances. For example, the scene in The Shining in which Danny and Dick Hallorann sit together alone and talk about "shining" in the hotel kitchen (seen above) was reportedly filmed more times than any other scene in movie-making history. Kubrick made them do that simple scene more than 140 times.
Prior to this wonderful opportunity afforded to us by Alamo Drafthouse, I had only seen one of the man's pictures in a theater. That occurred the night Eyes Wide Shut opened in 1999 at the Hollywood Theater in Pasadena, Texas.
Unfortunately, EWS was the last film he directed before his death, so we won't have new one to enjoy in the future. Thanks to Alamo Drafthouse for this opportunity to see these movies as the director invented.