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This is a documentary about five film obsessed fans in New York City.

I had seen this when first released, I just got the DVD. The subjects of the film are:

1) Jack-he is in his 30s, living off of an inheritance, he sees about 3 films a day every day, only in theaters, he will not watch films on TV or video. He is very verbose and fancies himself an intellectual. He skips family outings (also weddings and funerals) to go to screenings. He seems full of himself at times and a bit pretentious, also judgmental when speaking of the other cinephiles.

2) Eric- he is in his 50s, getting disability payments, he is the only one who likes watching films on video. He prefers 1930s comedies and musicals.He says he cares more for Audrey Hepburn than some of his relatives, he was devastated by her death. He has an unkempt appearance but is soft spoken and unassuming.

3) Bill- he is in his 30s, former grad student, currently collecting unemployment benefits. He prefers European films from New Wave to the present. He is looking for female companionship, hopefully a beautiful French girl. He is the only one who admits to seeing a psychiatrist and takes anti anxiety meds. He seems desperate at times but harmless. 

4) Roberta-in her 60s, the only woman in the bunch, lives on disability payments, refuses to have a TV or VCR. She likes 1930s dramas and adventure films, she has a tearful reaction to A Farewell To Arms with Gary Cooper and Helen Hayes. She is a compulsive collector of movie related brochures and flyers. She can be cranky and argumentative at times. She passed away in 2009.

5) Harvey- in his 40s, another one getting disability payments, he watches any kind of film, including low budget trash, he is obsessed with the running times of movies and knows them by heart. He is a jovial character, often has fits of the giggles.

Some of the group have gotten into trouble due to their obsessions. Jack admits to having been arrested a few times. In the most interesting scene, we hear a ticket taker's confrontation with Roberta. Tia, the girl taking tickets, is the only one outside the group to be  interviewed. She says she was working at the Museum Of Modern Art, Roberta did not want to give up her ticket. Apparently she has kept every intact ticket and did not want it ripped. Out of patience, Tia rips it and gives Roberta the stub. Roberta then angrily attacks the girl, trying to choke her, though Tia says Roberta obviously does not know what she is doing. Roberta then is banned from MOMA. Tia then recalls Roberta showing up in disguise another time with wig and makeup trying to get in. Tia recognizes her and a  sobbing Roberta is escorted out. Tia rather condescendingly says Roberta was probably trying to relive something she saw in a movie.

A personal note here. I am a life long New Yorker and film fan, though not obsessed like the subjects of this doc. I have personally seen two of the people from the film, though I did not speak to them.

I saw Roberta on a ticket line once, I stood back and watched to see what would happen. She appeared to be in a mellow mood and the ticket taker did not rip off her stub.

I saw Harvey once sitting a few rows ahead of me in a theater. He was carrying on a conversation with some people sitting behind him. The conversation was about, you guessed it, movie running times.

Has anyone seen this one?  

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  • 1 year later...

I saw it on a cable tv network about 12 years ago. I remember Bill best, and his ad in the personals wherein he posted all his favorite filmmakers, as if a young woman would read "Fassbinder" and think  to herself, "My prince has come!" There was a scene where he went to a bar and the bartender was messing with him by saying, there was a pretty girl in here looking for a film buff earlier, you just missed her, and Bill becoming very frustrated. I wasn't sure he knew he was being put on.

And I remember one of the guys liked to sit in a certain seat in a certain theater and some couple was giving him a hard time about it, somehow resenting him for it.

And the lady who always gave the ticket people trouble. I remember more the theater employee at Lincoln Center talking about her. 

It was a fun movie. 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 8/21/2021 at 8:21 PM, LuckyDan said:

And I remember one of the guys liked to sit in a certain seat in a certain theater and some couple was giving him a hard time about it, somehow resenting him for it.

Yes, that was Jack, the full of himself "intellectual". He is the only one I was able to find some info on his life after the film. His narcissism has gotten worse. He frequently got into Twitter wars arguing about Marxism and other philosophy.  There was one local news story where he got mugged and robbed of his bike in Central Park.

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I took a look at Cinemania. Thank you for the promo, Det Jim McLeod.

I found it depressing. The subjects of the documentary, to me, are sad, pitiable extremists -- the kind who give "film buffs" a bad name. Of the quintet profiled, the only one who -- if, by some cruel misfortune,  I was forced to be locked in the same room with -- I could tolerate was Jack. He, at least, IMO, had some measure of self-awareness and honesty about his mania and neurosis. I respected and appreciated his intelligence and articulateness. But overall, watching and listening to the eccentric lot just left me sad and also puzzled about how the subjects could let themselves get that way.

They reminded me of a former friend and coworker who was a manic movie lover. I met "Len" while working at a video store. Right from Jump Street, one could tell -- by his behavior -- that he was a little "off." He'd come over to my pad and watch movies either broadcast live or from my vast movie library. On one occasion while we were watching an old movie, he jumped to his feet and loudly and excitedly exclaimed,

"That's Pierre Watkin!!!"

"Wh-wh-What?" I stuttered.

"Pierre Watkin!" he cried and, upon seeing my clueless expression, repeated, "PIERRE WATKIN!"

"Who the heck is Pierre Watkin?" I innocently asked.

"You DON'T KNOW who Pierre Watkin is?" he shouted in increasingly wide-eyed amazement.

"Shhhh! Not so loud! The neighbors might hear!" I begged, then confessed, "No. Who's Pierre Watkin?"

Standing over me like Moses descended from Mount Sinai, he thundered, "He was Perry White in the Superman serials!!!"

A few years later, I received a telephone call from the county public administrator's office that Len had been found dead in his apartment. My telephone number had been found amongst his belongings. The woman I spoke with was trying to find Len's family and notify them. If his family couldn't be found, his body would be "disposed of" in the same manner as corpses of the homeless. Len had told me that he'd grown up in New York -- information I relayed to the PA clerk. She thanked me for the info, and I asked her to please let me know the outcome and also the cause of his death.

Then she said something that I've never forgotten:

"Everybody deserves a decent burial."

Several days later, the PA clerk called me to say that she was able to find Len's brother in NY where his body would be sent. I again asked her, what was the cause of his death? She didn't know, and I never did find out. But, she shared that his brother had told her that Len was a "queer duck."

A sad case . . . as are, to me, the "cinemaniacs" in that documentary.

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On 3/13/2020 at 12:08 PM, Det Jim McLeod said:

Jack-he is in his 30s, living off of an inheritance, he sees about 3 films a day every day, only in theaters, he will not watch films on TV or video. He is very verbose and fancies himself an intellectual. He skips family outings (also weddings and funerals) to go to screenings. He seems full of himself at times and a bit pretentious, also judgmental when speaking of the other cinephiles.

I just watched it again via EPM's embed. I think you're being unfair to Jack in saying he is full of himself and pretentious. He is very confident in his opinions and he has drawn conclusions on many topics, some of which are interesting. People like that are often said to take themselves too seriously, but he is the central character. He interacts with all the others throughout the film and was called upon in that role to sort of spout off. 

One troubling moment was when he mentioned schizophrenia in the last third or so. I recalled his earlier mention of times in his life when was having problems with the police, as I think he put it. I wonder if he had episodes of mental illness that he chose not to relate directly. (He did mention finding it sometimes necessary to physically confront audience members whom he found distracting but I took that as bluster, similar to his talk about the women he's been with, but maybe he did get into serious altercations.)

 I enjoyed seeing it again. Hoping everyone is still with us and well. 

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6 hours ago, Eucalpytus P. Millstone said:

Of the quintet profiled, the only one who -- if, by some cruel misfortune,  I was forced to be locked in the same room with -- I could tolerate was Jack. He, at least, IMO, had some measure of self-awareness and honesty about his mania and neurosis. I respected and appreciated his intelligence and articulateness. But overall, watching and listening to the eccentric lot just left me sad and also puzzled about how the subjects could let themselves get that way.

I wouldn't want to spend time with any of them in real life either. But if I was forced to, Eric is the one I think I could tolerate. He talks all about his favorite films and stars and doesn't get into any other subjects. I also agree with him that Breathless (1960) is dull. Jack may be more articulate and intelligent but I still think he's an annoying jerk. Especially when he says something like this to Bill "It's good that you like this films, but you don't understand them!"

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2 hours ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

I wouldn't want to spend time with any of them in real life either. But if I was forced to, Eric is the one I think I could tolerate. He talks all about his favorite films and stars and doesn't get into any other subjects. I also agree with him that Breathless (1960) is dull. Jack may be more articulate and intelligent but I still think he's an annoying jerk. Especially when he says something like this to Bill "It's good that you like this films, but you don't understand them!

Eric is the most agreeable. I'm also more of a video guy than a theater guy. I'm a homer. 

Jack's comment to Eric [Edit - woops, I meant Bill] didn't seem mean-spirited. I took it as honest ribbing between buddies, of the kind I've dished out myself, as well as taken. You have to know somebody pretty well before you can talk like that to them, but I can understand better now why you feel that way. 

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