Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Bama brings Tuscaloosa much-needed independent films

Seeing trailers for cool-looking movies in Tuscaloosa can be a pretty frustrating experience sometimes. If the film seems a little “weirder” for whatever reason (i.e. no big name actors, no explosions), you’d better be absolutely certain when the movie opens as it will probably be in theaters for about a week tops.

That’s assuming, of course, it’s playing here at all. And as for foreign films, you’d better just invest in Netflix.

That’s why the return of the Bama Art House series at the Bama Theatre on Greensboro is such welcome news. The Bama Art House, which debuted the film series earlier this year, is a project from the Arts and Humanities Council of Tuscaloosa. They hope to bring independent film to Tuscaloosa by “transforming our wonderful historic Bama Theatre into an Art House, one night a week.”

Why would the good people of Tuscaloosa want an art house, you say?

“Some people might be interested in seeing movies that don’t just center around big car crashes,” said David Allgood, theater manager for the arts council.

That isn’t to say there aren’t any movies with car chases in the series. In fact, the film that played last Tuesday, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” has a climactic car chase scene with a bloody conclusion that makes “The Fast & the Furious” look like “Herbie: Fully Loaded.”

The gritty Swedish thriller “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” which is based on the popular book series by Stieg Larsson, is the fifth film in the fall 2010 series. The other films shown so far include the acclaimed foreign family drama “I Am Love” and the documentary “Best Worst Movie,” which is about what some would call the worst movie of all time, “Troll 2” (which was also shown).

On Tuesday nights before the films, the lobby is usually filled with familiar Tuscaloosa faces mixed with those of excited out-of-towners, all standing and discussing the possible merits of the film they are about to see or of the film they saw last Tuesday.

This is one of the most refreshing things about going to these screenings. Usually when you go see a movie, everyone filters out of the theater and into the street without saying a word about the film, as if they’d just been staring at a screen saver for three hours. This is the proof that there are people in Tuscaloosa who, even if they aren’t obsessed film lovers, appreciate a well-organized cultural event in our town like this one.

Lots of people can be seen on dates as well and for good reason. With tickets at six dollars for students and popcorn for a dollar, it might make more fiscal sense to go see some movie that has won numerous awards at an international film festival rather than shelling out $30 to go see “Furry Vengeance” in 3D.

There are two films left in the fall series, which have both received great critical acclaim as well. “Get Low,” which plays this Tuesday at 8 p.m., stars Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek and Bill Murray in a comically strange true story about a Tennessee hermit who wants to stage his own funeral party. Wrapping up the series, the drama “Winter’s Bone” (which won the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival) will play on Oct. 5 also at 8 p.m.

Hopefully, this series will continue in Tuscaloosa — a town that has one movie theater and so desperately craves events like this. And while it might open some people’s minds about independent and foreign cinema in this city, it will most definitely remain about the best thing you can do in Tuscaloosa on a Tuesday night.

More to Discover