Thursday, December 15, 2011

Professor Griffin Makes Me Want to Shout

IN THE DARK was reviewed on the one and only Joe Briggs' website by an honest to God Texan TV legend.

In The Dark: A Life and Times in a Movie Theater by Scott Cherney

Reviewed by Joseph Fotinos (Legendary Austin, Texas Horror Film TV Host Professor Anton Griffin)

Scott Cherney loves movies. No, wait, I take that back, his life IS a movie. He sees things through the camera's eye and his life has very dramatic fades, cuts, edits and sometimes even special effects.Cherney weaves a fascinating tale of his obsession with the silver screen. Written in a very friendly and easy-going style, the book exudes enthusiasm and will strike anyone who grew up watch slews of movies (like I did) like a reflection of days gone by and the simple magical pleasure of being carried away by movies.

The book doesn't focus on the films themselves, although some films like "Gone With the Wind," "The Exorcist" and "Citizen Kane" are singled out. Rather he focuses on a life filled with movies and the circumstances surrounding the experiences. In a very pleasant way, it's like sharing a long car ride with a friend and telling stories.Growing up in Stockton, California, Cherney began his obsession with films at a very early age, and his heroes, detailed in a chapter called "The Good, the Bad and The Undead," included James Bond, The Man with No Name and Count Dracula. His moviegoing experiences included visits to New York (and almost getting hustled inside a seedy theatre in Times Square) and working and eventually managing a theatre along with all the friendships, baggage and enemies that those kinds of experiences will give you. One of the most dramatic moments in his life include being robbed at gunpoint in the lobby of a movie theatre, an event that he describes as dramatically as any scene in a movie.

Finally, and unfortunately, Cherney gives himself a chapter called "Shots in The Dark--A State of the Cinema Address" to rant a bit. As a lover of movies, he opens the floodgates of anger and really seethes about the things that annoy every moviegoer. Crying children, cell phones, talking in a movie are all singled out and skewered in a sometimes very vulgar manner and punctuated with a whole lot of written SHOUTING! After reading the enjoyable first half of the book and being subjected to last half, I must say I agree with most everything he says, but I was really disappointed he couldn't find a much more enjoyable and clever way to say it. Instead we have to read an entire chapter filled with how HE is superior to US, the movie going public of today, as WE don't understand the beauty of his experiences in the movie theater because WE live in a DISPOSABLE world that HE has refused to join . . . etc.

The overall feeling I had was that Scott Cherney is a good guy, one that I think I'd like to know. Heck, I've known many guys like him in my moviegoing life and found myself sharing a lot of the same experiences with most of the films he covers. Sure, he sometimes comes across as crotchety and a classic curmudgeon, but Cherney's love of the classic moviegoing experience is certainly entertaining. Even if he does tend to SHOUT A BIT!

Three and a half stars. (out of four)

Thanks, Professor. Follow Professor Anton Griffin's Midnight Shadow Show on Facebook.

See? I printed this review, warts and all. That's the kinda guy I am.

IN THE DARK: A LIFE AND TIMES IN A MOVIE THEATER (SPECIAL EDITION) is now on sale in paperback and Kindle from Amazon and Scott Cherney's Storefront

Buy it! Don't make me SHOUT AT YOU!
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