They Don’t Give Oscars For Best Movie Screen

rcavintage“It broke up my friendship with Steve Jobs,” he said, “when I told him movies were not meant to be seen on 21/2 -inch screens.” – film preservation philanthropist David Packard. First, it’s lucky for us that Packard is spending $180 million to house and preserve UCLA’s nitrate film library. That’s a huge gift to film history, a vital one. But, that comment, about how you’re *supposed* to see cinema, is an attitude that’s always grated on me. A 2 1/2 inch screen is an extreme example, but you’ll also hear from ppl bitching about 70mm and arcane sound systems that only a handful of theaters could show nationwide. When I was 17 and moved away to Chicago for college, I had a color 9″ x 9″ RCA TV and a beat VCR to watch movies. I watched Hawks, Bergman, Ford, Leone, Kurosawa … does that sound like sacrilege? Masterpieces viewed on a 9″ screen (almost as bad as 2 1/2″)? Then you’re not as thirsty for cinema as I was. But there’s always some annoying purist to tell you you’re not doing something right. There were two revival houses in Chicago, and I wasn’t about to wait for them to show me every movie I wanted to see. I couldn’t, there were hundreds. Seeing a movie on a smart phone seems crazy, but if I was 17 and couldn’t wait to see Preston Sturges’ movies for the first time, I’d do it. Also, what kind of a friendship did you have with Jobs where such a simple disagreement could end it? What a couple of pills.

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