Friday, September 07, 2018

Revisiting Enchanted (2007) at the El Capitan Theatre (Plus a Tribute to Burt Reynolds)

Earlier this week I spent time at the Cinecon Film Festival at the Egyptian Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard. (More on that coming soon!) Last night I returned to Hollywood Boulevard, this time to the El Capitan Theatre, for a "throwback" screening of Disney's ENCHANTED (2007).

I attended numerous screenings of classic Disney films -- linked at the bottom of this post -- at the El Capitan from 2012-2015; then from 2015-16 I skipped drives to Hollywood when I was able to see older Disney films locally as part of the "Disney Screen" series (linked here). It was wonderful to return to the historic El Capitan tonight!

The El Capitan opened as a legitimate theater in 1926, converting to a movie theater in 1941. Beginning in 1989 the theater was restored by Disney, which has operated it since 1991. It's a beautiful venue, with many screenings preceded by a mini concert on a huge Wurlitzer organ.

The periodic "Throwback" screenings are a great deal, with popcorn and soda included in the price.

An important note: Anyone who attends should be sure to park at the Hollywood & Highland Center across the street; parking is validated at the El Capitan and it only costs $2.00, a huge bargain both for that parking facility and for Hollywood parking in general.

ENCHANTED is one of my favorite films of the last couple decades. As I described it in 2014: "A terrific Menken-Schwartz score and a delightful acting and vocal performance by Amy Adams in a film filled to the brim with sly tributes to many of Disney's great animated films. It perfectly walks the line of being a funny riff on Disney's animated princesses and storytelling conventions without actually making fun of them, thanks in part to Adams' sincere performance. Strong support by Patrick Dempsey, Susan Sarandon, James Marsden, and Idina Menzel."

Curiously, the film seems to be rather overlooked by Disney itself, which hasn't made much effort over the years to use the marvelous score at Disneyland or create ENCHANTED-inspired merchandise.

But speaking of merchandise, a funny thing, at the El Capitan everyone receives a free raffle ticket upon entering the theater -- and when the numbers were called before the movie, I won a stuffed Pip! (For those who haven't seen the film, he's an animated squirrel.) I also won tickets to return to the theater later this month for COCO (2017) which I just might do!

This was at least the fourth time I've seen ENCHANTED since its original release; what a joy to see it on a big screen again! I'm not sure I stopped smiling for the duration of the screening.

ENCHANTED artwork on display in the El Capitan lobby:

Stills from the film rotated on the screen prior to the movie beginning:

As it happens, Burt Reynolds' Walk of Fame star is on the sidewalk right in front of the El Capitan. As is tradition, a wreath was placed on his star after his passing at the age of 82 was announced yesterday:

There was quite a media scene there when we exited the theater last night, with multiple news trucks, a big crowd...and a flashy Trans Am, calling to mind one of Reynolds' most famous films:

Rest in peace, Mr. Reynolds.


Blogger DKoren said...

I've never seen Enchanted! Sounds like I need to put that on my list and check it out.

I was very sad to hear about Burt Reynolds, even though I'm not really a fan and haven't seen that many of his movies. He was just such an icon on my youth regardless, that it still hit me.

10:23 AM  
Blogger Hamlette (Rachel) said...

Enchanted is such a cool movie! I just saw it for the first time earlier this year, and I'm waiting for my kids to be in the right mood to try it.

DKoren, if you want to watch it together some time, I have a copy.

I've never been hugely fond of Burt Reynolds, except for the fact that Smokey and the Bandit is loosely inspired by the exploits of Nascar's Skoal Bandit, Harry Gant. I don't even care about Nascar either, but I grew up in the little NC town where Harry Gant grew up, and I've met him and his wife, took art classes with his nephew, and ate at the steakhouse he used to own quite a few times. Part of the steakhouse was decorated with lots of Smokey and the Bandit stuff, so whenever I think of Burt Reynolds, I think of Harry Gant and my adolescence and really yummy chocolate pudding. So his passing has made me nostalgic in a very strange, specific way.

5:07 PM  
Blogger Walter S. said...

Laura, I first remember seeing Burt Reynolds on CBS TV's great Western series GUNSMOKE(1955-75), From 1962-65 he portrayed Quint Asper, Dodge City's half Comanche blacksmith. I saw that he was a good actor, at that time, and have been a fan ever since. He paid his dues as a working actor in TV and the movies from 1958-1972. DELIVERANCE(1972) made him a superstar and was the beginning of a twelve year run in the top ten at the box office(1973-84). He was number one from 1978-82. Burt Reynolds was a walking talking genuine movie superstar who owned the Seventies and early Eighties. Reynolds had a solid run with WHITE LIGHTNING(1973), THE LONGEST YARD(1974), HUSTLE(1975), GATOR(1976), NICKELODEON(1976). By 1977, he had become the biggest name in Hollywood, along with his longtime friend Clint Eastwood, and that year’s SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT out did every movie at the box office, except STAR WARS.

Burt's many box-office successes, along with his considerable screen charismatic presence seemed, at the time, to obscure his brilliance as an actor. I think he gave one of, if not his best performance, in the romantic comedy STARTING OVER(1979). He co-starred with Jill Clayburgh and Candice Bergen. Both Clayburgh and Bergen were nominated for Academy Awards and Reynolds was snubbed. I think he gave the best performance of the three, in what was Paramount Pictures top movie of the year. He did receive a much deserved Golden Globe nomination for Motion Picture Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical. He finally received an Academy Award Best Supporting Actor nomination in 1997 for BOOGIE NIGHTS, which is ironic because this was a movie that he didn't like making. He won a Golden Globe and several other awards for this movie.

Burt has had many ups and downs during his rollercoaster riding career. He was the first to say that he made a lot of bad choices, but he was game right up until the end. He was having a resurgence in his career because of strong reviews for his performance in THE LAST MOVIE STAR. Also, he was looking forward to being in ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD.

Burt "Buddy" Reynolds, thank you for being good in bad movies and great in good movies. I had fun watching you have fun making movies that were fun to watch back in the day. I treated myself tonight with a simple pleasure of watching a classic Burt Reynolds performance in SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT. REST IN PEACE.

10:36 PM  
Anonymous Kristina said...

I love Enchanted for a lot of reasons, one of which is James Marsden's delightfully dumb performance :) I'm a big fan of his, I think he's one of the most underrated actors out there.

2:37 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Deb, I'd love to know what you think if you see ENCHANTED. I'm glad to know that Hamelette and Kristina enjoy it too! (Kristina, Marsden is pitch perfect. And I love how his story ends up!)

Walter, thank you so much for contributing that nice remembrance of Burt Reynolds. Like Deb and Hamlette, I'm not really a fan, yet as they also describe, he was an omnipresent celebrity when I was young so there is a real sense of nostalgia and sadness at his passing. I'm glad to have someone like you who knows more about his career contribute some thoughts in tribute. Thank you!

Best wishes,

12:09 AM  

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