The overbearing heat and swamp like humidity are expected when hanging out on the Mall in late July. It’s part of DC’s charm. The sudden downpours that send hundreds scrambling for partial cover are also par for the DC weather course. But when you wrangle up your good friends, pack up a little picnic dinner, grab a big blanket to spread out on and bring along your favorite adult beverage hidden in an ambiguous plastic container that could possibly (and hopefully) be mistaken for a water bottle by Park Police, you tend to get your hopes up about a glorious night under the stars watching a classic film from the past on the super-jumbo screen. Unfortunately, last night was not the Screen on the Green’s finest moment.
There really is something magical about laying on the National Mall with perfect views of the well lighted Washington Monument to your back and the always marvelous Capitol dome to your front while watching a great flick with 1000 or so of your closest friends; especially when the crowd bursts into a flash mob of dancing (otherwise known as standing and jumping and waving your arms) at the start of each film. The magic, however, ended with the scenery and the atmosphere and did not continue on with the film. To the disappointment of hundreds of moviegoers, last night’s feature film of “The Goodbye Girl” was out of sequence and not only showed some of the final scenes an hour early into the movie but also forced the audience to watch significant portions of the movie twice, resulting in an exodus by half of the crowd and leaving the remaining people chatting and losing interest for the next 20 minutes of repeated scenes. When the movie finally did return to the final yet-to-be-viewed scenes, the crowd let out an applause and returned to watching the last few minutes. It was not exactly pleasant given the weather conditions and the mishaps by the crew (or whoever was ultimately responsible for obtaining the film), but obviously we are still very thankful for the people that put these events on at no charge to us.
I just can’t really fathom how the two sponsors, entertainment giants HBO and Comcast, can possibly run a version of a film that has never even been viewed and is edited completely wrong in a highly public showing like this. But I suppose it was entertaining none the less and I’m sure the crowds will return next Monday for the playing of “12 Angry Men”. Let’s just hope they don’t show the Jury’s final verdict 15 minutes in.