Friday, November 11, 2005

The Curse of the Limited Release

I live in the country. And before you laugh and say, "Sure, so do I! I don't even have a mall in my hometown!" allow me to explain. I live in between a cornfield, and a house built on what was for the majority of my life, another cornfield. Behind my house is a river. Across the street is another cornfield. It is a five minute drive to the nearest "town," which is graced by a gas station and one stop sign (lots of yields though). Fifteen minutes would bring you to my high school, where a whole 97 people graduated with me in 2002. Another fifteen minutes in that direction will take you to the nearest McDonalds and grocery store, the main attractions in that town. In the other direction from my house, a half hour drive will take you to Wal-mart, another grocery store, and another McDonalds. If you'd like to see a movie--and I mean not one on DVD--you are presented with a problem.

For the past year, I have waited patiently for Pride and Prejudice to come to a theater near me.

Where I live, the average education ranges from below the high school level to the two-year vocational degree. Very few people have a college degree, and those people either teach in the school, work in the hospital (which doesn't have a trauma center and is around forty minutes away from my house). I hate to be stereotypical, but what can I say? It's the truth! And some of those with college degrees don't use them. Well, I'll be honest, most people don't use their college degrees--they can't! Over the years, people have come to the point of either abandoning Indiana altogether, or working somewhere without ever using their degrees. They have no choice.

Not many of these people would want to see Pride and Prejudice with me.

I live in a place where Dumb and Dumberer stays in the theaters for nearly a full year, at least until it comes out on tape. Where if you claim to be learning Latin, people assume you want to move to Mexico. Where if you tell someone you're majoring in English, they laugh and reply, "That don't sound like no fun. Whenever I was in school, I hated English classes. I never done good in them." I then go home and cry, because we once had a beautiful language.

I find today, my dream movie isn't coming. Not to the forty-minute away movie theater. Not to the hour-and-a-half away theater either. And certainly not to the hour-and-forty-five-minutes away theater. Not even in Indianapolis can I see Pride and Prejudice or if I can, they aren't telling me online.

I love Jane Austen. She came from a cornfield too, except we would call it a wheat field here, and her father was a pastor just as mine is. She writes, as do I. I've read everything she's ever written, and I'm sure she would do the same for me, if, you know, she wasn't dead. I took a trip to her homes (in Bath, Chawton, and Winchester) and to where she was buried, even to the monument in Westminister Cathedral's Poet's Corner. Now that Pride and Prejudice has been interpreted in film once more, and in my lifetime, I am overjoyed! Someone else values her contrabution as well!

But that includes no one in my state.

It's on days like these that I wonder why I love where I live. The number of Barnes and Nobles are slight, we have almost no privately owned bookstores, and the libraries are little more than public video rental stores and community computer labs. It sometimes takes months for new novels, even cutting edge ones, to reach a library. When they do, it doesn't do me much good, because I have to pay an average of forty dollars to use any of them (see, no one wants my spot of countryside as it is too close to the county line).

As a state, Indiana sets its intellectuals up for failure. We have nothing to tempt them, except in business and positions teaching at the college level. If I were to get a master's degree or even a Ph.D., I would be driven at least as far as Chicago in search of employment. And I'm not the only one!

I'm wondering, if movie theaters took a risk with a good (if perhaps, intellectual) movie, would our young people acclimate themselves to thinking and asking questions without being forced by their high school teachers? At least their parents wouldn't discourage them from seeing a movie as they would if children wanted to see a play.

I know I'm only dreaming, but sometimes it seems like Indiana has forgotten that people like me exist. So, here I am (a friendly wave).

Please let me see my movie next weekend.

I can't take another trip to Wal-mart as weekend fun!

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