For the second part of the date, Gerd knew where she was going, so I didn’t have to freeze outside very long. We went to the Edina Cinema to catch a film – Millionaire Slumdog.
The Edina Cinema is a four-screen theater showing a lot of non-mainstream films. Some independent and some foreign. It’s an awesome place to see quality films. It’s standard theater concession stand had what Gerd considers one of the best popcorns in the industry – meaning LOADs and loads of butter. The theater itself was plenty spacious and had lots of room for people – very clean – no sticky floors or smell of urine/vomit.
So Millionaire Slumdog is an independent film from India about a kid (a chai walla – aka office coffee boy) (also my new favorite word) from the slums who gets onto “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” in India. He’s one question from the huge 20 million rupee prize when the police arrest him for cheating. The cops show him the film of the show and he explains how his life taught him the answer to each one of the questions they asked him. Really kind of slick. Also the game show host is like an Indian version of Dennis Miller. I chuckled every time the guy said “millionaire” – I’m 5.
It’s not a nice view of India, either then or now, but it seems to be pretty non-hollywood and raw. There’s a love story behind the whole thing with the main character and a girl he and his brother grew up with. I would recommend this film to anyone who likes foreign films. Even though it’s not really a Bollywood film, the dancing and singing has been stripped out (I’m assuming for the US release). It’s a very quality film. [Chao: I'll amend this to say I know Danny Boyle directed this so it's not Bollywood at all. I'm still not convinced it's not showing in India with a Westwisde-Story-esque dance seen for every transition though...]
Hilarious thing happened. The end of the movie came and they started rolling the credits. And no one in the theater moved. I looked around and no one was packing up their things to go. There was standard issue Bollywood singing and dancing during the credits, but the crowd was riveted. Seriously, I thought maybe the Rapture had happened and everyone was dead. As soon as the standard US credits (the ones with white writing on black background) started, then people got up to leave. Weirdest thing ever. Had NOONE ever seen a foreign/Bollywood film before? Weird.
Top 5 things about Edina Theater/Slumdog Millionaire
1. Great acting
2. Was more dramatic than I thought it might be given the topic
3. Super awesome popcorn (so says Gerd)
4. Really clean theater
5. Pretty close parking in the garage behind the theater
Bottom 5 things
1. Reaffirms my vow to never go to India
2. Crowd unswerving interest in dancing during the credits
3. Bathrooms only on the half-floor (like Being John Malkovich) between first and second floor
4. Eerie blue lighting in the lobbies of the theater
5. Severe lack of boobs for a foreign film