Show & Tell: John Lewis


Well, this year has been very interesting, hasn’t it? And by “interesting,” I mean boring as hell and scary as hell at the same time. No movies at The Music Hall and no discussions afterward; along with the coronavirus and some political unpleasantness, it sounds like a recipe for depression.

Fortunately, there’s some light at the end of the tunnel. Our state has either done a pretty good job of masking/washing/distancing or we’ve been very lucky. Our COVID case count is low and steady and our death toll has remained mercifully small.

So, whether we’re being rewarded for good behavior or good luck, New Hampshire is loosening the rules a bit. Accordingly, it’s time to stick a toe back in the water of actual movie-going, and that’s fine with me.

Things won’t be back to totally normal for a while yet, but we’re going to restart the Show and Tell series with a couple of film discussions and see how things go. But there are rules for attendees. I’ll go into those even before I talk about the movies.

  1. Everybody wears a mask. Always.
  2. Everybody sanitizes their hands on entry.
  3. We use TMH’s seating chart to keep ourselves distanced.
  4. Our discussions will be limited to 20 minutes.

Fortunately, we have a couple of very interesting films to talk about that are worth the trouble.

First will be John Lewis: Good Trouble, the acclaimed documentary that tells the story of a hero of the civil rights movement who never stopped moving. As the poster says, “Thousands of protests. 45 arrests. 33 years in Congress.” John Lewis was, as far as we can tell, either absolutely fearless or so committed to justice that he never let his fear stop him from confronting injustice.

Yes, we’ve all seen plenty of tributes to John Lewis following his death and his remarkable post mortem travels to the scenes of his battles and triumphs. But this documentary, assembled by director Dawn Porter while Lewis was still alive, will give us another chance to see his story told warmly and completely. Black Lives Matter is still the movement of the moment, and we can all learn something by looking at its roots.

The big change with this movie is that it will be showing at 2:00 in the afternoon of Wednesday, August 26. I’ve never done an afternoon discussion, so I’m looking forward to a new experience.

The second film discussion will be Emma, on Tuesday, September 8, which will return us to our traditional Tuesday evening schedule. This remake of the classic Jane Austen tale of a well-to-do young matchmaker and her lessons in the Law of Unintended Consequences is a visual delight and gathers some solid dramatic power after a glitzy opening. I’m a collector of movies made from Austen’s novels, and I found this one quite satisfying.

So, I’m ready to take the plunge back into communal movie watching and group discussions. I hope to see a goodly number of you on Wednesday at 2:00 pm in The Historic Theater. (Don’t know about coffee and popcorn, but we’ll find out.)

Stay safe. I hope to see your eyes there!

Paul Goodwin