July 2nd, 2004

Holler

Isle theater to show 'Fahrenheit 9/11'

By Sarah Viren
The Daily News

Published July 02, 2004

GALVESTON — In Odessa, they boycotted it. In Greensboro, N.C., they gave it a standing ovation. Starting today, Galvestonians will have their chance to weigh in on the merits or shortcomings of Michael Moore’s controversial documentary “Fahrenheit 9/11,” which will be shown for the first time in Galveston County at the Premier Cinema on Seawall Boulevard.

Lori Picken-Roach, the theater’s manager, said she started pushing before Memorial Day to get a copy of the film, but never thought it would arrive this quickly. Often with limited release or independent films, Galveston has to wait up to four weeks for a showing, she said.

“This is a really big deal to get a movie one week after New York gets it,” she said. “It’s the movie industry’s hottest ticket.”

“Fahrenheit 9/11” is a documentary critical of President Bush and his administration’s handling of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the Iraq war. Critics have called the film anti-Bush propaganda, but supporters contend that Moore’s depictions are accurate and damning enough to change some people’s political convictions.

Picken-Roach said she’s only received supportive e-mails and calls so far, but is prepared for backlash.

“I couldn’t not play it because that would be censorship,” she said. “I can’t wait to show it and see the reaction.”

“Fahrenheit 9/11” has been in the limelight since early May, when the Walt Disney Co. decided not to let its subsidiary Miramax distribute the film. Lion’s Gate Entertainment took over distribution and the first weekend of release Moore’s picture garnered nearly $22 million, a record for a documentary. “Fahrenheit 9/11” was also awarded best picture during the Cannes Film Festival this year.

Not everyone is giving in to the hype, though. At Galveston’s Veterans of Foreign Wars post on 24th Street, most of those around the bar said they’d never heard of Moore or his movie. The few that had didn’t have very high opinions of the man.

“I don’t like Michael Moore or anything he expounds,” said Bob Bright, a Galveston resident who served eight years in the National Guard. “I just don’t agree with him.”

Democrats and liberals have been coming out in droves to see the film, though. Bill Cowan, a local precinct representative for the Galveston County Democratic Party, bought tickets on opening day at the AMC 30 theater on Beltway 8. There was a line around the block to see the afternoon showing, he said.

Now that “Fahrenheit 9/11” is in Galveston, Cowan will probably see it a second time.

“I very well might go again because I have some friends who haven’t seen it,” he said. “I thoroughly enjoyed it. I think he called attention to some things that needed to be pointed out.”

“Fahrenheit 9/11” will stay at the Galveston Premier Cinema at least a week, but could last much longer if sales are high.

It opened on June 23 in New York City and Washington, D.C., and in 868 theaters two days later — selling out at many locations. More copies of the film were produced the following Monday, and that’s when Picken-Roach got word that “Fahrenheit 9/11” was coming to Galveston.

“Maybe he just got tired of me begging,” she said of her booker.

If the movie does well, Picken-Roach said she hopes to start bringing more art house and independent films to the theater.

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What: “Fahrenheit 9/11.”

When: 11:10 a.m., 1:50 p.m., 4:40 p.m., 7:15 p.m., 9:50 p.m. today. Check listings for future showings.

Where: Galveston Premier Cinema, 8902 Seawall Boulevard.

On the Web: www.pccmovies.com.