Chelsea Asplund/The AS Review
According to the National Association of Theater Owners, in 1948 prices for movie tickets cost a mere 36 cents. Fast-forward six decades and not only are movies in surround sound and 3D, but they also average over $7 per ticket.
Living on a college budget, many students resort to illegal downloading, file sharing or receiving DVDs through their mailboxes instead of paying the hefty theater prices. But what many Western students may not realize is that they can see new and old films throughout the year right on campus, all of which range in genre, style and popularity and cost as little as $1.
Tucked away on the fifth floor of the Viking Union is VU 552, a bland lecture hall by morning that transforms into a charming cinema at night.
For senior Jeremy Smith, being the ASP film coordinator gives him an opportunity to provide that luxury to students.
Throughout the year, it is Smith’s job to secure the rights to films to showcase them to the student body. ASP Films also co-sponsors screenings with other groups and organizations for special events, such as outdoor films and the Western Film Festival.
For his position, Smith gets access to a budget-funded Netflix account from which he selects the films.
“I decide on the films based on my reaction and how I think the student body would react,” he said.
Once Smith has made his choices, he must run all selections by the AS production director and adviser for approval. He said they look at blaring aspects of the film that might raise issues, such as heavily violent or sexually explicit scenes like those depicting domestic violence.
Western goes through a motion picture rights company called Swank out of St. Louis. The company gets the rights from studios and then schools such as Western pay for the rights to show. Smith said depending on how popular or new the film is, getting those rights can cost anywhere from $300 to $900.
Feb. 14-16: “Priceless”
As Valentine’s Day comes rolling in, ASP Films will be showing “Priceless,” a French romantic comedy at 7 and 9 p.m. in VU 552. The story begins with Irene, a deceitful gold digger, who mistakes a shy hotel waiter as a wealthy suitor. Infatuated with her from the beginning, the waiter goes to extreme measures to win her over.
“It’s one of the best romantic comedies I’ve ever seen, because it is not a Hollywood one,” Smith said. “The Hollywood ones are so generic.”
For Valentine’s Day only, film tickets will be buy one, get one half-off, so pairs can enjoy the movie for only $3.
Feb. 24-26: “Young Victoria”
In a more historic and dramatic vein, the film “Young Victoria” follows a different storyline for a romance, with Emily Blunt portraying Queen Victoria in England during the 1800s. The film follows the young queen from just before she took up the throne until she fell in love with Prince Albert.
The film was critically acclaimed and was nominated for three Academy Awards in 2010 and won for Best Costume Design.
“As far as period pieces go, it’s very hard to find one that entertains and can have any kind of relevance,” Smith said. “‘The Young Victoria’ is a really good film and it was something different, something more dramatic, to stick in with the rest this quarter.”
A new component Smith said he is trying out is implementing Saturday matinées. For “The Young Victoria” the matinées will take place Feb. 26 at 1 and 3 p.m., and cost $1 less than the fare would normally be.
Feb. 28-March 2: “Social Network”
The final film for winter quarter will be the highly acclaimed “Social Network” starring Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield and the over-rated and overly publicized five-minute appearance of Justin Timberlake. The film follows two Harvard students through the trials and tribulations, lawsuits and unexpected fame that came with the founding of Facebook the social networking phenomenon.
The film grossed over $200 million and dominated the Golden Globes Awards on Jan. 16, winning four awards including Best Motion Picture and Best Director. It is currently nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture.