Wednesday, December 07, 2011

The End Of The Line For (Another) World’s Largest

Shortly after arriving home from my final leg of the tour, I heard the news that the end had come for another “world’s largest”.
You may have read in a past Southern Circuit blog post about the giant popcorn box that the folks at the Lucas Theater in Savannah constructed for our screening. Or maybe you heard about it somewhere else - the local press or facebook, where a noted travel blogger commented on it. That’s because it did exactly what a good attraction is supposed to do – created buzz for the film, the Lucas, and by extension the city itself.
The popcorn box also made sense, symbolically. Much of World’s Largest focused on what object people memorialize with their town statues and as such, what they choose to celebrate about their communities. What better thing to represent a classic theater than an oversized tribute to the quintessential movie snack.
Sadly, the saga of the popcorn box paralleled the narrative of the film on another level as well. Big ideas often prove divisive. And sometimes the naysayers have valid points – if too much public money is spent on the project, there’s no unified vision, maybe it’s simply too garish. None of these arguments seem to apply to popcorn box, so this handmade labor of love arguably delivered all the benefits of a “world’s largest” with none of the drawbacks. Yet it still triggered complaints, which prompted a citation from the city and its ultimate demise.
Weighing in as a visiting filmmaker, I can honestly say the popcorn box enhanced my time in Savannah. Its construction and presence transformed the screening of my film into a participatory event. If it still existed, I’d tell people to go visit it. RIP popcorn box, I hardly knew ye.