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S02.E17: Harlem Cinema House

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When the God Account sends Miles the names of three employees of an old movie theater he and Ali used to go to as children, he makes it his mission to help the theater's owner, Mr. Johnson (Frankie Faison), raise the money to save the theater before it closes down.

WRITTEN BY: Pilar Golden and Steve Harper

DIRECTED BY: Marcos Siega

Airdate: March 15, 2020

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These the type of episodes I love. No searching for who's behind the god account and no contrived romantic drama. 

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Back to being feel-good! Mostly - I wish they could have gotten the ring back. But the vintage film reels were a fair consolation prize. Although, the theater owner should have definitely known what was in the basement.

Thought it was interesting that they had Arthur somewhat reconcile with that other Bishop(?). We only make friends, not enemies, on GFM!

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It definitely was an improvement, although still plenty off weird stuff.

1. I'm shocked that they didn't just recruit Haley for the God Squad. "Hey, could you tell me where you sold that ring you fenced for me? It's worth a ton more than what we got for it, and you're the only person who knows where it is,so I figure if I tell you that you can purchase it for well under market, you'll be willing to help me out, right?" She has the same keen instincts of the rest of the team.

2. How could Miles and Cara see the whole Emily/Ali thing and not get the obvious parallels to their situation? As in, YOUR SITUATION MAKES NO SENSE!

3. What movie were they going into at the end? The middle of the showing that had started already?

Frankie Faison is a national treasure. He's never anything less than excellent. 

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Yep, the winning formula for this show has to be minimal hunt for the GA and minimal relationship drama between Miles and Cara. The twist at the end wasn't much of a twist (I expected some priceless movie paraphernalia to show up though I thought the Maltese Falcon poster would have autographs) but this was a 'the journey counts more than the destination' narrative so that was okay. About time they had Alie actively join the team.

I also liked the sort of reconciliation between Bishop Finer and Reverend Elias. And that Miles realized that Alie had wanted a different answer to her question.  I was just struggling with Leo, he's doomsday sulking came across a bit too strong especially when he blamed Rakesh for what sounded like a technical glitch. I wanted to send him off to an island together with Zack.

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Actually the whole God Friended Me show  is starting to wear thin to me.

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1 hour ago, MissLucas said:

I was just struggling with Leo, he's doomsday sulking came across a bit too strong especially when he blamed Rakesh for what sounded like a technical glitch. I wanted to send him off to an island together with Zack.

Yes, overall I liked the episode, but the dick-and-debbie-downer attitudes were a bit much.  How do you know (be certain) something won't work unless you give it a try?  Nice for Bishop Finer to reconsider the grant for the other program.  Can't see that working in real life, but for tv, I'll handwave.

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Here's what I wondered about: Bishop Finer said that after the success of the shelter at Harlem Episcopal there were many other such shelters that had opened up in the area.

So why didn't he cut one of those other ones instead of a program that was both working well and the only one of its kind?

Sure, he could still be accused of saving his pet project, but at least he wouldn't have been guilty of axing a unique program (being run by his adversary) for personal reasons.

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1 hour ago, NoReally said:

Here's what I wondered about: Bishop Finer said that after the success of the shelter at Harlem Episcopal there were many other such shelters that had opened up in the area.

So why didn't he cut one of those other ones instead of a program that was both working well and the only one of its kind?

Sure, he could still be accused of saving his pet project, but at least he wouldn't have been guilty of axing a unique program (being run by his adversary) for personal reasons.

My understanding is that other shelters were not diocese related shelters, but run by other groups/non-profits.  

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I don't believe the Harlem Cinema House would have been allowed to keep the original 35 mm movie prints.  And even if they somehow did get to keep them, they wouldn't be in very good  condition. 

Once a film finished its initial run, it would have be sent to secondary theaters, which Harlem Cinema might be considered, and then sent to to the next location.  Printing the film was expensive back before digital and they only made a limited number of copies.  So first run theaters tended to be in large cities and followed by the cheaper theaters in those cities, followed by sending it out to the smaller towns.  A theater who didn't send the film along to the next address would run the risk of the Studio ignoring them for the next big release.

Also, film was transported in those smaller containers, and then spliced together unto larger spools (platters) for running through the projector.  2 small canisters fit onto one large platter.  Then it would be cut down back down to send to the next theater.  Thereby cutting and taping the film repetitively.  So, even if Harlem Cinema did somehow keep the films, they aren't anywhere near the condition our crew thinks it is.  And this doesn't even include the fact that the room needs to be temperature controlled to keep the actual film from deteriorating.

The original movie posters would be valuable though.  They are also supposed to be sent along to the next theater, but the 2nd and 3rd run theaters would sometimes lose the poster and it ended up in someone's home.  Leaving the next theater to improvise a poster, often with hilarious results. 

Sorry, both my parents worked in the theater industry for a good number of years and I grew up hanging out in them.  I love this show, but they fail at realism.  Often.

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3 hours ago, kirkola said:

I don't believe the Harlem Cinema House would have been allowed to keep the original 35 mm movie prints.  And even if they somehow did get to keep them, they wouldn't be in very good  condition. 

I know, I watch TCM and they are always talking about how old movie prints are disintegrating.  I might believe the owner's father kept them illegitimately, though.

What I can't believe is that no one ever knew that poster was hiding a door to a closet.  Seriously, how dumb do they think the audience is?  The owner's father never told him about it?  I found that completely unbelievable.  Plus completely ignoring the "Casablanca" poster in favor of "The Maltese Falcon" is unforgivable.  Don't get me wrong, "The Maltese Falcon" is a great movie and up there with Bogie's best, but "Casablanca" is even more of a classic and on my short list of favorite movies ever.

I did relate to Miles and Cara having grown up with that theater - the front looked familiar to me but I just couldn't place it.  I saw "Casablanca" for the first time at the famous (and now gone) Regency theater in Manhattan in the mid 1970s.  My high school sweetheart introduced it to me.  We once went there and watched it back to back all day long.  We later memorized the movie and would re-enact scenes with each other.

I don't have a problem with the show addressing who's behind the God Account, but it's not a necessary thing for me in every episode either.  I think they should have been able to get the ring back, though.  I still miss the first season where every wrong was righted.

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4 hours ago, kirkola said:

I don't believe the Harlem Cinema House would have been allowed to keep the original 35 mm movie prints.  And even if they somehow did get to keep them, they wouldn't be in very good  condition. 

Once a film finished its initial run, it would have be sent to secondary theaters, which Harlem Cinema might be considered, and then sent to to the next location.  Printing the film was expensive back before digital and they only made a limited number of copies.  So first run theaters tended to be in large cities and followed by the cheaper theaters in those cities, followed by sending it out to the smaller towns.  A theater who didn't send the film along to the next address would run the risk of the Studio ignoring them for the next big release.

Also, film was transported in those smaller containers, and then spliced together unto larger spools (platters) for running through the projector.  2 small canisters fit onto one large platter.  Then it would be cut down back down to send to the next theater.  Thereby cutting and taping the film repetitively.  So, even if Harlem Cinema did somehow keep the films, they aren't anywhere near the condition our crew thinks it is.  And this doesn't even include the fact that the room needs to be temperature controlled to keep the actual film from deteriorating.

The original movie posters would be valuable though.  They are also supposed to be sent along to the next theater, but the 2nd and 3rd run theaters would sometimes lose the poster and it ended up in someone's home.  Leaving the next theater to improvise a poster, often with hilarious results. 

Sorry, both my parents worked in the theater industry for a good number of years and I grew up hanging out in them.  I love this show, but they fail at realism.  Often.

Yeah, it would have been a lot more believable if they had found a bunch of old movie posters- The Pickers on History channel have picked some old theaters that had large stashes of them, and some of the old, classic ones can be worth quite a bit. Someone on Pawn Stars brought in an unusually large original Frankenstein poster and it was worth in the 1000's of dollars. But, as this is suppose to be a feel-good show, they often don't rely on realism, ha ha.

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1 hour ago, willco said:

Yeah, it would have been a lot more believable if they had found a bunch of old movie posters- The Pickers on History channel have picked some old theaters that had large stashes of them, and some of the old, classic ones can be worth quite a bit. Someone on Pawn Stars brought in an unusually large original Frankenstein poster and it was worth in the 1000's of dollars. But, as this is suppose to be a feel-good show, they often don't rely on realism, ha ha.

You would really think that if this guy was losing his business, he would have thought to search the basement/storage areas for valuable items ages ago. If he was selling it, I would think he'd get the place appraised, or at least list out which property was being included in the sale.

9 hours ago, zoey1996 said:

Yes, overall I liked the episode, but the dick-and-debbie-downer attitudes were a bit much.  How do you know (be certain) something won't work unless you give it a try?  Nice for Bishop Finer to reconsider the grant for the other program.  Can't see that working in real life, but for tv, I'll handwave.

I was confused by Leo's storyline. He got disqualified from the film festival, but why did that also equal not getting into film school? Wouldn't a school have been a separate application process, even if he was sending them his film? Did I miss an explanation about that?

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11 hours ago, KaveDweller said:

I was confused by Leo's storyline. He got disqualified from the film festival, but why did that also equal not getting into film school? Wouldn't a school have been a separate application process, even if he was sending them his film? Did I miss an explanation about that?

Unless I misunderstood something, my understanding was that submitting a sample of his work in the form of a film short was a requirement of the application process to the school, so without it his application there would have been incomplete.  It would be like applying to any art school without submitting samples of your work.  Plus he was coming up to the submission deadline so if he didn't have it in ASAP they wouldn't be able to consider his application for the coming term.

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I have a real soft spot for those classic old cinema houses, so I enjoyed this one quite a lot. Not much "who is behind the God Account" stuff, no real relationship drama, and everything pretty much worked out for everyone in a good old happy endings. Thats the show that I love! 

I was glad to see Arthur make peace with the other reverend, and realizing that he was slightly letting personal feelings, albeit feelings about Ali and not resentment of Reverend Elias, and that he had a very real talk with him and they worked something out. It sounded like there were other shelters in the area that did the same thing as the shelter their church did, but only one program to help former criminals reintegrate into society, which seems like there would be more of those, but who knows. I also thought that the plot with the released criminal program would tie into Haley. 

I always roll with the happy coincidences/miracles on this show, but it was sure lucky that the theater was filled with reels of famous well known classics and not random forgettable studio contract movies from the 40s and 50s that were big at the time but become more obscure, , or even really good but less well known films. Those would certainly pay well too, but its fortunate that the room was filled with movies the audience would recognize! 

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On 3/17/2020 at 6:11 AM, Yeah No said:

Unless I misunderstood something, my understanding was that submitting a sample of his work in the form of a film short was a requirement of the application process to the school, so without it his application there would have been incomplete.  It would be like applying to any art school without submitting samples of your work.  Plus he was coming up to the submission deadline so if he didn't have it in ASAP they wouldn't be able to consider his application for the coming term.

I can get having to have a sample of work, but it seems very unlikely that the school wouldn't have a separate submission process. I double the school would have required all applicants have a film in the same festival or that he sent both applications at the exact same time. If he was just submitting the same film, you would think he'd done it at different times and could have fixed the issue.

But I've never applied to film school, so who knows.

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5 hours ago, KaveDweller said:

I can get having to have a sample of work, but it seems very unlikely that the school wouldn't have a separate submission process. I double the school would have required all applicants have a film in the same festival or that he sent both applications at the exact same time. If he was just submitting the same film, you would think he'd done it at different times and could have fixed the issue.

But I've never applied to film school, so who knows.

I know it doesn't really make sense but how else could it be interpreted?  Maybe a part of the requirements or a prerequisite for admission to the school is to have a film shown at at least one festival and he wouldn't have time to submit it to another one before the school's application deadline?  Just grasping here.

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On 3/16/2020 at 5:05 PM, Yeah No said:

 Plus completely ignoring the "Casablanca" poster in favor of "The Maltese Falcon" is unforgivable.  Don't get me wrong, "The Maltese Falcon" is a great movie and up there with Bogie's best, but "Casablanca" is even more of a classic and on my short list of favorite movies ever.

I agree, except for the famous line from TMF - "The stuff dreams are made of."  Only Leo knew the poster was there.  His dream was advanced on this night.

Once again, the Bishop comes up way short when left to his own devices.  Well, if nothing else, the show is affirming my general opinion of Bishops.

The outrageous love and forgiveness Mr. J showed Haley at the precinct was wondrous.  I bought it.  That scene made me want to be a better man.

I wanna see the database that knew that poster was hiding the doorway which led to riches.  Point being, the GA has got to be extra-dimensional.

I had no idea the actress portraying Emily is the daughter of a baseball player I once enjoyed and respected - Jerry Royster.

All in all, this was a pretty standard ep.  It required a ton of suspension of disbelief.  Yet, it didn't treat us as being ignorant or stupid.  It did portray some excellent faith works and a lot of winning smiles and fashion.

Now...if only the GA could provide a corona cure...

 

 

 

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There was an American Pickers episode where they found a bunch of old reels except it was the Beatles and they thought they were worth a lot of money too. Except until Mike or Frankie called the guy they knew who told them they weren't worth anything. Movie theaters were suppose to destroy that stuff after viewing but it never was and it couldn't be sold because technically it still belonged to the Beatles. I kept thinking of that episode when they found the old reels and talking how much they were worth. I have a feeling a similar rule would apply to movie reels. I can't imagine the studios wouldn't make sure that the theaters they were sending reels to didn't turn around and try to sell them.

I agree about Leo. He was such a depressing downer! He just kept giving up. Blaming Rakesh who had nicely worked to try and help him out. Yes he had a dream and wanted to get into film school but what was to prevent him from trying again next year and the year after that? Or other film schools. By the end I really didn't care what happened to him. I love the idea of throwing him and Smug kid on an island somewhere.

It was really stupid that Miles and Cara don't see the parallel to their own stupid relationship drama.

But aside from that I really did like this episode. I loved Mr. Johnson and even liked Haley even though she was the one who stole the ring. She messed up and yes she should have told Mr. Johnson sooner and was dumb to tell the fence how much it was worth but at least she tried to fix her mistake. And was going to own up to it which would have meant jail time for her but would have gotten the ring back. 

I loved Mr. Johnson he was such a cool guy. I liked Miles and Ali hearing from him about their parents' first date and him trying to talk Arthur out of his movie choice. I liked see Miles, Cara, Rakesh, and Ali working together it was great. I loved the support from Miles, Arthur and Trish for Ali at her doctor's appointment and Miles convincing her to play hooky. Miles and Ali have such a great sibling relationship. I liked Miles calling Emily. I liked Emily still wanting to date Ali. And her response when Ali asked if she was up for it with I've been to the movies before. I liked Arthur changing his mind on other Reverend's program. I am surprised that didn't play more into the friend suggestion of the week or Arthur didn't hear about it and change his mind I was sure he would hear about Haley who had such a hard time finding a job after getting out of jail would make him rethink it instead just his talk with Trish. I did like learning the shelter was started because of Ali (although come to think of it why wouldn't the church have had that a lot longer? Don't most churches have shelters?).

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I wondered why Mr. Johnson didn't have insurance on such a valuable ring.  Maybe he couldn't afford it?

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On 3/16/2020 at 5:05 PM, Yeah No said:

 

I did relate to Miles and Cara having grown up with that theater - the front looked familiar to me but I just couldn't place it. 

The theater used for filming is the Lafayette Theater in Suffern, NY. You might recognize it because it is frequently used in movies and TV shows. Most recently, the Suffern theater and its adjacent streets were extensively used in "The Irishman."

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