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My 1998 summer of movies

Sony Pictures / Sony Pictures Classics

25 years ago today, David Mamet’s The Spanish Prisoner was released. It’s still a pretty nifty con artist movie, a genre Mamet has historically been among the very best at. But I bring it up now because that movie unofficially marked the beginning of my 1998 Summer of Movies, in which my friend Jeremy and I made an effort to see every single movie that came out in the theaters.

I don’t think we ever explicitly said that’s what we were going to do, but once we started, we didn’t stop, and we sure weren’t picky. If it came out in Wichita, we went. I count 76 movies that I’m absolutely positive we saw in the theater that year, and when I say I’m absolutely positive, I mean I can remember the exact theater we went to—The X-Files movie at Cinemas East, along with Next Stop Wonderland, Smoke Signals, and Permanent Midnight. Saving Private Ryan at the old Northrock, Snake Eyes at the new Northrock, Roland Emmerich’s Godzilla remake at the Towne East theater out in the parking lot, Wild Things at the Warren out west, which I think was the only Warren that existed at the time. Blade at a couple different places, Out of Sight at least four times, including at the east Palace once it left first-run theaters. And there are dozens upon dozens of other movies I’m pretty sure we saw, but that I can’t quite place at a specific location, so I won’t count them. But each time, Jeremy bringing his large bag of Twizzlers that we would finish about ten minutes into the movie, at which point Jeremy would crumple up the bag and throw it to the ground, the way you might ceremoniously toss your champagne glass into the fireplace.

Now, obviously, doing the math, we didn’t see every single movie that came out that year, but considering I was a college kid with a minimum wage job, we did pretty well, even if that also exposes me as being wildly irresponsible financially. But, hey, I was in college. And I regret nothing.

Fletcher Powell has worked at KMUW since 2009 as a producer, reporter, and host. He's been the host of All Things Considered since 2012 and KMUW's movie critic since 2016. Fletcher is a member of the Critics Choice Association.