The Miami Herald from Miami, Florida on February 24, 1993 · 173
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The Miami Herald from Miami, Florida · 173

Miami, Florida
Issue Date:
Wednesday, February 24, 1993
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nmjwmf'W iPwyipiiywfwwfviypawfip u TV RADIO LIVING m iiiiiipi y p ip iv I ! I Everyone’s a film critic at Coral Springs cinema CRITICS FROM 12B CinemaScore In 1978 Ed Mintz a lifelong movie buff and a Neil Simon fan went with friends to see The Cheap Detective Critics had praised the film noir parody “We hated the movie” says Mintz 52 “We started talking ‘Instead of thinking about what reviewers said what about what fellow Neil Simon fans thought?’ ” Mintz then running a computerized billing service for dentists in Los Angeles started tinkering Theaters balked at pencils and interviews as potential delays to the movie He came up with a card a bit bigger than the kind you deal from a deck Simply by folding some of its 20 flaps you can grade a movie “A” to “F” identify yourself in one of five age groups and give reasons for attending — Do you like the actor actress director theme? It takes five seconds Men get one card women another — different only by color In 18 cities Mintz started small surveying an LA neighborhood and selling the results locally More than 14 years later Las Vegas-based CinemaScore works 18 cities Surveys randomly rotate among them with the aim of hitting 300 to 400 moviegoers for each of the 100-plus films rated each year Coral Springs which gets surveyed about once a month is the only Florida city There must be sophisticated statistical rationale behind the choice right? Wrong Mintz’s cousin Deidre Gilmore lives there He needed someone he could depend on A few surveyors quickly weeded out have tried to fudge forms Gilmore handles people and paper briskly and pleasantly Coral Springs did fill certain needs For some movies — The Cemetery Club for instance — Mintz needed an “older” crowd Demographics support the city’s image as home to 30- and 40-something parents with young kids But in the movie business “older” doesn’t mean retirees from Hallandale “Older” means everybody over 25 The great divide Now don’t get depressed Theoretically it works like this: Under 25 you might pay $650 to see Freddy Krueger butcher another bunch of brats Over 25 you probably won’t It’s the great divide of moviegoing By hitting opening night Mintz believes he assures consistency in audiences: mostly serious fans They might be predisposed to like say a particular Their activism goes beyond fighting for gays GAY FROM 12B tary — to be able to maintain our composure and do things like go on national television and talk rationally” The two don’t see each other often but their occasional visits mark the brief convening of a mutual admiration society They spark each other’s laughter they finish each other’s sentences “I don’t think of myself so much as being a poster child” said Thome 26 a Lake Worth native and graduate of Cardinal Newman High School Do not Thome says call him a gay Rosa Parks Thome and Steffan admit they play similar roles to civil rights pioneers but it doesn’t quite feel that way “I am just an ordinary American guy who is trying to do his job and trying to serve his country” Thome said The kid next door That is the point of the movement to overturn the Pentagon’s 50-year-old ban on gays in the military and in a larger sense the message of the gay civil rights movement writ large “This is all about showing that gays and lesbians are the doctor and the lawyer down the street the fireman the policeman and the kid next door” Thome said Except that the kid next door rarely winds up on Donahue Steffan’s and Thome’s lives have been subject to the scrutiny of hundreds of interviews This is not to say that Steffan and Thome are hesitant in their activism On the contrary they burn with their mission’s urgency and their crusade already has catalyzed change actress but on the other hand consider that Bo Derek’s Bolero earned a rare “F” If it didn’t click with these fans you can bet you’d walk out Over the years Mintz believes his results have dashed at least one belief: Los Angeles and New York are “sophisticated” and the rest of us are rubes Nowadays grades in Coral Springs Houston Milwaukee and LA rarely vary more than a letter “Why would Woody Allen fans in Coral Springs be any different from Woody Allen fans in New York?” Favorable reviews In Coral Springs most of the audience rated Cemetery Club highly The Hymans both gave it a “B” Lila liked the performances particularly Ellen Bur-styn’s Harold was ready with an “A” on the strength of early humor until a turn to the maudlin Lila’s sister Vera Levine also scored it a “B” That’s in line with national numbers: 313 viewers whose aggregate opinion worked out to B-plus Surprisingly given the subject the 4 percent of the audience under 25 rated it an “A” The biggest differences crop up between critics and audiences Early in the business a Milwaukee critic wrote a scathing piece on the poll — after the newspaper ran a CinemaScore rating next to his review Mintz responded with a column Douglas Armstrong for 12 years film critic at the competing Milwaukee Journal recalls the flap The paper by running CinemaScore with reviews seemed to be undermining its own critic “It was like they were saying ‘We always knew critics were idiots Here’s the proof’ ” Methods questioned Armstrong doesn’t object to polls — there are others — but he like many reviewers questions the value and methods “If marketing and research were precise tools Hollywood would never put out a losing film” The critic Armstrong says serves another purpose “It’s not the critic’s mission to gauge public taste” he says “If so food critics would be going to McDonald’s Popularity and taste are two different things” Mintz won’t say CinemaScore is foolproof or even all that scientific But he considers it a more reliable indicator of potential success and audience acceptance than critical praise or even early box-office numbers Neither says who is going and why and receipts can drop quickly if a movie gets bad word-of-mouth Originally sold to studios and the media Mintz now finds more ‘This is all about showing that gays and lesbians are the doctor and the lawyer down the street the fireman the policeman and the kid next door across the country It’s just all the other stuff they could live without - “It does take a personal toll” Steffan said “I can’t say it’s been a bed of roses the entire time” And it’s not because he is receiving death threats or hate mail He isn’t nor is Thome It’s something else “It’s very difficult sometimes to sit and realize that hey I have one life to live” Steffan said “Am I going to spend the next six years of my life working on something that may ultimately be disappointing or should I get on with my life?” Joe Steffan has just said publicly for the first time that he has a boyfriend “But I don’t discuss it” Steffan’s boyfriend Scott Storbo is with him in Miami Thorne’s boyfriend Mike Begland helps him prep for big interviews Even odds for diploma Steffan gives himself even odds at getting his Annapolis diploma A lawsuit filed in 1988 is awaiting appeal So far he has been more successful in the court of public opinion than at the federal Going someplace? Read the Travel Advisories every Thursday INTERNATIONAL EDITION SljeiTOami Herald 4 iCRITICStVStPEOPL if it Jt A Generally audiences scored The Cemetery Club higher than reviewers who tended to liken it to the TV sitcom The Golden Girls: THE CRITICS Jay Carr Boston Globe “ The Cemetery Club isn’t atrocious — especially to people who watch a lot of TV But it’s mediocre unworthy of its three admirable — but on this occasion — shortchanged — stars” (Olympia Dukakis Diane Ladd Ellen Burstyn) Doug Armstrong Milwaukee Journal : “I wondered why anyone over the age of 65 gave it a good grade it was embarrassing to older people Anytime they do anything romantic it’s got to be funny or silly or awkward” Jackie Potts Miami Herald stars: “ The Cemetery Club attempts to blend somber topics such as death and loneliness with catchy one-liners all to the strains of For interest — and profit — from cable channels and video chains Fox Video and Showtime are both clients as are numerous studios and trade publications like The Hollywood Reporter and Entertainment Weekly Rental surveys In the last 10 years or so CinemaScore has done separate surveys about movie rentals Some 4000 to 5000 video stores stock shelves based on CinemaScore “The real critical differences come in video” Mintz says “It’s not the grade that’s important It’s the sex and age Males under 25 vs females 25 and older Those are the opposite ends of the rental spectrum” Young men want a new movie immediately then get bored with it Older women will rent the same movies many times For a TRACY THORNE bench “It’s always a question of balancing Am I too involved in this issue? Should I be more involved in this issue?” Steffan said Beyond the narrower task of getting a diploma lies the more far-reaching goal of attaining civil rights for lesbians and gays an equally uncertain prospect President Bill Clinton could very well overturn the ban on gays in the military or the courts could declare it unconstitutional But Steffan and Thome fear a virulent congressional backlash could codify the ban For Thome the sacrifices have been equally costly He brings to the Navy a zealot’s desire to fly jets for his country and he realizes he might never His discharge papers are already signed awaiting review by the attorney general Even if he is allowed to stay it will be as an outcast He has broken a sacred silent bond among fliers “It is not the fact that I am gay that gives them problems it is the fact that I broke the faith with them by going so public” he said casting his eyes momen- i tliBWi mfi ff " c I Sir ' : Sentimental Reasons Overall the recipe works but it often leaves a superficial aftertaste" CINEMASCORE Phillis Larotonda Coconut Creek retired 68 “B” grade: "I enjoyed it but not its fullest capacity Maybe I looked into it expecting too much Olympia Dukakis she was good They were sort of all good in their parts The one thing that both my husband and I didn't care for was the ending” Vera Levine Long Island retired 76 “B:” "As a Jewish widow I did identify with it to a certain extent — not everything about it certainly not how they always behaved but it was good” Marshall Wygant Margate retired 63 “A:” “It was a little draggy a couple of times but funny and I graded it high just for trying How often do you even see anyone deal with these things in the movies?” movie like Terminator 2 a store will want a bunch early then should quickly sell off copies For a movie like City Slickers the stock can be smaller but should be held onto longer Jim Miller executive vice president of programming at Showtime says the movie channel uses CinemaScore “as a piece of the puzzle” in figuring what to run when and how often He sums up its appeal: “Lots of movies that critics actually love don’t do very well CinemaScore may be a little more of the voice of the people” What you can’t draw from the poll are a lot of conclusions about Coral Springs But years of reviews have revealed one thing “I won’t even give them an action movie” Mintz says ‘because they just don’t seem to But there is no turning from the personal mission that became a national obsession Thome wants to fly Steffan wants his diploma The military and the gay community await the results Guests of Victory Fund Steffan and Thome are in Miami as guests of local coordinators for the Victory Fund a national network of donors who help gay and lesbian political candidates win elections Saturday night they were honored at a fund-raising cocktail party in Coconut Grove Perhaps the truest testament to Steffan and Thorne’s place as civil rights activists is their dedication to the cause beyond the military ban When the furor in the armed forces dies down they plan to continue working on other fronts The rewards of spurring national debate have them brimming with anticipation The last line in Steffan’s book (Honor Bound Villard $2250) states he has already won his battle “I will always be involved in issues like this” Steffan said “You can’t have this kind of experience and not have it change your life” Thome could finish the sentence the same way but he doesn’t “How can you not be profoundly touched by this and how can it not become a central theme in the rest of your life?” he asked “But I really want to go back to flying I want to go back to the cockpit” WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 24 1993 1 1 n THE MIAMI HERALD INTERNATIONAL EDITION IIP Hollywood shoe biz expands adds a line By ELINOR J BRECHER Herald Staff Writer They’re striped dotted plain fancy platformed fabric-trimmed high-heeled and low And leather inside and out Jay Kaplan whose Designer Shoes Wholesale became a discount shopping sensation when it opened weekends 18 months ago in Hollywood is marketing his own line of women’s shoes Jay Alan pumps come in 40 to 50 styles depending on 'aPan the season in sizes from 4'2-ll — except 10'A — in medium and 6-10 medium and narrow All styles cost $45 and are available exclusively in the designer room at the store which this weekend celebrated a “grand re-opening” The occasion: doubling in size to 33000 square feet which — MUZE knows all about music MUZE FROM 12B In Dade Broward and Palm Beach counties several Spec’s Music and Video stores — including the main location at 1570 S Dixie Hwy in Coral Gables — and Peaches Music and Video at 1500 E Sunrise Blvd in Fort Lauderdale have installed MUZE machines Elsewhere Sound Warehouse and Tower Records have picked it up MUZE is “very user-friendly” says Tim Fath a poprock buyer for Spec’s Gables store Sometimes “people are apprehensive to ask for help or to feel like an idiot MUZE is a tool for them to use” That was one reason for developing MUZE says Zullo “People will ask a machine questions Widow’s companion is almost perfect Dear Ann: I have been a widow for nine years My husband was a big well-built man and a wonderful lover My first romance after his death proved to be a poor choice and I ended the relationship The intimacy however was extremely gratifying The man I’ve been seeing for over a year treats me beautifully and we have many mutual interests I could be perfectly content with “Bart” for the LANDERS rest of my life except for one thing I do not enjoy his lovemaking The first time we made love I was so disappointed that I seriously considered breaking up with him but his winning ways made me change my mind I’m trying to convince myself that his personality and fine qualities outweigh his inadequacy in the bedroom but I’m not having much success After all it’s not his fault that he isn’t well-endowed Lately Bart has been talking about marriage My family and friends think he’s fabulous and tell me how lucky I am Meanwhile I find my life becoming more and more entwined with his People are beginning to think of us as “a couple” I love Bart and I would really miss him if we should part But how do I handle this sex thing? He is not fully aware of how I feel and I don’t want to hurt him by saying anything I’m sure he believes he is a good lover I’ve faked enthusiasm to boost his ego He tries all sorts of variations and tells me how important it is to please me but nothing seems to help There’s not much he can do about his anatomy What do you suggest? A Wisconsin Woman You say the problem you are experiencing with Bart is a matter of size In that regard column first along with an estimated 80000 pairs of shoes on the racks — probably makes it the second largest shoe store in America according to Bill Boettge president of the Maryland-based National Shoe Retailers Association He said a store in Sharon Pa is slightly larger and one in Richmond Va claims to stock 90000 pairs Kaplan whose original work force of about 30 employees has tripled since the store opened expanded into the former Bra-hams Clothing Outlet in the rear of a pink warehouse at Interstate 95 and Stirling Road Jay Alans are made in Spain Kaplan and a factory designer collaborate on the styling They are leather soled with full kidskin linings Kaplan also has begun exporting shoes — Jay Alan’s and other brands — to wholesalers and retailers in Latin America New hours at the shoe store are 10 am-6 pm Saturday and noon-6 pm Sunday they may not ask a person” Another was to create a high-tech replacement for the clumsy paper Phonolog directory sales clerks rely on to help customers Phonolog lists titles alphabetically “Aside from the fact that the CD has caused everything to be re-released a manager in his 20s can’t know everything that came out in the ’70s” for example Zullo says “With MUZE you can hit a button and it goes into chronological release of album titles So you can have a 19-year-old clerk tell a 42-year-old what Thelonious Monk’s third album was” A MUZE computer costs $5500 to install plus about $ 1 00 in monthly fees to update the database what is is — but with proper instruction Bart can compensate for what you perceive to be a serious inadequacy To pass up the chance to marry this man for the reason you stated would be sheer lunacy Write to the American Association of Sex Educators Counselors and Therapists Send $2 and a large self-addressed stamped envelope to: AASECT 435 N Michigan Ave Suite 1717 Chicago 111 60611 Ask to be referred to someone who can help You’ll be glad you did Dear Ann: I fell madly in love with a man ho is of a different religion We dated exclusively for two years I went to his church and he came to mine in the hope that one of us might change over It didn’t happen Three months ago we were married by two clergymen one of each faith who were kind enough to co-ofliciate Both our families attended His brother was best man My sister was matron of honor Both sets of parents were pleasant and we were thrilled that everything went so smoothly After we settled into a beautiful new apartment I decided to have a small dinner party and invite both sets of parents When my mother-in-law arrived she was quite chilly and has been that way ever since I have learned through family members that she is very angry with me for not converting to their faith When I told my husband how hurt I was he said “Pay no attention You know how she is” Should I make an issue of it? Cut in Connecticut Making an issue of it will do no good You must keep your cool Give your mother-in-law time to thaw out If you ignore the frost and treat her especially well I’ll bet anything that you will win her over Good luck Ann Landers welcomes letters from readers Write to her in care of Living The Miami Herald 1 Herald Plaza Miami Fla 33132 Enclose a stamped self-addressed envelope for a personal reply m 7 irfNH)

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