December 01, 2003

American Museum of the Moving Image

To finish off the four day weekend, Jon and I went to the American Museum of the Moving Image (AMMI) in Astoria.

I wanted to show him the screen test for Linda Blair's makeup from the Exorcist (very scary). You've all seen that, right? Excellent, excellent footage, but alas, it was gone.

I wanted to show him the SEINFELD diner set. Gone. That was the museum's main draw for quite a while. But it was gone, gone, gone.

In it's place, was displayed, on loan from Robert DeNiro's personal collection, wardrobe he has saved from various movies he's worked on. That sounds cool, right? But wait. Think about it. Not only has this man saved outfits he will never wear again but he loaned them to a museum for display. What exciting outfits were there you might be asking yourself? How about Mr Deniro's bathrobe from Awakenings or his pants from Godfather II. Even more exciting, one of his suits from Analyze That. But most exciting of all for me was a before and after version of a peach silk jacket from the movie CASINO. The before jacket was in pristine condition, the after version was "distressed", ripped and torn at the sleeve and a little bit dirty. Why save this? I don't know.

Before we went, I checked the AMMI site to see what special exhibits there might be. I was excited to learn that TIM BURTON's drawings were being shown. And they were exciting to see....all 12 of them. I'm sure he's drawn more, but the museum was only able to secure 12. They were able to get practically DeNiro's entire film wardrobe collection but only 12 Burton drawings.

The most ridiculous display had to be the STAR TREK figurines behind glass. It looked like someone ran down to KAYBEE toy store on Steinway, bought some figurines and shoved them under the glass as a last minute solution to the curator's problems.

There were some fun, interactive exhibits on the third floor which teach about the history and technique of film making and animation. For example. You can animate a 10 second cartoon...dub a movie...lay down a soundtrack...animate a face...pose in front of a blue screen...

That's worth the whole trip.They also have a real nice collection of old film cameras and sound equipment and televisions and some real neat old footage of different films and tv shows on display throughout the museum. and some of the permanent collection, is alright.

It's also worth a visit if you're interested in seeing some old films on the big screen and speaking with the directors of those films. I do believe Mr. Scorcese has been partipating in some PINEWOOD Dialogues. Check out their website for more information.

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