A Guy Can’t Afford To Leave Town

Dan Boylan
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Wednesday - July 11, 2007
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Jeeeez! A guy leaves town for a couple of weeks and all hell breaks loose. To wit:

Some %^&$@* at Consolidated Amusement closed down the Varsity Theatres. What’s up with that?

For the last couple of decades, the Varsity Theatres were the only place in Honolulu where you could see a movie made for viewers over the age of 11. Oh, all right, maybe 14.


For example, I saw The English Patient there (twice, I think). So too Shakespeare in Love and American Beauty (twice again, I think). Now all of these films won an Academy Award for best picture (in 1996, 1998 and 1999, respectively), but none of them was shown anywhere in multiplex Honolulu until they received their nominations - or they had actually received their statues.

Instead, Consolidated offered up the 1996, 1998 and 1999 equivalents of the cinematic dregs playing at my local Regal’s Pearl Highlands Stadium 12: The Phoenix, Transformers, License to Wed, Ratatouille, Live Free or

Die, 1408, Evan Almighty, Fantastic Four: Silver Surfer, Ocean’s 13 and Surf’s Up.

Now what am I offered here? Amovie based on a moveable children’s toy; a movie based on a comic book action hero; three movies that are the second, third and fourth incarnation of an initial featherweight, if entertaining, original. Oh, and an animated flick about a rat (the only one of the lot, however, to receive critical praise. But still, it’s a long cartoon about a rat.)

I know what some of my hotsy-totsy downtown readers are thinking: “Get off your keyster, Boylan, and come into the city where culture still thrives.”

Oh, sure. Same pre-adolescent garbage is playing everywhere. The only exceptions are at Regal’s Dole Cannery Stadium 18 and Consolidated’s Ward Stadium 16 that have Sicko. You can bet this left-leaner will see that one. Another possibility is A Mighty Heart. Maybe, but too much Angelina Jolie, I hear. And, yes, there can be too much Angelina Jolie. There’s also Vie En Rose at

Consolidated’s Ward Stadium 16, although it’s received mixed reviews. I’ll probably skip it. Music bios don’t usually do it for me.

There’s also the wonderful Waitress playing at the Aikahi over on the Windward side, but the Aikahi is where Consolidated sends movies to die.

No, we’re going to miss the Varsity Theatre big time. Oh, its acoustics sucked: In either of its two theatres you could watch one movie and hear two, all for the price of one. And it seemed to me that the popcorn grew staler with each passing year.

But at the Varsity you could count on seeing the best movies Honolulu had to offer for adults - stuff you could think about, talk to your companion about for more than 15 minutes on the ride home, chew over again in your mind the next day.

Consolidated has to fill the void somewhere on its 90 Oahu screens. Or Regal. Or somebody.

Please.

The closing of the Varsity Theatre was bad enough, but then there was the resignation of Gov.

Linda Lingle’s aide, Bob Awana.

Awana’s a political type I’ve always liked - the trusted back-room aide who does the pragmatic stuff, the scut work of politics, if you will. There’s little glamour in it; it’s fence-mending and party-tending and political fire-dousing.

It requires two major talents: 1) knowledge of when to bust somebody or when to make nice, and 2) the ability to sublimate your own ego completely to the Big Poobah you serve.


Awana could both bust and be nice, and his loyalty and submission to Gov. Linda Lingle have been total since he signed on with her prior to Lingle’s first gubernatorial run in 1998.

But in the past few weeks Awana was forced out of the back-room by charges of using his political influence to gain a contract for a company in which he held an interest and, perhaps, for an affair with a woman in the Philippines.

So Lingle and Awana decided Bob must go. Too bad, for they who do political scut work in back rooms also serve. Awana usually did his well - with charm and good humor and with a complete understanding of why, in circumstances like those in which he now finds himself, he must go.

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