Kevin Smith Is Fighting For Us All

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Although Kevin Smith is a good nine years younger than me, the NJ-born-and-bred director and I share many of the same views (lucky Kevin, huh?) One of these is his love for local small movie theaters (see this article: Kevin Smith Fights to Keep His Childhood Movie Theater Open With Famous Guests and a Proposed Reality Show, Because ‘Exhibition Is in the Toilet’ (

I had one such movie house growing up, within walking distance of my childhood home, located in Allwood, NJ. Called, the Allwood Theater (some marketing genius came up with the name, I know!) it was a sister to the Clifton Theatre across town (which, when you don’t drive yet could have been on Mars) and the local theatres of neighboring towns. And although all big movie houses to be sure (most sporting balconies) these were our local cathedrals, as Smith calls these movie homes. He bought his local theater in Atlantic Highlands, where he used to go see movies with his dad, reopening the spot in 2022 as “SModcastle Cinemas.”

The castle has been showing cult movies, hosting theme nights, and serving great popcorn ever since.

Fighting to keep the 103-year-old theater going, Smith knows the importance of a “walking community” as he calls it having access to a local independent movie spot…especially in this time of streaming dominating so much of our time. Those Saturday afternoons at the Allwood, catching One Hundred and One Dalmatians with a jam-packed kid-filled audience or dragging my dad to see Beneath The Planet of Apes with me (I love him still for this and many other indulgences of my budding interest in sci-fi that he didn’t share) a Saturday night “Bondian” double feature with our folks accompanying us so we could get in that late at night (them sitting in the back so my friends and I could have our own row) and enjoying the same ‘adulting’ when taken to see Blazing Saddles on its second run. My friend Tom being so frightened during The Legend Of Boggy Creek (as we all were) that near the end of the movie he jumped over the back of his seat. Or me seeing Silent Running on its first run, and it changing my life…

I could go on and on like Celine Dion with my Allwood Theatre memories here.

Yes, my beloved Allwood was chopped up into a bunch of smaller theaters, then chopped again, as were the other local spots that survived…some surely didn’t. The Allwood presently sits abandoned at its big corner spot, with buyers rumored to take an interest every now and again, but no concrete sales imminent. Had I the money, I’d pull a Kevin Smith and restore the place to its glory.

I surely applaud Kevin Smith for his efforts to save his home movie house, look forward to his new The 4:30 Movie, which rolls out this summer through Saban Films (don’t get me started on how sacred “The 4:30 Movie” was to me and a whole generation of film lovers) and hope he does actually get the reality show about independent cinemas, he has already filmed some footage for, sold.

Fight the good fight Mr. Smith for our screens and dreams.

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