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Hot Summer Nights
Photo by Serhii Tyaglovsky / Unsplash

Hot Summer Nights

🎞️ Where to watch a movie · Of leaks and whistles · Rebranding upzone · Film rundown · Much more!

Good afternoon, everyone.

Hope everyone had a nice Independence Day. Important to remember that there's a difference between the American nation and the American government.

Onward.

I didn’t expect a movie like Thelma to draw much of a crowd at 11 a.m. on a weekday at the one theater in Cookeville, Tennessee. Even before COVID, I’d gotten used to being the only person in an auditorium–even for evening showtimes of bigger releases that were a few days past their opening weekend. Though the film took Sundance by storm and has managed to maintain a glowing reception since its release on June 21st, I’d finally bought into the early summer hype that moviegoing might finally be dead after a string of high-profile box-office misfires like The Fall Guy and Furiosa.

But an auditorium of dozens had turned out to see 93-year-old June Squibb as the gun-toting victim of a phone scam who teams up with Shaft’s Richard Roundtree on a 2-up motor scooter ride through the San Fernando Valley to get her money back. Mission: Impossible-style. 

Thelma clearly had an audience outside of arthouse theaters powered by some good–old-fashioned word-of-mouth. Despite nonexistent marketing from Mark Cuban’s Magnolia Pictures, the movie was connecting. It’s an intergenerational story about the power of family that is unafraid to interrogate some hard truths about death and aging–as hilarious as it is profound.

With a little advertising and a few more weeks, it could have been a breakout hit and a surefire awards contender—this summer’s My Big Fat Greek Wedding or at least Little Miss Sunshine. But it had its final showings in Nashville early this week, struck down by the latest Hollywood cash grab and soon to be streaming. 

Despite the optics, 2024 has been one of the best summers for moviegoing in and around Nashville. Those who attended the Belcourt’s 1999 retrospective or tribute to Nicole Kidman witnessed movies like the Big Tobacco thriller The Insider and Eyes Wide Shut pack auditoriums in ways that seemed like a pipe dream when they underperformed on initial release. Halfway through the season, Hollywood has released a host of films on par with the class of 1999, including The Fall Guy, Furiosa, and The Bikeriders. Like their predecessors 25 years ago, all have initially gone bust. 

Yet, these were not unfortunately ignored gems like Magnolia or Fight Club that the studios stayed behind until they found their audience. They were dumped onto streaming less than three weeks after their releases, victims of lazy marketing that didn’t bother understanding them and an audience now conditioned to wait for Netflix. 

Maybe the movies don’t matter but to a select few. Maybe they do, but the convenience of home viewing makes moviegoing as a communal activity seem obsolete. Maybe Hollywood is out of touch, a corporate behemoth that has taken sides in a perceived culture war. But there’s a difference between a culture war and a corporate war on culture where everything is intentionally reduced to content consumed passively and in isolation.




At the end of July, we have a few events we're hosting. If you're interested in learning more or attending, click through to find out. (More Info)

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Nashville

🛑 The Long Road To No “Manifesto” Yesterday, Judge I’Ashea Miles blocked the release of Audrey Hale’s writings, determining that “public access to every record at any time” isn’t an adequate interpretation of Tennessee law.

Over the last month, the Tennessee Star has steadily released the documents they’ve managed to get their hands on as the epic suit over FOIA requests continued to unfold; on June 5th, the outlet started publishing Hale’s writings after obtaining about 80 pages of journal entries “from a source familiar with the Covenant investigation.” Two weeks later, the Star also reported on a document titled “Vandy Psych,” which summarizes 75 pages of a Vanderbilt University Medical Center report regarding her care. Here’s a short compilation of all the information that’s been leaked so far.

From Hale’s writings

On February 18th, 2023, nearly a month before the shooting, Hale acknowledged Covenant by mentioning that the school was closed. “I guess it was the weather.” Two days later, she penned what The Star described as a political rant: “So now in America, it makes one a criminal to have a gun, or be transgender, or non-binary,” wrote Hale. “God I hate those s***head politicians.” By that March, Hale began to refer to her “death day” and mentioned her urge to find a doctor to help her make the transition from Audrey to Aiden. On the day of the tragedy, Hale included an entry alluding to her disbelief that she was able to carry out her plan: “There were several times I could have been caught, especially back in the summer of 2021.”

In other entries, Hale claimed she called the National Suicide Prevention Helpline five times in the months before the shooting; avoided commitment to mental health institutions on three occasions; and fixated on one former middle school basketball teammate who died and expressed love for another teammate, whom she texted the day of the shooting. She wrote about her loneliness, embarrassment of her sex, and her disappointment and enragement with both herself and the world.

From VUMC document

According to this summary, Hale had been prescribed four drugs over an unknown stretch of time. Among these were Buspirone, commonly used to treat anxiety disorder; Escitalopram, used to treat depression and generalized anxiety disorder; and Hydroxyzine, used to help control anxiety and tension caused by nervous and emotional conditions. The Star later tallied a fourth anti-anxiety medication, Lorazepam, after obtaining a picture of Hale’s prescription bottles.

Hale’s parents were said to have been “concerned with her anger, sleep deprivation, and increased depression.” It’s also mentioned that Hale had thoughts of killing her father and “going into a school and shooting a bunch of people.”

For a deeper dive into Hale’s thoughts and motives, you can peruse the Star’s archives, available here. MEGAN PODSIEDLIK

✰   ✰   ✰

🏠 NEST, Round Deux? After the partial retraction of the many NEST initiatives proposed by Councilmembers Quin Evans Segall and Rollin Horton, it seemed the swell of county-wide zoning initiatives had temporarily subsided— but has it? 

A couple of weeks ago, the Metro Housing Division launched something called the Unified Housing Strategy. Angie Hubbard, director of the division, called it “a first-of-its-kind plan” designed to bring together “all of the important partners in our housing ecosystem to ensure that we are working as effectively as possible…." 

Presumably, the initiative is designed to seek input from area stakeholders before proposing policy recommendations “to advance access to affordable, safe, and stable housing for all Nashvillians.” Given that NEST failed the constituent smell test back in March, this may be Housing’s attempt to step in and take the reins. 

Metro Nashville’s Housing Division is holding three public listening sessions to seek input:

  • Tuesday, July 9, 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Main Library (615 Church Street)
  • Thursday, July 11, 5:30-7:00 p.m. at East Regional Center (600 Woodland Street)
  • Thursday, July 18, 5:30-7:00 p.m. at Bordeaux Branch Library (4000 Clarksville Pike)

A public survey will be coming later this summer. Click here for more details. Of note: the NEST website is no longer available. MEGAN PODSIEDLIK

DEVELOPMENT

  • California restaurateurs to open Lion's Share in former McCabe Pub space (NBJ)
  • Atlanta developer plans residential community in North Nashville (NBJ)
  • Short-term rental units approved for Second Avenue building (Post)
Entertainment

THINGS TO DO

View our calendar for the week here and our weekly film rundown here.

📅 Visit our On The Radar list to find upcoming events around Nashville.

🎧 On Spotify: Pamphleteer's Picks, a playlist of our favorite bands in town this week.

👨🏻‍🌾 Check out our Nashville farmer's market guide and yearly festival guide.

TONIGHT

🎸 Silverada @ Ryman Auditorium, 8p, $35, Info

🎻 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest @ Schermerhorn Symphony Center, 7:30p, $81+, Info

🎸 Elijah Ocean, Jim McGuinn & Zephaniah Ohora @ Dee's Lounge, 9p, $10, Info

✨ G JONES: The Allegory of The Rave II @ The Caverns, 7p, $69+, Info
+ 2 night event showcasing the best in bass music and experimental sounds

🎸 HOUSE WEEKEND: A Celebration of Great American Bands @ Analog at Hutton Hotel, 8p, $20, Info

🪕 The Cowpokes @ Acme Feed & Seed, 12p, Free, Info

🍀 Live Irish Music @ McNamara’s Irish Pub, 6p, Free, Info

🎸 Kelley’s Heroes @ Robert’s Western World, 6:30p, Free, Info

✹ WEEKLY FILM RUNDOWN: July 4-11

The latest releases and special screenings hitting Music City this week. For a complete list of upcoming releases, check out our 2024 Film Guide.

Maxxxine Ti West concludes the horror trilogy he began in 2022 with X and Pearl by bringing final girl Maxine Minx (Mia Goth) to 80s LA as she sets her sights on Hollywood stardom. But the Night Stalker and a host of characters from a past she’s been fleeing from for years just might get in the way. Its predecessors made our Best of 2022 list, and this one looks par for the course, especially with the addition of Kevin Bacon, Halsey, Giancarlo Esposito, and Lily Collins. Now playing in theaters. Screening exclusively in 35mm at The Belcourt with special midnight presentations of 80s sleazy Hollywood classics Body Double and Vice Squad

Despicable Me 4 For better or worse, the Minions are back to help reformed supervillain Gru (Steve Carell) and his family on a newish adventure in the 4th installment of the blockbuster franchise. This time there’s a baby, and they go into witness protection or something. Now playing in theaters. 

Sound of Hope: The Story of Possum Trot Angel Studios is hoping for some Sound of Freedom grosses for this collaboration with The Daily Wire based on the real-life story of a minister who convinces his rural community to adopt 77 kids who fell through the foster system’s cracks. Let’s just hope it’s a better movie than its predecessor. Now playing in theaters. 

Jaws and The Sandlot The Belcourt offers the ideal July 4th weekend with a double feature of the shark movie armchair politicos love to misinterpret online and everyone’s favorite 90s tribute to idle preteen summers. 

Kill (Hindi) When an army commando boards a train on a mission to free the love of his life from getting married against her will, he unleashes hell on the gang of knife-welding punks terrorizing the passengers in the latest Bollywood actioner. Now playing at AMC Murfreesboro 16, AMC Thoroughbred 20, and Regal Hollywood 27.