Where’s Atticus when you need him? Trying to attend “To Kill a Mockingbird” at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences

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Pictured: A scene from To Kill a Mockingbird,  Atticus with Scout (image courtesy of Universal Pictures.)

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the  American film classic “To Kill a Mockingbird.”  In celebration, Universal Pictures has digitally remastered the movie and it was recently broadcast on USA Network, becoming a trending topic on Twitter during the broadcast. The President of the United States even introduced the movie.  That’s how beloved this American film and novel of the same name are.  The character of Atticus Finch is a true hero who takes a stand for something he believes in to defend an African-American wrongfully accused of a crime.  Last night the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences showed the newly restored version of “To Kill a Mockingbird” to celebrate the film’s 50th anniversary at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.  I was generously extended an invite to attend this event along with the reception by the PR firm working with Universal.  Naturally, I was very excited.  As an English major, I studied Harper Lee’s book “To Kill a Mockingbird” in school.  It’s beautifully written and so engaging, told through the eyes of narrator Scout, the daughter of lawyer Atticus Finch.

So how was the screening at the Academy and round table discussions? Well, I have no idea.  You see, I arrived, and for 30 plus minutes tried to unsuccessfully claim the tickets that I thought had been left at will call.  When I finally got the tickets after much arguing, phone calls and nudging of all the people involved in reserving them for me, the line was simply too long to stand in to try to get a seat. Especially since I am still walking using a cane after having foot surgery.  This is the ugly side of being an invited blogger, we are not always treated well.  Blogging is hard work.  Those of us who do it, really do it because we love to write. I’m sure that’s why I’ve felt such an affinity for Harper Lee.  She loves to write. She doesn’t do interviews.  She doesn’t go on TV.  She just wrote her book.   That’s what great writers do, in my opinion.

If you live in Los Angeles, you might know that the Academy regularly screens great movies.  Tickets for  those shows are always available at the rates of $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID. Some of you may read that and think, wow, what a good deal, $5.00 or less to see a great movie.  Well, it’s not a good deal when the line for the movies stretches around the block with no reasonable accommodation for people with disabilities.  It’s not a good deal, when the people working the “will call” and check in lines are for the most part extremely rude and uncaring.  Yes, if you’re looking  for a great place to see a movie, and you want to get dressed up and be treated worse than a homeless person, by all means do to try to attend a screening at the Academy in Beverly Hills. Whether you’re a well known blogger with a special invite, or just a movie lover, all seem to be treated with equal snobbery and disdain.  Even Atticus Finch couldn’t have helped me find my tickets at the Academy.

 If you want a good deal on seeing a movie, The Recessionista’s recommendation is YouTube, NetFlex, TCM (available through cable TV) or even buying a DVD and having a special dinner and a movie night at home.   If you want to check out great films with other film lovers, have a look at The Turner Classic Movies (TCM) film fest happening this week in Los Angeles.  As for “To Kill a Mockingbird”,  I will buy the digitally remastered and fully restored 50th Anniversary Edition  DVD from Universal for $19.00 on TCM. This edition, on sale at the TCM website, offers the movie plus a documentary on the making of the movie.   Save your $5.00 and the outrageous parking fees in Beverly Hills that you might spend to go see a picture at the Academy. You’ll be better treated and save your precious time.


Since 2008, Mary Hall has been the author of The Recessionista Blog, which is read by thousands of regular readers in over 160 countries. An internationally recognized expert on the art of the living the good life for less, she has been a commentator on local, national, and international radio and TV shows. Her advice has been featured in over 2,000 media outlets, including The New York Times, Reuters, Life & Style magazine, ABC News, NBC News and now The Huffington Post, among many others.