Day 91: 'Countdown to Zero'

Today's screening was for the informative, enlightening nuclear arms documentary Countdown to Zero, but – who am I kidding – at this point, I'm mostly just thinking of my own final 10 day Countdown to 100. I'm tired, I'm beyond exhausted and I'm elated to be typing this from a nice, air-conditioned hotel room in Austin, Texas.

On the second to last weekend on this journey, I'm here with a couple of my co-workers to experience what Entertainment Weekly called "the best movie theater in America" – the Alamo Drafthouse. As a bonus, I'll also be heading home on Saturday to Denver, Colorado, to revisit a couple theaters from my movie-obsessed childhood. So, the best theater and then some of my first theaters…coming your way…

I'll have more details on the Alamo Drafthouse in the next couple of days' posts, but first up is Zero, which my friend Robert and I caught at Regal's very fine Arbor Cinema Arts theater just outside downtown. Note: originally, I was supposed to catch this in L.A. in the early morning before running crazy to make my flight out of L.A.X. with less than an hour to spare, but as my fully functioning, well-slept co-workers relayed, isn't it much nicer to get to the destination first, catch a screening there, and be able to stretch a little in peace, instead of all that last minute bustling? Yes, absolutely.

About the film…it's definitely a "message" movie about the need for our world to scale down its nuclear arsenal (it reminded me of the acclaimed The Thin Blue Line in its approach – lots of well-shot visuals and footage, interspersed with talking heads and an excellent, postmodern score). After hearing about the stats, effects, close calls and extremely precarious situations mankind has been caught in since developing nuclear missiles, plus some words of wisdom from figures as diverse as former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, Russia's Mikhail Gorbachev, ex-CIA agents, and various scientists and concerned citizens, it's hard to argue against the film's logic. If every country could agree to dismantle nuclear bombs and stop trying to develop them, the world would be a much better and safer place. To bomb or not to bomb? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know the more humane option.

For now, signing off from a very hot and humid – and still quite beautiful – Austin, Texas (tip: if you're ever in the area, stay at the landmark Driskill Hotel downtown – it's incredible and right around the corner from the Alamo Ritz). Stay tuned tomorrow for a Drafthouse screening post for Middle Men, followed by a Saturday report for a very special quadruple feature. Days 92 – 100, going down!

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