New Joan Jett Documentary Gets Early Screening at Revived Downtown Movie Space The Garfield Theater

The Sept. 26 screening of 'Bad Reputation' marks a return to the music-film roots of the new downtown theater’s arthouse predecessor, The Movies

Sep 18, 2018 at 3:40 pm
click to enlarge Joan Jett and Blackheart Kasim Sulton in 'Bad Reputation' - Photo: Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures
Photo: Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures
Joan Jett and Blackheart Kasim Sulton in 'Bad Reputation'

In the’80s, downtown Cincinnati movie theater The Movies (originally called the Moviola Repertory Cinema) was a haven for lovers of films about music. Right away, among the indie/arthouse classics screened when it opened in 1980 were The Who documentary The Kids Are Alright and The Ramones-fueled musical comedy Rock ’n’ Roll High School, both of which had premiered the year before.

As a music obsessive in high school, my friends and I eagerly would unfold the theater’s giant monthly calendar (mailed to anyone who signed the mailing list) and put it up on our walls, marking which films to see that month and usually visiting every couple of weeks (if not more often). Along with new and classic arthouse films, The Movies was the only place in town to see cult classics like the Cure concert movie The Cure in Orange or the drama biopic Sid and Nancy, as well as films like the big-screen adaptation of Pink Floyd’s The Wall and the Michael Hutchence-starring Dogs in Space, a drama in which the INXS singer played a drug-addled aspiring Rock Star whose girlfriend dies of a heroin overdose.

Thanks to local film group Cincinnati World Cinema, the space at 719 Race St. (occupied for many years by the

Cincinnati Shakespeare Company) recently returned as a movie theater. Under the name The Garfield Theater, it’s the first time in decades Downtown has had a movie theater. The programming so far carries on some of The Movies’ indie spirit; though it has so far only been having screenings sporadically (vs. the old daily schedule of the former venture), the theater has shown documentaries and foreign films. (Read CityBeat’s interview with Cincinnati World Cinema’s Tim Swallow for more on plans for the theater.)

While the CWC's Garfield has so far not scheduled much in the way of the oddball indie esoterica of The Movies’ heyday, it is screening a brand new Rock & Roll music documentary this month. And it’s a big one.

On Sept. 26, Bad Reputation, a profile of Rock legend Joan Jett, will screen at 7 p.m., followed by a discussion led by the chair of the English department and director of the Cinema Studies program at NKU, John Alberti.

Bad Reputation follows Jett’s remarkable career, which kicked off with the pioneering “all-girl” Rock band The Runaways and was followed by a period of superstardom as a solo artist in the early ’80s. A recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Jett remains active and is seen as a trailblazer and hero to many musicians of subsequent generations. The film also includes interviews with Billie Joe Armstrong, Kathleen Hanna and other peers and admirers.

Bad Reputation — directed by noted music video director Kevin Kerslake (he’s also done documentaries like the acclaimed As I AM: The Life and Times of DJ AM) — premiered at Sundance earlier this year, where it picked up distribution from Magnolia Pictures. It hits on-demand services like iTunes and Amazon on Sept. 28; The Garfield Theater screening is a part of an early "one-night-only" event taking place in theaters across the country. The version being shown Sept. 26 includes special exclusive footage that is not in the version being released two days later.

Click here for tickets and more info about the screening. 

For more about The Garfield Theater's other upcoming films, click here.