A Healthy Mix of it All
Richard Custer, known as Dick to friends and neighbors, is clearly a man of many movie tastes. Tastes he himself defines as eclectic, Mr. Custer’s collection of DVD’s and the older VHS tapes seems vast and varied. When asked where his passion for film originated, he lists some of his many interests then admits, “I’ve been a movie goer in spells.” He continues by explaining that sometimes he is at the movies six times in one month, but he averages viewing about 20 new films a year. This number does not account for the re-watching of some of his favorites. His first movie going experience of memory is the time his parents took him to see the ‘Wizard of Oz’. He recalls seeing the classic as an only child at the time, a film many of us can remember viewing at a young age. In his teens he reminisces on enjoying the prolific Westerns produced at the time, “Even if they weren’t of much substance,” he admits. Today Dick’s viewing experience ranges from markedly different film masters to include The Marx Brothers, Mel Brooks, Buster Keaton, and D.W. Griffith. As far as genres go, Dick is all over the map with an appreciation for the Classics, Westerns, Musicals, and the occasional Documentary. He sites some favorite films such as ‘Lonesome Dove’, ‘Fiddler on the Roof’, and ‘Orphans of the Storm.’ Recently, he recounts a nature Documentary he found of interest that studied the tenacious and solitary wolverine. Here at Shaker Pointe, Dick’s love of film spills over into the rest of the community. With a keen interest in sharing his collection, and a brief meeting of the minds, came the notion to organize regular viewings.
Film for ‘Film Buffs’
The idea for a film series at Shaker Pointe is the brainchild of both Dick Custer and his Shaker Pointe neighbor, James Dalton. Dick had worked with Dr. Dalton’s wife, Claire, prior to moving to Shaker Pointe. As two of some of the first Shaker Pointe residents, Dick and his wife Patricia reside in one of the cottage homes. A year after Dick became a Shaker Pointe resident, James and his wife Claire moved into the Carriage Building. Meeting within the community, Dick and Jim got to talking about the collections they had on DVD. Their mutual interest in sharing with others led to “the germ of the idea,” Dick remarks. From this, the ‘Film for Film Buffs’ movie series was born at Shaker Pointe. Each month the series, run by Jim and Dick, screens a film to view in the Shaker Pointe movie theater. Alternating months, the two take turns to highlight films throughout the history of cinema. While Jim and Dick may have a different definition in the sense of a ‘Film for Film Buffs,’ Dick seems to simply identify a good film as something that is enjoyable to take in. The ‘Film for Film Buffs’ movie series began with the showing of some of Buster Keaton’s silent films and Charlie Chaplin classics. Overtime, the genres have become more diverse. This past November, Dick screened the Mel Brooks classic, ‘The History of the World, Part I.’ On April 26th, Jim will show French director Jean Renoir’s classic, ‘The Rules of The Game’. Aside from the series, Dick began showing the quirky American television series, ‘Northern Exposure’. This series, that ran in the early 90’s, speaks to a wide interest. Dick explains, “The series is particularly fun with sort of interesting juxtapositions leading the viewer to wonder into the profound.” In statements such as this, you can’t help listening to Dick and gaining an interest from his knowledge.
We are all Critics
In the past few years the film series has run, Dick mentions he is always delighted when someone new comes to view a film. “Even if the film is something someone has seen for the 8th time, viewing it with other fans is always an experience,” says Dick. When asked how other members of the community influence the viewing experience, he laughs, recalling feedback from a showing some felt the language was too strong. Dick feels what was described as ‘salty’ language is all in context. “The director tries to convey the language he wants his audience to be introduced to in the setting.” He agreed that yes, everyone can be a critic! His goal for the film series is in hoping interest will grow as our community continues to welcome new residents. In planning for the future, Dick mentions an interest in being more deliberate in screening either a series of movies around a theme or following the career of an actor or director. He was particularly enthusiastic about the idea of showing a series of western comedies. Another interest would be to follow the career of actors whose work might have started off in heavier dramas and ended in more comedic roles. This notion plays interesting to Dick when he says, “You don’t just launch a career into comedy, it takes a certain skill to perform well.” One thing is clear, that as long as there is someone to watch, Dick Custer will always be happy to share his love of film.