Don't you just love love? I love it on the big screen, but I love it even more in real life, and so I was overjoyed to attend the nuptials of RogerEbert.com contributor Collin Souter and his "Christmas Movies Actually" podcast co-host Kerry Finegan at Chicago's beloved cinema palace, Music Box Theatre on September 2nd. The wedding was officiated by Chicago Film Critics Association (CFCA) board member Erik Childress. In keeping with the theme of movies, the Groom wore a blue suit with yellow tie, patterned after one worn by Jeff Daniels in "Something Wild" by the late great director, Jonathan Demme. The Bride looked resplendent in a Jackie Kennedy-style pillbox hat made from the fabric of wedding gowns from her mother and grandmother; and also in her Irish green dress handmade by Kerry herself. She said she didn't finish sewing the dress until the night before the wedding. How impressive!
It was at the Chicago Critics Film Festival held at the Music Box in 2017 where Kerry first asked Collin on a date, after he caught her eye at a meeting of the Chicago Film Lover Exchange, a movie discussion group founded by Rebecca Fagerholm. (As an aside, Rebecca Fagerholm is married to Matt Fagerholm, one of the Editors at Rogerebert.com. Matt acted as the videographer at the wedding in reciprocity for Collin assuming the role of videographer at his and Rebecca's wedding last July. I take some pride in nudging along that romance when I saw how kind and loving both Matt and Rebecca were. Yes, I really love love.)
Collin and Kerry paid loving tribute to Collin's late father, as well as to their beloved friend, film critic and Black Harvest Film Festival founder Sergio Mims, who passed away last year. During the reception, six of Kerry's former college mates spoke lovingly of her daring as an independent woman who conquered many areas of life, but who was ready to settle down only when she found her equal in Collin.
A wedding arch was projected onto the deep blood red drapes of the Music Box theater to frame the bridal party. But before the wedding ceremony began, the couple, of course, treated their guests to a movie! But not just any movie, it was a half-hour pre-show curated by the Groom consisting of clips from some of their favorite movies. They brought down the house with a clip from Michael Showalter's romantic comedy, "The Big Sick," which was the first film that the bride and groom had seen together.
When the couple's wedding rings, which take the ingenious form of film strips, arrived late to the night, they filled the time by instinctively breaking out into the whimsical dance number previously performed onscreen by Laurel and Hardy. It was such a joyous occasion that I couldn't resist screaming out "Two Thumbs Up!" to the couple during the reception held in the Music Box Lounge afterwards.
One of the pleasures of attending a blessed event in the film critic community is the opportunity it provides me to learn more about my fellow colleagues. One interesting tidbit I learned was that the distinguished CFCA member Dann Gire has a son-in-law with the same name, except with only one "n" for Dan; and because of his son-in-law's European upbringing, the last name is pronounced the French way as "Gear" rather than "Gyre." And yes, that means that his daughter never had to change her last name, unless she wanted to be known as Lauren Gire Gire.
We had to vacate the main hall of the Music Box so that they could show the film "Sorcerer" by the recently deceased great filmmaker, William Friedkin. And we learned that it was being shown to a sold-out house. RogerEbert.com Managing Editor Brian Tallerico told me that they showed the film at their first film festival with Friedkin in attendance, after which the director paid tribute to Roger by quoting a verse of Dylan Thomas’ poem, “And Death Shall Have No Dominion.”
Also among the clips viewed onscreen during the wedding pre-show was an excerpt from the 1993 comedy, "Matinee," directed by Joe Dante, whom Collin recently interviewed for RogerEbert.com. "Matinee" is one of Collin's favorite films, and it pays beautiful tribute to the singular communal experience provided by movie theaters. Not only can you connect with strangers through your shared laughter and tears, the person sitting next to you—as evidenced by this euphoric union—could turn out to be your soulmate.