If you see Linda Cook, it is probably at the movies. Her byline is familiar because she is our Quad-City Times movie critic and in a week she sees three or even five or six films.
Linda adores movies. She loves the smell of a theater lobby, its grand essence of popcorn, and the babble of the movie goers. She loves the excitement of the gaudy “coming attraction” lobby posters. It is another cosmos for Linda when she takes a seat in that dark auditorium. She enters another world. “I will see and hear stories of the human condition,” she says. “It is a factory that tells the story of the human mind.”
HER MOVIE-GOING can add up to 300 films a year. “At least 9,000 hours,” says Linda, a bit of a woman who wears her hair long, sweeping over her shoulders. She attends all the movies alone, with a philosophical attitude toward them.
“It’s all in the writing, a good story regardless of the setting. Film is a way to tell a story, like an illustrated novel, a poem or a painting. Great films are truly literature.”
It’s proper that Linda’s story appears in the dark of print on a Tuesday. Tuesday is the biggest draw of the week in a big movie house like Rave in Davenport.
“Anything can be playing, but all the auditoriums in that theater will be mostly filled on Tuesdays, the day when the admission price is cut,” she says.
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The kids love superheroes and animated films, says Linda. “The teens like science fiction and horror. Grownups have a varied appetite, but none of the fireballs and stabbings stuff. Summer is good movie time for teens. So many of them have nothing to do, so they go to the show. Teens and young people flock to the movies at night, the last late show.”
LINDA AND I disagree on favorites. She is set on the contemporaries, the movies turned out in the last two years or so, like “Wind River” and “It,” films that I never heard of. She goes into a swoon over “LaLa Land” that put me to sleep and thinks that the current “Battle of the Sexes” is a four-star super.
She cannot absolutely name her top-10 favorites over 30 years because she sees so many. She smiles patiently at my all-time choices, “Forrest Gump,” and classics like “Gigi” Still, her all-time favorite is an oldie, “Harvey.” It starred Jimmy Stewart as Elwood P. Dowd, a happy fellow who sees a giant rabbit that is his dearest friend.
Linda, a Davenport resident, is not just a movie magnet. She has her master’s degree in criminal justice and a bachelor’s in English and another in elementary education. She’s a friend and a ham at heart and a regular on the Paula Sands TV show. The first movie she reviewed was “Creepshow II,’ at the long-gone Showcase Cinemas in Milan. She raves that movies have come a long way since then. “And women finally are coming into their own on the big screen.”
One important factoid about Linda and the movies: She never eats popcorn while watching a film. “Well, maybe once in awhile,” she sheepishly confesses.