Threat of rain cancels downtown alliance's 2nd 'Free Movie Night'

'Secondhand Lions' screening moved to Sept. 26

By BRUCE ALSOBROOK, News-Telegram Managing Editor

August 15, 2008 - Downtown Business Alliance members were hoping for atypical August weather when they scheduled their second "Free Movie Night" on the downtown square for this evening.

Just not this atypical.

A storm system that brought that rarest of late summer commodities -- i.e., rainfall -- has led the group's president to cancel tonight's planned showing.

"Even though there's only a 30 percent chance of rain tonight, it increases after 10 p.m.," explained DBA President Rita Edwards, who made the "executive decision" to cancel the showing this morning. "We didn't want to take a chance on the bottom falling out right in the middle of the movie."

The free movie night was planned for a showing of the 2003 film "Secondhand Lions," a crowd-pleaser about a young boy (Haley Joel Osment) learning about life from his two eccentric but highly entertaining uncles (Robert Duvall and Michael Caine). While the movie, filmed in Austin and Lockhart, did not garner any Oscar nominations, it did earn two nods for "best family film" from two film society's. It's also well-liked -- film critic Roger Ebert gave it his trademark "Thumbs Up," and voters on the Internet Movie Data Base website (www.imdb.com) rated "Secondhand Lions" 7.5 stars out of a possible 10.

Edwards said the film will now be shown on Friday, Sept. 26, which was already pegged as the date for the third free movie night.

The business alliance had good reason to expect a nice turnout. The first free movie night, held July 18, brought an estimated 215 people out to see "Seabiscuit." While at least two restaurants and some other merchants stayed open late for the crowd, DBA members had planned to convince even more businesses to stay open late for the second showing.

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