Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.
Not long ago, Andy Foxx was walking by the abandoned movie theater he used to go to, and the following lyrics began to form in his head. hoop dreams / There was a pillar in the middle / blocking most of the screen. From the beginning, Fox, the vocalist of local band Nice Breeze, wrote the entire song. As he called it “movie,” it’s funny and anthemic, and for Washingtonians who love movies for a while, it’s reminiscent of nights spent with movie-lover magnets like Biograph and Key. captures an era when DC was full of places to discover cinematic treasures. There are also lyrical appearances from non-artsy spots like Mazza Gallerie and his Uptown. A chorus that sticks in its head: “Where I used to see movies/La la la la la la la la”.
Including guitarist John Howard and drummer Martha Hamilton, who are both married and living in Ballston, Nice Breeze have been happily making unpolished indie rock for about nine years. “Movie” appears on their latest album, divide the sky, and is one of the group’s more direct songs.One of those shout-along moments is a line about going to see dazed and confused We spent 10 consecutive nights at the Outer Circle and it turned out to be a true story. “I was unemployed and lived in a nearby grouphouse,” says Fox, who now lives in Columbia Heights. “I dragged everyone into that movie because it was good!”
One of the charms of this song is that it’s not purely celebratory. “Movies” nail the scruffy charm of these theaters. Small rooms, bad sight lines, sprinklers casting shadows on the screen, etc. That was part of the experience. “All of us at that age remember all those places,” says Howard. When he heard Fox’s lyrics, he said, “I immediately thought, ‘Oh, this could be it. ‘Hit’ is the wrong word, but this is a song that people might dig into.'”
Fox, on the other hand, says his movie-going habits have changed quite dramatically since the heyday of indie theater in the ’80s and ’90s. “Basically, the song goes far enough to show that I don’t watch movies in theaters as often,” he says. “I think there’s a lot of crap being made. I don’t know, but I haven’t seen many movies in a while.”
This article appeared in the January 2023 issue of The Washingtonian.