Media Life: Emilio Estevez Auburn motel shootout now on DVD

Indies alive in A-Town; Horror composer's got game
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Auburn’s Foothills Motel is getting its DVD debut as Warner Bros. dusts off some of the more obscure titles from its vault and puts them out in digital form for the first time ever. We’re talking about “Wisdom,” folks. Perhaps not Emilio Estevez and Demi Moore’s most shining celluloid moment but nonetheless, a 1986 film that put Auburn – and the Foothills Motel on Bowman Road – on the movie world map for a couple or three days. Warner Bros. just recently announced that it is introducing a new concept with its Warner Archive Collection. Instead of mass-producing the 6,800 movie titles it has yet to put out on DVD, it will be releasing a limited number of films each month for custom orders at $20 each. The bolt out of the blue as far as this area is concerned was the inclusion in the first round of releases of “Wisdom.” It’s a 1980s version of Robin Hood that was written, produced and directed by Estevez at the height of his Brat Pack days. And for three days in 1986, Estevez brought filming to the Foothills Motel to shoot a shootout. Modern-day Foothills Motel manager Tami Wescott said the “Wisdom” visit is still a revered part of the Bowman business’s history. She checked with Paul Scheive, whose Kimberly Oregon Real Estate has owned the motel since 1968, on some of the details. Estevez and crew, who also filmed at a bank in Rocklin, picked the motel because it had that vintage highway motor inn look. It didn’t hurt that the cast and crew were put up gratis. Wescott said she wasn’t sure whether Estevez and/or Moore, who were an item at the time, were on the guest list. Today, of course, the twosome would be dubbed Estemoore. Or Demilio. “WISDOM” ICONS REMAIN Wescott has seen the film and can point visitors to fixtures like a key box and a room that are seen in the film. But she’s only seen a version taped off the TV so the DVD may reveal more of the motel. Some other pluses in the little-seen road picture? Danny Elfman composed the music before making it big with “The Simpsons” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” among others. Bruce Willis has a bit part and so does Charlie Sheen. Depending on how you look at it, the movie’s ending is either a buzz kill or a stunner. “Wisdom,” which pulled in a paltry $5.7 million in domestic box office at theaters, did come out in VCR format but got lost in a numbers game as more marketable older films were released on DVD – now a 12-year-old format, believe it or not. Warner Bros., in fact, has only released 1,200 of its movies and TV shows. The Warner Archive Collection is debuting with an initial offering of 150 titles – all of which have never been on DVD. The oldest film is the 1923 silent “Souls for Sale.” The youngest? That would be “Wisdom.” Orders can be made at the Warner Bros. Warner Archive Collection Web site. And Foothills Motel plans to be on the mailing list. Wescott said it would be nice to have a few on hand to provide to guests to show the place they’re staying in has a niche in moviemaking. INDIES STILL ALIVE While the Old State Theater has been gone from the State Theater building since last December, independent film followers can still get their big-screen fix at the local multiplex. It’s not that well publicized but Auburn Stadium 10 is already into its spring independent film series. “Doubt,” with Meryl Streep started things out at the start of the month and “The Reader,” with Kate Winslet, followed this past Wednesday and Thursday. The Final Four in the Auburn series continue Wednesdays and Thursdays through early May, with Mickey Rourke in “The Wrestler” coming to town April 15 and 16, “Waltz With Bashir” on April 22 and 23, “Trouble the Water (April 29, 30) and The Class (May 6,7). Screenings are 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. each day. LIFE WITH MARS Auburn’s Mars is scaring up plenty of work these days in the horror movie industry and all its offshoots. Specializing in spine-chilling scores, Mars has popped up as one of the dozens of horror industry professionals sharing their secrets in writer Greg Lamberson’s book “Cheap Scares.” The book has been nominated for the Horror Writers Association’s prestigious Bram Stoker Award in the Superior Achievement in Nonfiction category. Mars, known professionally by his single name, is also making a move into video game music. He’s providing a score for “Durka 3D: The Fall of Ahmadinejad” from Petrilla Entertainment. The composer describes the work as “Middle East meets Ms. Pacman.” On the moviemaking front, expect to hear Mars music in the score of the upcoming horror comedy “Wonton Baby!” for Morgue Art Films. He’ll also be scoring the ‘80s-influenced horror comedy “Demon Divas and the Lanes of Damnation.” Another score, for the sequel to the 1988 splatterfest “Slime City” is also in the works. Media Life’s Gus Thomson can be reached at