Paramount, Winfrey give gift with free film showing

Published 10:34 pm Saturday, January 3, 2015

Without a doubt, some of the most popular episodes of the Oprah Winfrey Show are her “Oprah’s Favorite Things” giveaways.

I don’t watch daytime television, but the giveaways have become so famous they have become engrained in pop culture and even parodied on Saturday Night Live.

Over the years, Oprah gave away clothes, books, food, electronics and home items she thought would make great gifts.

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In 2004, she gave her entire audience a new Pontiac, launching a nationwide catchphrase of, “You Get a Car! You Get a Car! Everybody gets a car!” She also started her 25th season by jetting her audience to Australia for an 8-day trip of a lifetime.

Fast-forward to New Year’s Day when Winfrey and Paramount Pictures announced SELMA the movie will be screened for free at the Walton Theater starting Jan. 9 and on into January.

Winfrey is one of the film’s producers and said, “With deep gratitude to the people of Selma, Alabama, we are proud to share this powerful film depicting the historic events that took place there 50 years ago. I hope generations will watch the film and share their stories of remembrance and history together.”

Some more important details like show times and how tickets will be handled still have to be finalized, but the announcement is great news for the city of Selma.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve had many conversations with people about the movie.

I think for the most part people are excited to see the film, which has received generally strong reviews from critics.

A few have expressed concerns that the film will paint Selma in a negative light that will hurt the city more than help it and revisit a place they don’t want to go.

Regardless, I think a common sentiment was the city had to find a way to show the movie SELMA in Selma.

It would be a shame for people to have to travel to theaters an hour away to see a movie based on the streets they travel every day.

Selma residents were going to see the movie — it was just hard to stomach that they would have to go to Montgomery or Prattville to do so.

It’s great that people can now go see the movie for free and talk about it, in relation to what it portrays and how that affects us today.

To that end, Winfrey and Paramount have given residents a great gift, and one I hope people appreciate and will take advantage of.

Selma Mayor George Evans, his staff and others should also be congratulated for getting the movie here.

They have worked hard for several months to make these screenings a possibility, working with Paramount and theater technicians to make sure the Walton was ready for opening day.