West film poster

With the summer movie season starting in May, Hollywood studios often use April to clear out films sitting on their shelves or which might not fare well against summer competition.

The first Friday of April finds six movies opening in Waco (and Wes Anderson's "Isle Of Dogs" still hasn't come to town. Sigh.) That number of films make it more likely that smaller, less publicized films fall through the cracks without an audience to justify a second-week run.

The week sees big films like the raunchy, but funny "Blockers;" the don't-breathe horror-suspense "A Quiet Place;" and "Chappaquiddick," a dramaticization of the fatal 1969 accident involving Ted Kennedy and staffer Mary Jo Kopechne, and the subsequent spin/coverup (you choose) that stained his political career.

Smaller films that might go missed are "The Leisure Seeker," in which Donald Sutherland and Helen Mirren play a senior couple traveling by RV from Boston to Key West in a trip they want to make before Alzheimer's and cancer take their toll; "The Miracle Season," an inspirational film about a girls' volleyball team trying to bounce back after the death of a teammate; and, in a totally different vein, "The Death Of Stalin," a dark comedy about the scramble for power among Soviet government cronies in the days after dictator Joseph Stalin's death.

Three different movies with more focused audiences: You've been informed.

A movie making a rare appearance this week at the Waco Hippodrome is Dallas filmmaker Jim Gerik's documentary "The Day West Shook Texas," the West native's personal look at the effect the deadly April 17, 2013, explosion had on his hometown. The 2015 film is told solely through the words of those he interviews — no narration or commentary added — and was screened at the Dallas International Film Festival that year.

For the fifth anniversary of the blast that killed 15 first-responders and damaged houses and schools, Gerik will show "The Day West Shook Texas" at noon, 4 and 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, April 10-12, at the Hippodrome. A panel discussion follows the 7 p.m. Tuesday screening, with First Baptist Church of West pastor John Crowder moderating discussion by Gerik, film editor Chuck Venable, West mayor Tommy Muska, mayor pro-tem Steve Vanek and McLennan County Emergency Management Coordinator Frank Patterson.

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