They knew the lines, they sang along and they couldn’t stop laughing at the Jheri curls.
That was the scene Monday night in downtown Los Angeles at a special screening of Coming to America, marking the 30th anniversary of the film’s release.
The gathering, held at the Mark Taper Auditorium in the Los Angeles Central Library, was hosted by the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) as part of the group’s Synergy 2018 Summer Screening Series.
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The lively event drew people from across the city, many of whom said they heard about the screening on social media.
“I was just doing a random search on Instagram, and the invite popped up because I was looking up a quote from the movie,” said David Gomez.
The longtime Southern California resident said Coming to America is one of his favorite films, and watching it with the AAFCA audience brought back childhood memories.
“I grew up in Gardena… and most of the theaters had this vibe, and I really miss that where people know all the words, they sing along and all that stuff. So it felt like being a teenager again,” he said. “I got a copy of the movie too.”
Before the movie started, the audience answered trivia questions and received Blu-ray DVD copies of the film.
“I love the movie, I hadn’t seen it in a long time, so it was like watching it again for the first time,” said Los Angeles resident Rafael Cardenas.”
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About 70 people attended the screening, according to library employees.
Nic Maye, AAFCA’s director of programming, was impressed by the turnout.
“I figured people would come. Great turnout,” he said. “They were laughing all through the movie and hopefully we can do it again soon.”
Poetic Justice, the next film in the AAFCA summer series will screen at the Central Library on Saturday, July 14 at 2 p.m.
John Singleton, who directed the 1993 drama starring Janet Jackson and Tupac Shakur, is scheduled to take part in a question and answer session after the film.