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Sundial: From delivery boy to film critic — talking movies with Rene Rodriguez

Rene_Rodriguez
Courtesy University of Miami
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Courtesy University of Miami
Rene Rodriguez is a film critic of more than 25 years and the director of the Bill Cosford Cinema at the University of Miami.

Long before he was a movie critic, Rene Rodriguez sat at the back of a movie theater and cried watching E.T. Then he saw the movie 16 more times in that same theater.

A love of movies was born. On the Jan. 3 episode of Sundial, we talk with Rodriguez, who now programs movies as the manager of the Bill Cosford Cinema at the University of Miami. But for more than 25 years, he was one of America’s best-known movie reviewers.

Rodriguez went from driving a delivery truck out of high school to getting angry phone calls at home from movie star Sylvester Stallone. (He does a pretty good Stallone impression, too.)

Now he uses his Hollywood connections to bring stars to talk film at the Cosford — the theater named for his mentor, the late Miami Herald film critic. Oscar winner Rami Malek came to watch the film “Bohemian Rhapsody” with the crowd. And he invites prominent South Florida residents to pick a movie and watch it with the audience in a series he calls, “Watching Movies With…”

READ MORE: What’s next for the Tower Theater in Little Havana?

And it all started with going to the movies with his father as a kid. They’d slip into the theater midway through the picture and then stay on for the next screening to catch the beginning, like his dad did back in Cuba.

What was it like to watch Rocky and Star Wars when you already saw the ending? It’s just some of what we’ll get into on this show.

On Sundial's previous episode, we talked with national book reviewer Connie Ogle, a Miami Herald writer, and Book & Books founder Mitchell Kaplan about the books that made us readers — and much more.

Listen to Sundial Monday through Thursday on WLRN, 91.3 FM, live at 1 p.m., rebroadcast at 8 p.m. Missed a show? Find every episode of Sundial on your favorite podcast app, such asApple Podcasts, Stitcher and Spotify.

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Carlos Frías is the host of WLRN's Sundial. He is a bilingual writer, a journalist of more than 25 years and the author of an award-winning memoir published by Simon & Schuster.