We talked about the theater-going experience in Episode 4, and as the guy on the side of the theaters, I thought it would be useful to point out a few really good movie theaters. These are theaters embody what the theatrical experience should be all about.
Arclight Cinemas in Hollywood, CA. It costs $14 to see a movie at the Arclight in the evening, but it’s worth it. The seats are big and wide, the only advertising they show before movies are a few minutes of trailers, and there are actual ushers in the auditorium during the movie. It’s the place to see movies in Los Angeles and gets crowded on weekends, but the ability to buy tickets online and reserve your seats the way you would at a concert or a sporting event means you don’t have to show up an hour early just to get decent seats.
The New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles, CA. A great revival theater that specializes in interesting double features, The New Beverly is a place where you can see a pair of French gangster flicks one night and two Friday the Thirteenth movies the next. It’s only $7 to see both movies, and the audiences tend to be fairly respectful of the films.
The Ken Cinema in San Diego, CA. Owned by the Landmark Theatre group, which is a nationwide chain of mostly arthouse theaters, the Ken is a classic movie house built in 1946. It’s just got the one (large) screen, but it uses an old-fashioned projector that makes that classic whirring sound. The selection of movies — current independent releases or revivals of classics — is nice, as is the atmosphere. I really dig the old movie palaces, with big auditoriums.
This list is pretty specific to Southern California, and I’d be interested in hearing if any readers/listeners have suggestions of good movie theaters elsewhere. One place I desperately want to make a pilgrimage to is The Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas, a theater in Austin, TX known for serving meals and drinks during the films and programming an interesting blend of content. It topped Entertainment Weekly’s 10 Theaters Doing it Right list, and by all accounts is a great place to see a movie or two.