There’s lots of buzz this week about the re-opening, as those old posters and billboards from February 2020 are finally scrubbed off bus stops and the sides of buildings, relics of a pandemic major studios would like to pretend is over. At least for the sake of their bottom line, but also, because people really seem to miss sitting in a movie theater.
So while we’re reminiscing about what was, what is, and what yet may be for Hollywood, let’s compare: What was everyone’s best theater-going experience?
I don’t like good stuff, so I’ll start with the negatives. Before I was a writer, I went to school for documentary film production, first at community college, and then at San Francisco State. It’s only because of this that I know quite a lot about movies, but mostly about suffering through the bad ones with a bunch of strangers. My worst experience was the $50 I was paid by a blog that doesn’t exist anymore to review the 2017 Power Rangers movie. I saw it at an AMC in the city, and the blog wouldn’t comp me for the ticket price, which was $25 dollars. I barely broke even, and like 500 people read it max.
As for the better experiences, I have to say that my gay little heart was extremely pleased by the surprisingly cheap ticket I bought to see Moulin Rouge’s music performed live to the actual film at San Francisco’s iconic Castro Theater. I was in my first year of film school and had heard of it from the very hot TA in my seminar on Communist cinema in late-century South America. I went with someone I don’t speak to anymore, which sort of sours the memory, but I did cry like three times.
I’d also rank my first time seeing The Holy Mountain at The Roxie high up on the list. I can’t remember what else showed that night, but in the years since, The Holy Mountain is still one of my favorite movies—if you can even call it a movie. I went with some classmates from Cheryl Dunye’s course on screenwriting. and we snuck in burritos and watermelon agua fresca from Pancho Villa next door. Sorry to The Roxie, because I know we shouldn’t have done that, but I don’t regret it, sadly.
Anyway, now it’s everyone else’s turn. Sound off in the comments!