The Greatest Time You Ever Had in a Movie Theater

Illustration for article titled The Greatest Time You Ever Had in a Movie Theater
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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!



Opening day for the Dark Knight. With my best friend at Universal City Walk, we waited our whole lives for this movie, so we paid extra to see it in IMAX. This is not the fake-MAX you find at some theaters, this is the full sized 76 foot tall tilt your head to see the whole thing IMAX. We had never been to it. The previews played in standard size. Then the movie started. The first scene of the buildings pops up and the theater literally went ‘WOAH’ together.

Wouldn’t be the last ‘woah’ either. People lost their minds during the chase scene when Batman flips over the truck Joker is in. The whole thing was perfect, the audience really added something to it, the reactions, applause, cheers were so genuine. I was never happier coming out of a movie.