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Thread: Which are (or were) your favorite theaters?

  1. #1
    FORT Fogey Leftcoaster's Avatar
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    Which are (or were) your favorite theaters?

    I lucked out, movie wise, moving to Berkeley CA in '64 at age 7, coming from a valley town with a population less than a thousand which had only a seasonal drive-in.

    My parents, liking movies themselves as well as (perhaps) figuring it was cheaper dropping us off at a theater rather than opting for a babysitter gave me and my siblings endless opportunities to see flicks as well as the occasional film, and Berkeley and the surrounding area was a grand place to view them back when.

    There were 6 or 7 theaters within strolling range, and often enough we would stroll out of one double feature across the avenue and enter another.

    The United Artists, California, and UC theaters were monster sized (to me), as well as the Oaks, which I recall as having the best loge seating, though not meant for the likes of me. Other than the UC, which always seemed pretty utilitarian, most of the other theaters were memorable for the look of the theater almost as much as for the movies.

    I like the convienience of viewing movies at home now, but miss the feeling of being surrounded by hundreds of other people experiencing a new release and taking part in the communal reaction toward something hilarious or shocking.

    Oakland had its own monster palaces, and I personally would have preferred that they'd restored the FOX rather than the Paramount. Going to the Grand Lake and heading to the far reaches of the upper balcony seemed like it took forever, it seemed to go on so far. The last time I went to the Grand Lake (after it was chopped up) I went to see The Wizard Of Oz, and shopuld have inquired first, as the screen I saw it on seemed about as large as my living room wall, but at least I got the 2 for 1 bonus of listening to the movie next door leeching though the wall.

    I purchased my very first cup of coffee at a Berkeley theater that exclusively aired films rather than flicks, offering coffee and tea instead of soda, and nothing as distracting or self indulgent as popcorn (as I recall). The also had cheap folding seats. No laughter or any other emotion that I can recall from the 'live' audience for a movie I can't. I started out feeling almost grown and sophisticated for choosing this spot, before descending into wretched boredom with the subtitled dreg, lamenting that I hadn't opted for something more lively, and toughing out my sentence because I'd spent my money and was determined to receive what I'd payed for. I may as well have been hanging out with zombies. It didn't become my favorite haunt.

    Looking a bit longwinded here, the all night movie houses and drive in theaters next?

  2. #2
    Come Along, Pond phat32's Avatar
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    I admit I love the big movie houses when it comes to blockbuster films. When I see Revenge of the Sith, I want to sit in a plush seat that reclines, in a row that overlooks the heads of the audience in front of me, with a bathtub-sized drink and a tub of popcorn as big as a Honda. And I want to see the film on a screen as big as the Hindenburg with a sound system that will knock the fillings right out of their sockets.

    In your neck of the woods, I liked the Century Theatres by the Winchester House in San Jose. I also liked the new AMC Mercado by Great America Parkway. Where I live now, I like the Rave Motion Pictures chain. Amazingly, their bargain matinee prices are a half-dollar cheaper than the matinee prices at the dinky cinemas. Score!

    For smaller independent films, I liked the Camera Three and AMC in downtown San Jose, by the university.
    "...Every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things donít always soften the bad things, but...the bad things donít always spoil the good things." - The Doctor

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    Lucy and Kevin...so cute! Reality tv fan's Avatar
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    Whenever I go out to the movies I prefer going to the stadium seating theatre....the screen is bigger, the seats are at an angle (so that no one's head is in front of yours) and the movie experience is much much better

  4. #4
    Smiling again... Zhora's Avatar
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    One of my favorites. I'll never forget seeing the re-release of Blade Runner at The Egyptian.

    1 Screen. Built in 1915. Operated by Landmark since 1989. The Egyptian Theatre is located on Capitol Hill near Downtown Seattle and features a wide array of independent film, foreign language cinema, documentaries and restored classics. It was originally built as a large Masonic Temple, with offices, a main auditorium, and a smaller auditorium. In the 1970s, the Masons used the large auditorium as a wrestling arena to earn extra money. In the early 1980s it became the home of the Seattle International Film Festival, at which point the founders of the Festival moved in and gave the theatre its current Egyptian dťcor. The Egyptian continues to host SIFF, the largest film festival in North America.


    Love love love The Harvard Exit. I used to live 2 blocks away and see movies there all the time.
    2 Screens. Built in 1925. Operated by Landmark since 1979. The Harvard Exit Theatre offers Seattle's finest in independent film and foreign language cinema in a cozy atmosphere evocative of the 1920s. Annually, the Harvard Exit is host to the Seattle International Film Festival and the Lesbian and Gay Film Festival.

    The theatre is located on a quaint, tree-lined street at the north end of Broadway, at Harvard and Roy on Seattle's Capitol Hill. The building in which The Harvard Exit currently resides was originally constructed as a clubhouse for The Woman's Century Club in 1925. The club continues to hold meetings in the lobby, although the building was sold in 1968 for conversion to a movie theatre. In the 1980s, a second auditorium was added in an unused ballroom space on the third floor of the building. Considered the first "art theatre" in Seattle, the Harvard Exit set the standard for the exhibition of independent film and foreign language cinema. Its large and glorious lobby retains a 1920s atmosphere, adorned with a fireplace, a grand piano and chandelier. A recent remodel adds a fully wheelchair accessible restroom on the main floor, expanded concession stand and an inside box office for those rainy Seattle nights.




    Ahhhhh...The Varsity. Most memorable flick at The Varsity? Pink Floyd The Wall, for sure.

    3 Screens. Operated by Landmark since 1989. The Varsity Theatre currently features an eclectic mix of Hollywood favorites, independent film and foreign language cinema. Located on University Way in the heart of Seattle's University District, it has been operating as a movie theatre since 1940. Since there was no room to build outward, the theatre was expanded vertically with the addition of two upstairs screens in 1985. These smaller auditoriums feature high-back ultra-cushy seats with large wall-to-wall screens. The original downstairs auditorium currently hosts the Varsity Filmcalendar, whose programming changes quarterly.
    Iím haunted a little this evening by feelings that have no vocabulary and events that should be explained in dimensions of lint rather than words.
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  5. #5
    I like them silent WomynLee's Avatar
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    Arclight Cinemas- Hollywood, CA. Simply the best!

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