I wanted to see the new Spider-Man movie, and five dollar night at the Marcus downtown is always tempting … but wait. The West Theater is showing Spider-Man?
I want the classic movie theater experience. I am uncomfortable at the new Norshor. I find that it’s been designed for Someone Other Than Me. All of the events are priced like it’s worth twenty percent of the ticket just to be in the building, and I’m sorry, I loved the theater without the renovation, when there were movies in the mezzanine. (I was living in St. Paul in these years and would visit as a vacationer.) Even though the Norshor does classic movie nights, generally, it’s watching black-and-white movies for too-many dollars. Those should be free, on UHF, on Sunday afternoon.
I’m so old. But not so old that I miss Casablanca on the big screen.
But on Central, across from the coolest coffee shop in town, next to the second-coolest game shop in town, and next to the only restaurant in town that serves Stappj Gassosa, is a classic movie experience. The tickets are still sold at the window (something I think is likely to be temporary — in winter, it will be both labor-inefficient and heat-inefficient — so experience this classic movie theater vibe while the days are warm). Then, you enter and feel the warmth of the classic carpet, the lighting that says “this movie is an event, why didn’t we dress up just a bit more?”
The concessions are still being constructed, but golly, the classic vibe is there, and there are all the things we’ve come to expect in today’s theater.
The auditorium is spacious, and the last several rows have wide, reclining seats.
And here is the coolest thing. While I love the Marcus and will likely always choose the Marcus on discount nights, 3-D movies, and their special (opera, Doctor Who) Fathom events … at the West, I was seven feet from the spot where I parked my car and the ticket booth. There was no more than 75 feet from my seat in the movie theater to my car. Honestly, this is both convenient for me and, if I am seeing a movie with someone with mobility challenges, the West will be my number-one choice.
The movie, by the way, is AWESOME. It is dripping with sentiment, with young love, with techie nerd rage and jealousy, with action — I’ll be honest, super-hero movies I know are always a kind of exaggerated emotional experience, but wow, they no longer just thrill me. They tug at my heart.
And for what it’s worth, the theater’s proprietor came out to say hi. That was an extra plus. Maybe you can come say hi to the West, too.
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