Movie Palace or Flea Pit?
Published: Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 00:09
I am a film student. While AMC Theatres is adequate for catching up on blockbuster flicks, I always feel relegated to feeling dirty and enduring poor quality when I want to see indie films.
The Mayan and the Esquire monopolize the local market for these smalltime and eclectic films. And it’s a real shame, although there is a new game in town coming very soon: the Alamo Drafthouse.
But don’t get me wrong—I love The Mayan. It’s a haven for film junkies, filled with interesting posters and history. It’s surrounded by good restaurants (like The Hornet) and a friendly, knowledgeable staff. I find myself there fairly often.
However, I also find myself often wishing for a better alternative.
The Mayan’s auditoriums are tiny and filth-ridden. The projectors seem like they haven’t been cleaned since the late 60s. The sound system is far from standard, the snack bar is mediocre, and it’s a miracle that the building itself is still standing.
Like I said, I love The Mayan and what it’s done for the city and the film scene here. As a filmmaker, I believe that watching a movie can be a profound experience. But only if that experience is not interrupted by springs protruding from the butt of my seat while I hear the sound booming from the next theater over.
The Mayan and the Esquire both fall into the category of beautiful places that stand for independent art and originality. But they are also awful ways to endure this art.
Something like the Alamo Drafthouse is the wave of the future. An upscale theater, with well-furnished auditoriums, a full staff of capable employees, and both digital and film projectors. Policies like no talking or texting ever (with a solid promise of getting kicked out if you do) show that they are serious about film culture.
And while I look forward to the opening of Colorado’s first Alamo Drafthouse, there still seems to be something romantic about seeing a smalltime film at a junkie joint.
But maybe I’m just impossible to please.