I spend a ridiculous amount of time in a movie theater, probably more than the average person so this experience is something I take very seriously and personal. Most of you have by now heard of the Alamo Drafthouse patron who was kicked out for texting during a film. In light of recent events, let’s reflect on the average movie going experience.
I lived in a small town prior to coming to Austin so my theater selection was very grim. I had a choice of going to Tinseltown or the Mall. Of course there was never anything of interest showing at those theaters either unless you’re a fan of M Night Shyamalan or other mainstream crap.
Since moving to Austin twelve years ago, my movie experience has improved drastically as a direct result of The Alamo Drafthouse. My mind was blown the moment I set foot into the original location off 4th & Colorado St. Finally a place where I belonged! I couldn't believe you could watch a movie, eat food, and drink beer at the same time.
Those first couple of years I became obsessed with The Alamo! I went to all the Music Mondays, Weird Wednesdays, and Mr. Sinus shows I could. I have nothing but great memories from the Original Alamo. During SXSW one year, I got to meet acclaimed director Penelope Spheeris. Pauly Shore once sat next to me at his own film and proceeded to laugh at his own jokes. I held on to the barf bag I received during my 1st Fulci Fest. I felt like I had reached the Promised Land! It only got better with the opening of more theaters around town. I got to shed some tears with an entire theater of Buffy fans during the screening of the final episode at LakeCreek. I also indulged in some spirits during a screening of PASSION OF THE CHRIST at The Village. Then it came time for the original location to expand. As a former long time patron of The Ritz bar, I can’t think of a better occupant than The Alamo for such a sacred site. Since moving into the Ritz, The Alamo has continued to set the standard for the movie going experience. Like when we went to the Justin Timberlake sing-along for my birthday one year and Chad danced the “Sexy Back” on stage, or the CADDYSHACK quote-along with actual explosions, and how could we forget the MONSTER SQUAD screening with cast & crew. My only regret is that I was not in attendance for the secret screening of INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS during BNAT when they decorated the theater with Nazi flags like in the film.
I go to the Alamo because people are well behaved and the service is remarkable. I do not go to regular theaters anymore because frankly I do not want to pay $10 to be surrounded by neanderthals and/or children. I am just utterly disgusted by people who talk/text during films. I would consider myself a pretty compassionate person, but anyone who commits this sin should suffer at the hands of the Khmer Rouge. For me, the movie experience is sacred and special. It’s my time to escape the world and get lost in something enlightening. The theater is my refuge which is why I often prefer going to movies alone. Now when someone fucks with that experience I get REAL pissed! This is why I am so grateful for The Alamo because that behavior is not tolerated there. I commend them for standing ground and making an example of this injustice. When I went to a recent Music Monday, I got to hear the now infamous PSA and the whole theater erupted in applause.
A few years ago I used to always talk about moving from Austin to a bigger city. However, I could never survive without The Alamo. As much as those places may be hipper or not as sweltering, they do not have The Alamo. It would be like spending years in First Class and having to go back to Coach. I will NOT do it! I will forever remain loyal to The Alamo and grateful for all the wonderful experiences I have had at their theaters. People believe that Los Angeles or New York is where you should be if you want to be involved with the film industry; they may be right. If you consider yourself a film fan, then Austin is the place to be. Places like Alamo Drafthouse, I Luv Video, and Vulcan Video cater to cinema enthusiasts. Events like Fantastic Fest, BNAT, Austin Film Fest, and SXSW keep Austin on the map in the film world. I personally could not think of a better place to be. I’m glad our “crappy ass little theater” has caused quit the stir. Magnited I stand!