Ever since becoming parents we don’t go to the movies as often as we used to, which I think is pretty typical. It takes a big chunk of time to go see a movie, even more if you add in a meal, and it seems like such a FRIVOLOUS way to spend free time when I have young people at home with a babysitter on the clock. I mean, should we go sit in the dark and not talk to each other with this very valuable time where nobody is interrupting us for urgent glasses of milk, or should we do something productive with our time like, I don’t know, TALK TO EACH OTHER? Movies very rarely win out.
And honestly? I’m totally fine with this because I have a very comfortable living room with a connection to Amazon and for $5 I can rent an movie in HD, eat Costco cake from my freezer, and pause it when I have to run to the bathroom every 20 minutes, as one does when she is this pregnant. Streaming movies online is a HUGE ADVANCEMENT in my life from the Blockbuster days. So much easier, unlimited selection, no late fees, no errand-running, all in my pajamas. It’s fabulous. I don’t exactly sit around whining about how we never go to the movies any more.
And YET. There’s just something FUN about going to the movies! It’s nice to see a movie when it first comes out, when everyone is still talking about it and discovering it for the first time. When my parents were in town this weekend we took advantage of having them around and decided to go see a movie. Woo! Big deal for us! A movie! My friend had been talking about some fancy new movie place she LOVED and I figured if this was going to be my first movie in a while, then I definitely wanted to go to the fancy place. No crappy movie theatre for me, PLEASE.
Have you heard of AMC Fork and Screen? I’m sure there are other theatres that do something similar, but basically, AMC has picked up on the appealing idea of booze + food+movie, but they made it WAY WAY WAY nicer than the other options out there in the category. You know those other places I’m talking about, right? Where someone bought an older theatre in a perhaps sketchy part of town, stripped out every other row of seats, added in tables and a greasy kitchen, and they serve beer and nachos? And it’s kinda oldish and crappy as far as a Quality Movie Watching Experience goes, but it’s super fun because OMG THEY SERVE ALCOHOL HERE! BOOOOOOOZE!
Yes, well, my movie theatre has totally kicked it up a notch from those crappity 80′s places and they did it in a SMART way, which is so satisfying, isn’t it? I love seeing a business tackle a pain point in a way that MAKES SENSE FINALLY THANK YOU. Do you have these kind of places where you live?? Am I discovering this waaaaaay late? Because I am kind of ridiculously excited and impressed.
They gutted half of a 20+ screen place and completely remodeled it. They put in a full restaurant kitchen and a legit BAR (beer, wine, liquor!). The seats are leather, super wide and cushy (though not old-man recliner style, I dislike that bouncy-seat thing some theatres have gone for recently), the lighting is discreet, the service is prompt. There are TONS of movies to choose from on this side of the building, not just one or three a day. They’ve really invested in it as a separate line of business and a totally separate experience.
My favorite part is how you reserve your seat online before you go, which removes a gigantic pain point for me because I’m always worried about WHEN to show up. Will it be crowded? If I am going to the effort to see this movie I sure don’t want to get stuck with a CRAPPY seat. I definitely want to be able to sit with the people I came with. But I don’t want to show up an hour early and just…sit there, learning trivia about Michael Douglas and Coke. It’s kind of a weird guessing game that I’ve never been very good at. But when I reserve a seat I can literally show up WHEN THE MOVIE STARTS and just stroll on in! It was awesome! It totally removed a stress point for me.
The food was super decent, totally on par with a Chili’s type of restaurant, which is waaaaay better than I’ve seen at similar booze+food+movie places. Chris had a margarita that he said was just as good as what he’d get at our favorite tex-mex place. And at more than 40 weeks pregnant? I was legit COMFORTABLE through the whole movie. (Almost 3 hours!) Lots of room and space for everyone and their food and drinks.
I was worried that the small lights at each seat (to see your food/drink) might be distracting, but they weren’t. The way it’s set up you can’t see any lighting in the seats in front of you. I did find the clanking/clinking of eating to be KIND OF distracting, but everyone was finished eating relatively soon into the movie so it wasn’t QUITE a big deal.
I didn’t even feel too price-gouged. The tickets were $12, which is very nearly what it costs to visit the fancy, non-booze/food theatre. My soda was $4.50 (spendy, but a typical movie theatre price) and the margarita was $8 (similar to a restaurant). And if two hours into the movie I decided I wanted a brownie sundae? I just push a button and a dude comes to our seats, I order, and he brings it to me. FABULOUS. Food was in the $8-$15 range, which, I dunno, didn’t seem TOO ridiculous for what they were serving. At the same time, there’s no requirement to order food/beverages, so I could totally see paying $12 for the nice, reserved seat and not even ordering if it wasn’t a meal time or I had other plans.
And? AND? It’s 18+, so NO MOUTHY TEENAGERS!
Oh. I’ve gone and gotten old and cranky, haven’t I? Well, if old and cranky looks like someone bringing me a glass of wine and a brownie sundae then I AM ALL ABOUT THAT.
Fancy movies, you guys! We are living in the future! YOU NEED TO BE LOOKING INTO THIS.