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Smoothie at the Movies: dinner & a movie

Going to the movies is one thing, but for the complete date-night package there has to be one more very important step -- the dinner. The place you decide to go to eat will ultimately make the difference between a wonderful night at the movies or a true life horror flick. So here are a couple favorite eateries around local theaters that might help make sure your evening remains "White House Down" amazing.

AMC Westbank:

Crossing the mighty river has great rewards, but the best as far as food goes has to be Pho Tau Bay. Conveniently located on the West Bank Expressway in a "Is this actually the place?"-looking shopping center parking lot, Pho Tau Bay is an unassuming Vietnamese restaurant that is as good as it gets. So go fill up on spring rolls and pho bo, and then head over to the multiplex for some big-screen high action with Thor: The Dark World.

The sequel to the surprisingly good Thor brings the god of thunder back to the planet Earth to once again save the day. Of course, there is not enough of Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, Thor’s mischievous brother, who was so great in the original film that they brought him back for The Avengers.I feel as if there could never be enough Loki in a film. When being bad is done well, it’s always missed when it’s gone.

Zeitgeist:

The Zeitgeist may seem very stand-alone on Oretha Haley Boulevard, but that is not the truth. Casa Borrega is a lovely Mexican restaurant almost next door. Boasting tapas, drinks, and live Latin jazz music, it’s a nice little starter before sitting down on the couches in the Zeitgeist and catching a film. They also like each other! If you bring in your receipt for dinner from Casa Borrega, you can see a movie for $5. So if you’re far enough down the relationship line that frugal moves can be considered sexy, go for it.

This coming week, the Zeitgeist is playing one of the best documentary films of the year. These Birds Walk (starting Monday, Nov. 26) is the story of orphaned boys in Pakistan and their struggle to find a place in a world that doesn’t necessarily want them. With beautiful cinematography and heart-wrenching subject matter, it is easy to see how it was an award winner at the True/False and Hot Docs film festivals this year.

Canal Place:

One of the best things that Canal Place has going for it is that it is conveniently located near some of the greatest food in the entire world. The biggest problem is finding which place works for you. A suggestion might be Iris, located just two blocks from the mall parking garage (where they validate part of the parking fee if you see a movie). It gives a fine dining feel that sometimes can get lost inside of the French Quarter and complements the fine dinning/ fine film-going experience that Canal Place boasts.

This week the highly anticipated French film Blue is the Warmest Color finally reaches New Orleans. The Cannes Film Festival winner is the story of two girls falling in and out of love. I’m excited to sit in the fancy leather seats and blush like a school boy during the widely talked about love scenes (the reason for its NC-17 rating) and then openly cry when true love meets true heartache. #Movies.

Chalmette:

With its old school feel and its even older school cafeteria style food selection, Rocky & Carlos Restaurant and Bar has some of the best food in the city. Located on St. Bernard Highway, Rocky & Carlos does basic homestyle food that reminds you of every meal your grandmother ever cooked. And nothing is better then their mac & cheese; just be forewarned that one order is large enough to feed both of you and your roommate, who will be waiting patiently for you to come home and spill all the details of the night.

The theater this week is pretty solid with mainstream choices, but here are a couple of ideas depending on your sense of humor. Bad Milo is about as dark and weird a comedy as you can get. With a cast of people you will recognize but might not be able to place, it is a movie about a man who goes to the doctor complaining about stomach pains, only to find out that there is a demon living inside him. If weird intestine demon humor isn’t what you’re seeking, there’s always the polar opposite with Free Birds, the animated story of two turkeys (Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson) who go back in time to stop turkeys from being on the original Thanksgiving table.

The Prytania:

All right, here it is, maybe my favorite idea for a Friday night. You start out at the Kingpin on Lyons street and get some good drinks and some great tacos from the Taceaux Loceaux food truck that parks outside of the bar every Friday. These are the best tacos in town, not just on a truck. The line may get long, but the bar makes the wait easy. Have a few drinks and enjoy all the taco choices (I can’t resist the Messin' with Texas). Then take a small walk around the corner to the Creole Creamery for some late-night ice cream. Get your own handmade waffle cone or go two spoons in to a sundae together. After that, it’s off to the Prytania for some late-night movie fun.

This week, the Prytania is showing The Hunger Games: Catching Fire at all screenings, including the midnight one. So go to the midnight viewing and show off that you’re willing to admit you read The Hunger Games. This time around, Katniss Everdeen is thrown back into the arena. Will she be the last one standing? Or will she find another way out and start the revolution that has been stirring since she became the girl on fire? (Between you and me, I think she’ll be okay.)

So there you have it. There are many options out there to make a special night out that much more special. I hope you and yours find something that fits you both just right…

And for everyone else, don’t worry. Next week it’s your turn: Smoothie at the Movies presents: Relationships Can Stick It! The Guide to Rolling Solo to the Movies.

Extras of the Week:

Here are a couple of other special movie events happening this coming week that should not be missed.

Passion of Joan of Arc: Sunday 11/24. St. Louis Cathedral

When The New Orleans Films Society brings it, they really bring it. This time NOFS is presenting a one-night only showing of one of the greatest movies ever made, the 1928 silent film The Passion of Joan of Arc. Once thought lost forever, this movie depicts the suffering that Joan of Arc went through toward the end of her life. Excellently shot in black and white with heartbreaking close-ups, the pain that she suffers is almost too much to bear. The beauty of the film also lies in its lack of music; historically, the music would be played live, during the viewing. That is what NOFS is bringing to you with this showing -- an improvised organ soundtrack -- with the help of Samuel Liegon, who serves as the titular organist of St. Pierre de Chaillot in Paris.

Day of the Doctor: Monday 11/25 AMC Elmwood

Hold on to your fezzes and tie up your bowties, the Doctor is back. The epic BBC special that will celebrate the 50th year anniversary of the Doctor will be available one night only in 3D at the AMC. Surprises will abound, as the dream of more than one Doctor being on screen will finally be realized since the reboot (long live Tennant!).

So eat your fish sticks and custard, be prepared to tear up seeing Rose again, and always keep a wary eye on the 13th Doctor.

Matt ‘Smoothie’ Sargeant is a nolavie film writer. Contact him at mjsargeant83@gmail.com.