Smoothie at the Movies: The Joys of an Empty Theater
So you've finally gone full Beyonce and told your last relationship to head to the left (to the left). But now all your friends are on their third watch of The Hunger Games and you have nobody to go see it with. What are you to do? What if I told you that you can brave the big dark void of the theater all by yourself. You can go out there and see whatever tickles your fancy at whatever time of day suits you the best. Weekends be damned! To hell with the date-night movie watch-- here’s your helpful guide to anytime fun time at the movies.
Is the city starting to feel a little tight around the collar for you? Maybe an afternoon out at the multiplex will help. It’s the perfect place to head to in the middle of the afternoon on your odd weekday off, when you’re the only one who has the day off from work. The matinee prices (starting at $5) are as cheap as it can get, and having ten or more movies to choose from makes all the choices seem like a good call.
Another plus to screening alone: You know how, when you and your friends are watching TV and a commercial comes on for a chain restaurant? Everybody guffaws about the idea of having to go and eat at such a place, but deep down inside you think to yourself, “I really do like their Tuscan chicken pasta...”. Well, now’s your chance to go for it. Go to the Chipotle or the Five Guys, head to the Applebee’s -- heck, I even hear they're gonna have a BW3s up there soon!
Starting this weekend, the AMC is showing the star-studded Out of the Furnace. A story of two brothers, Russell and Rodney, trying to make a living in a steel mill town in the Northeast. When Rodney (Casey Affleck) comes back from fighting overseas and gets himself into trouble with the wrong crowd (lead by a terrifying Woody Harrelson), it is up to Russell (Christian Bale) to find his brother and rescue him. Harrelson brings a real edge in his madman on the mountain character, and if all the other big name characters in the film pull their weight as well, this will be a hard-edged tale of family devotion.
With rather heavy watching material and subject matter, the Zeitgeist is always a comfortable place to see a movie as an individual. Sometimes it’s just hard to talk other people into going to see a four-hour documentary about the French ballet (Le Danse is totally worth it, by the way). So find a film that really piques your interest and go find out that you're not the only one out there who really has a passion for avant-garde food art (El Bulli).
This week the Zeitgeist is showing the documentary American Promise. In 1999, filmmakers Joe Brewster and Michele Stephenson started filming their son Idris and his best friend, Seun, as they entered kindergarten at the Dalton School, a prestigious private institution in New York City that was just beginning to focus on diversity in their school system. The documentary follows the two families' lives throughout the boy’s entire school career, showing how hard it can be to find self and identity in a society that so easily makes one an outcast. It’s a thorough look at the anxiety parents have with how to raise a child and the complex struggle boys face about how to become a man.
The early bird always catches the worm, says the Prytania. With its Classics Series on Sundays and Wednesdays at 10 a.m., not only can you get a movie before lunch, but a rare big screen showing, too.
If you’re looking for a little breakfast before the movie or a sandwich for lunch after, go for Stein's Deli on Magazine. Stein’s has a great east coast deli feel with some of the best sandwiches to offer in the city. Open every day but Monday and with specials every day (Friday's Cuban is a perfect way to start the weekend), the place is perfect for your day at the movie experience. So get there early. And get yourself a salmon crème on an everything bagel.
This Sunday/Wednesday, the Prytania is showing the hilarious spy spoof Casino Royale (1967). Starring Peter Sellers at his prime, Orson Wells being funny, and a young Woody Allen, Casino Royale is one of the original comedies to usher in the spoof film genre. Sellers plays James Bond 007, who is asked out of retirement to stop the evil SMERSH. His genius idea to stop them: Make every secret agent on duty James Bond 007. Confusion and hilarity ensue.
The proximity of Canal Place to the French Quarter is ideal for a nice solo adventure around town. Get a fresh daiquiri inside the French Market and take a slow stroll around the neighborhood, soaking in some action.
One of the movies that will be talked about when the award season picks up this month is going to be the Dallas Buyers Club. Matthew McConaughey has been on a real hot streak in the past couple of years with his movie choices, and this may be one of his finest. Playing a Texas roughneck of a man (Ron Woodroof) in 1985 who finds out he has been infected with the H.I.V. virus, McConaughey, shows the struggle of a man who must look past all of the prejudices that were ingrained in him, find a way to survive with his disease, and help others who are inflicted to survive as well. With the odd coupling of the Texas rodeo man and Jared Leto’s beautifully played feminine Rayon, the based-on-a-true-story movie is a great reminder of how little we knew about this disease when it first occurred and how terrifying it was to us as a society.
All right, here it is, the ultimate idea for the full flying solo, don’t need nobody experience. So grab your sweatpants, leave the makeup at home, and check your shame and cynicism at the door.
There are many delights that come with the Chalmette Theater, and one of those things is that it has a nice and wonderful all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet right next door. So go nuts with a plate full of sesame chicken. Don’t even touch the fruit. And right before you feel like you’re about to take it a step too far down that tunnel, take a slow walk next door to the theater and enjoy the newest Disney delight Frozen (Seriously? Yes, seriously!).
Disney movies have a special place in everyone’s heart. Some people more so than others (I remember when The Princess and the Frog came out, one my roommates at the time made the rest of us go see it together while she was wearing a tiara), but deep down everybody has a soft spot for them. So maybe right now, in all the cynicism that clouds your world, a story of a girl traveling across a blizzard-filled country trying to help her sister find her way (and find her own, for that matter) will be just what you’re looking for. Besides, some catchy song and dance numbers can’t hurt.
See, any day, at any time, you can find yourself having a full fun day around town with a great movie to get your day started. Never fear going it alone. Once you see how much fun it is, you’ll never turn back. Hey, you might even bump into me while you’re at it.
Matt ‘Smoothie’ Sargeant is a nolavie film writer. Contact him at mjsargeant83