Freelance by Jen

Consider me the No More Tangles of your writing needs.

I’ve been pretty obsessed with a couple of things in my time at home. The main thing, every day, every hour, is Yahtzee with Buddies, but that’s something I’m a little ashamed about being addicted to, so we’ll move onto the other thing: bracket challenges.

It started with our Alamo support group – a couple of members posted a graded tier-style Best Disney Movies Ever list, and were promptly roasted, maybe to death, by everyone else. Alternates were proposed and roasted. It was a whole thing.

While I thought it was hilarious, I didn’t feel that fire in my belly. You know the type – when something just GRIPS you and you just CARE. I chalked it up to the overall descent of existential dread and depression that comes from being unemployed and homebound.

Until the aforementioned Little Debbie Snack Madness challenge. I started with just the Sweet Sixteen, but quickly realized there were a lot more contenders that needed careful consideration, so I found the full bracket and my family turned it into an opportunity to “learn” at our “home school.” After that, my stepsons were ready to put a name to our next bracket challenge (they wanted gas station beverages, but there is no existing bracket template for that and seriously, there are SO MANY).

In our Alamo Springfield Film Club group on Facebook, we’ve been working our way through best movie theater snacks. Last week’s bracket chose the best movie theater candy; this week, milkshakes.

What I’ve learned is that I’m very interested in food and movies (and Yahtzee, but, again, another time maybe), and not a whole lot else. Wait, music. And not one other thing. Fine, SNL. Food, movies, Yahtzee, SNL. Oh! My husband! Actually put him first. And baseball! Oh god, now it’s turning into guilt. I completely forgot all the kids. And swimming!

Shit.

Anyway, a friend and fellow Film Club member asked me to name my Top Five Favorite Movie Theater Experiences for an upcoming podcast, which was a whole new level in mental stimulation. In remembering, I found a whole bunch of happiness. Movies really have been so much a part of who I am, for most of my life, that everything else kinda revolves around those base memories. It became tricky to even narrow down five, actually. And one of those is too embarrassing to write about (and couldn’t really be a “favorite” – more like a “highly memorable,” so that’s out.

But I digress.

Here are my Top Five Favorite Movie Theater Experiences, in no real order:

  1. Seeing Mr. Mom in 1983. My dad had bought our town’s movie theater, and spent a year-ish renovating it (time is melty when I try to remember childhood. It was a LONG time ago). Mr. Mom is the first movie I remember seeing once the theater opened, and I saw it many times after that. To see the fruits of his labor, and people there enjoying it, and laughing, and the CONCESSION STAND being open – very, very fond memories that will never be topped.
  2. My first midnight movie – Dick Tracy. I was 14 when this came out, and it felt like a very big deal to get to see it at midnight with a friend of mine. Plus, comic book movies were just starting the resurgence – the colors seemed brighter, the transcendence of animation to live-action felt next-level, and being awake that late made everything a little more surreal.
  3. My first after-hours/tech check screening. My dad fired up Arachnophobia for himself, me, the same friend I saw Dick Tracy with (Nicole!), and my brother after hours in that same summer of 1990. The dual thrills of a, well, thriller movie, as well as the excitement of it being late at night again and nobody else being in the theater was just amazing. My brother had also snuck in one of those big, fake rubber spiders, and threw it on Nicole halfway through the movie. It totally worked.
  4. The first time I saw Rocky Horror. I had put off watching this forever because, as a theater employee, I resented the mess people made of the theater during the movie. I didn’t understand why so much food had to be thrown, but I also hadn’t seen the movie. I finally watched it as part of my training in Austin after I was hired at Alamo Drafthouse. It was at the Ritz on 6th Street, late at night on Halloween, and was also my first movie party. There really couldn’t have been a better place or time to see it, and it was unforgettably amazing. And I finally got proof – there was definitely no reason to throw food.
  5. The first movie I saw at Alamo Drafthouse Springfield as an official employee. It was a big deal that I got to be back home after being away from training, but it was a bigger deal because my dad and stepmom came to visit Alamo for the first time. Josh and I took them to see Three Billboards – an incredible movie. Seeing my dad see an Alamo for the first time, and experience the whole thing, was just the most beautiful thing. The pre-shows, the How to Order, the ABILITY to order so many different things – there is a magic about this place that I’ve never experienced. I miss all of it.

And for every one of these memories, there are a hundred more. And that’s why, though I’m subscribed to almost every streaming service there is, I know there’s nothing like seeing a movie on the big screen. While I am 100% sure waiting is the best way to go, it’s also definitely the hardest part.

What Top Fives, or bracket challenges, make YOUR heart race? I really want to know!

Also, do you play Yahtzee?

*Featured photo courtesy of The Banner

One thought on “Movie Memories: Nostalgia, Ranked

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