Startup, The Style of Technology

Startup: Grab A Bowl And Get Comfortable

Cosmetic trim? Wouldn't see that anymore. (Image from Crumblin Down's Flickr Feed)

As we kick off our second week of AtomicToasters, we need to bring out a bit of tradition. There is something of an art to a good bowl of popcorn, and when you find a theatre that still serves it correctly, you’ll never want to go anywhere else.

There is a small movie theatre in Camrose, AB that still serves the original, artery-clogging style of popcorn. It’s popped in oil, with plenty of seasoning. It’s opulent, it’s excessive, it’s delicious. There are three IMAX theatres within an hour’s drive, and I’d rather watch a movie in that little theatre. There was a time when people cared more about how things taste than whether or not it has salt. Yes, it’s not very good for you. But if you’re getting popcorn in a movie, you shouldn’t be worrying about how healthy it is.

In the same vein, there was a time when theatres were concerned about how things looked, rather than just keeping everything functional. Rather than industrial equipment that’s made of sheet metal, they bought equipment that fit the design of the building. Equipment was beautiful, stylish, and functional.

And maybe that helped make the popcorn taste better, too.

  • tonyola

    Wow, in this era of microwave popcorn, you can still buy Jiffy-Pop.
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    • bzr

      A confession: I've never made Jiffy Pop before.

  • Movie theaters are hurting. People can watch movies for much less money and in better quality in their homes. In fact, the only movies I go to now are either at the $2 theater or at the IMAX.

    I wonder why more people haven't tried the business model of the theater of yesteryear? Charge the same $10.50 as the chain theater down the street, but offer better food for sale, a sense of style and even elegance, etc. There is a theater in Ferndale, MI that does just this (except it is $2 for second run movies). In fact, you can have a delicious beer while watching a movie, all in a unique, fun and elegant atmosphere.

    The Magic Bag should be an inspiration to the movie theater industry, not an aberration.

    • There are 4 or 5 high-end places in LA: reserved seating, good chairs, good condiments, etc.

      Tickets are like $20, but I'd argue they're worth it if you're not paying for them by mowing lawns.

      …either that, or you go to the $2 theater to observe the interesting social phenomenon of just how close to other people horny 15 year olds will still start making out (and then some…).

      • Deartháir

        I like to bring a water bottle for just those occasions. ::FSST-FSST:: "Don't make me get the hose!"

  • There is this little place in Austin called The Alamo Drafthouse. Aside from when we have a gift card to Regal theaters, my wife and I always go to The Alamo. It is the most awesome theater ever.

    From "The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is dinner, drinks, movies and events all at the same place. Named by Entertainment Weekly as the "Best Theater in America," the Alamo Drafthouse never plays ads before the feature, is vigilant in keeping talkers and texters out of the theater and offers the best in both new release movies and alternative programming. "

    Its awesome.

    • OA5599

      There's an Alamo Drafthouse that's a 45 minute drive from my house. I'd probably go more often if it was closer.

      A multiplex one neighborhood away from my house shut down a couple of years ago and has sat empty ever since. I keep hoping Alamo will lease it and rework it into the Drafthouse concept.

      • That would be awesome. I had a coworker who's back fence boarded an Alamo parking lot. I had a combination of jealousy and glad it wasn't me that lived there.

    • Liberty Hall Theater in Lawrence for my awesome, beer served theater. The beer is just soooo good.

  • A couple of friends in Lexington, KY swear by the Movie Tavern (, but since I try to avoid Lexington like the bubonic cesspool it is, I have to take their word for it. But the premise is that you can get real food and draft beer served to you while you kick back and watch first run movies. Pitchers, appetizers… the whole works, apparently. Not sure if I see the full appeal (after all I can do better at home) but cold beer and hot food is certainly preferable to sugar water and tasteless corn nubs if you HAVE to see a movie on opening night.

    • Sounds about like The Alamo. They have an extensive draft beer list, as well as 'badass taps' which usually feature some amazing beers. The food is pretty decent as well (as long as you enjoy it deep fried).

  • MrHowser

    Vancouver, WA has Cinetopia, which is pretty darn awesome. The last time I was there, you paid $1-3 more than a Regal ticket (which was $9 or $10 if I remember correctly) but you got to sit in a comfy leather recliner with plenty of space and watch the show in HD. They also had a room where you can order drinks and food to go with your show.

    The McMenamin's Bagdad theater in Portland also does brews and food with your movies. Nothing like a big glass of Ruby beer and a show.

  • Brewvies in Salt Lake City is both a bar and a theater, you can take your food and beer into the theater and enjoy a movie in civilized fashion. The food there was pretty good there when I lived in SLC, I'd go there just to eat.

  • In my gold-rush era hometown they have an Art-Deco theater right on one end of the main drag where I saw Star Wars, the Deep, Jaws, Corvette Summer, Damnation Alley and a certain Trans Am with a CB. It used to be one big open theater with red and gold carpet, a gigantic screen, and the world's greatest popcorn in the lobby. Sometimes they would have local acts on the stage, and it was generally an "event" just to go out to the movies.

    Then one summer there was a fire, which freaked a lot of people out. When the theater eventually reopened, it had been modernized with 3 small screens, blue carpet and none of the old charm. It lost some of the old magic, and even the popcorn wasn't quite as good. The theater has struggled yet amazingly not only keeps going, but is still Art-Deco.

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