Dream road shatters Regal dreams

The folks planning the Hillsdale Connector, a widely acclaimed road that gives Seminole Square a chance to recast its tan-n-brown image while serving as a relief valve to Seminole Trail, will take a second movie theater, the Regal quad, according to Charlottesville Tomorrow. For roundabout lovers, the news is worse: a couple of the signal-free traffic circles will turn out to be conventional signaled intersections.

7 comments

Music Lover is spot-on correct. After decades of bemoaning the poor quality of area theaters, I invested in gear and my 7.1 surroundsound with a 52" flatscreen LCD and bodacious subwoofer to make the dinosaurs fu*cking ROAR, there is really little the local cine has to offer except sticky, post-film shoe soles and the lament of having dropped $20 for a date and myself to watch a mediocre and misleadingly marketed film while smelling yesterday's popped corn.

Theatre chains should rethink their entire approach. Jettison the giant $5 chocolate bars and $6 Co-colas, or save 'em for the kiddies.

Install stadium seating or table seating. Install quality Surroundsound systems (which, believe it or don't is half the moviegoing experience). Secure an ABC license and serve decent drinks, not all watered-down and bastardized by bottom-shelf liquors.

A tapas-style restaurant could score a franchise, offer a limited menu and positively clean up the cash at a good movie theater. Lacking that, give Christian's Pizza a concession. Sell imported beers and decent California wine by the glass. These added revenues could reduce or eliminate the godforsaken pre-film commercials that turn a 135-minute motion picture into an all-nite affair.

Until then, the charm of the Vinegar Hill Theatre, the only locally owned cine in the city, will do just fine. They offer facilities no better than the multiplexes, but by God they book good films and the owner knows her business. the love movies at that place -- and passion for one's work is half the battle for a loyal clientele.

But to get on point: Music Lover is right. This city needs (and deserves) some quality motion picture houses.

That's an excellent question, Jim. The cinemas in Charlottesville are all - 100% of them - sub-standard. No THX (and not even one with a decent sound system), no stadium seating, and for the most part poor projectors/brightness. Granted - I don't expect arc light projectors (though nothing beats them as a light source for film), but most of the ones in town are pretty sorry (and they tend to beat up the prints pretty badly, which is noticeable after the first week or two of a run).

Are there any plans to bring a modern theater to Charlottesville? Or do we have too much live entertainment?

Why not just extend Michie Dr. into Hillsdale?

Aye, Cteve loves his cinema. I saw a midnight showing of Monty python's meaning of Life at the Seminole 4 behind K-mart around '84-85. The movie's initial theatrical run was '83 so that would have been about right for a midnight screeening.

Two gals went screaming up the aisles of the theater when Mr. Creosote waddled in and began his projectile vomiting.

Remember the Terrace Theater next to K-mart? Odd, three-screeen place with funky concave walls. I caught Romero's original Dawn of the Dead (around 1979) at a midnight showing there.

About the same time, you could go see a midnight screening of Zepplein's Song Remains the Same just about every other Saturday night somewhere in town. Soon as the lights went down the theater began to fill with the sweet, pungent scent of good grass. I never needed to carry to a midnight show; you could catch a contact buzz just being in the theater.

Hell, people would flick their Cricket lighters in the theater like it was a real concert when Pagey chopped into that Whole Lotta Love riff at the ned of the film. I was inspired to learn guitar on the single basis of that riff.

Wild Times.

Cinematic Cteve loves his movies! The last midnight shows I can recall were at the University Theater on the corner, before it closed. I seem to recall catching Rocky Horror there during the last weekend they were open, and it was crazy wild in there. I don't know of any midnight showings of anything since, at least not any midnight showings of films worthy of being run at midnight.

P.S.

Bring back midnight movies. Cult classics ande b-movie schlock, for which I have a dangerous and evidently incurable addiction, deserve an audinece and I think there is a potential audience right here in this town.

Did the ding-dongs at city hall pass some sort of ordinance once upon a time? I moved away in '84 and returned in '99 and by then midnight movies were gone, baby, gone.

Prints of these crazy b-movies can be rented for ridiculously low prices. So charge $5 to get in the door, then serve the aforementioned drinks and snacks until 2 a.m. like everyone else.

Think about it: The Regal Downtown is dark and shuttered by the time things are just getting cranking on the mall on Friday and Saturday nights. I submit, dear readers, that money is being left on the table.

And there's nothing like a wild b-flick to make audience excitement a reason to go to the movies. Even the summer blockbusters nowadays scarcely elicit a gasp from the somnambulant audiences, numbed by commercials, ludicrous ticket prices and possibly the novocaine allegedly mixed in with the "golden flavoring" that passes for butter on popcorn.

God save us from golden flavoring. And lousy movie theater-chain owners who understand neither their business nor their audience.