Tuesday, June 14, 2011

saying goodbye to socal, part one: movies

photo: Carmen

Let's be clear about one thing: I hate L.A.

Shakespeare himself did not write a tragedy so horrendous that it compares to my grief at even the idea of picking up a friend at LAX.  Hollywood is dirty and smelly, and L.A.'s beaches are the spawn of ashtrays and garbage dumps whose only evidence of the Coppertone baby is the soiled diapers left behind.

That said, as I think about leaving Southern California, I am struck with a bit of unexpected nostalgia.

For everything I don't understand about the surf, bro, thug, socialite, or hippie cultures out here, there are a few things I will miss.  Over the next few days, I will feature some of them.

Today's thing that I will miss about SoCal:
People who really appreciate movies.  From the building-sized billboards advertising new films to limited releases and occasional star-sightings at church (yes, it sometimes happens), SoCal bleeds movies.

One of the best cinematic experiences in Souther California can be had at ArcLight Cinemas.

My sister introduced us to ArcLight Cinemas during one of my first visits to see her in L.A.  ArcLight actually has rules (and enforces them) about how to watch a movie.  You can even reserve your seat when you buy tickets online, as though you were buying an airplane ticket.  They frequently have props in the lobby, including the "all spark" from Transformers:Revenge of the Fallen and the red stroller from Away We Go.

Audience members stay to the end of the credits for most movies, not waiting for bonus footage, presumably because they are looking for their friends' names.

Despite this utterly proper ambience for movie watching, perhaps my favorite movie experience there was sneaking Chipotle burritos into the theater and watching 500 Days of Summer with Lindsey and Azina.

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