Before moving to Austin, I had been in many movie theatres. My favorites were, by far, AMC Loews theatres. Regal theatres just never did it for me. They always felt shabby, but AMC theatres were cleaner, bigger, and often had more options. They even opened a fancy dine-in AMC.
Then I moved to Austin. My whole movie going experience changed when I started going to Alamo Drafthouse. The basics of the theatre are simple and reminiscent of the dine-in AMC. The theatre has a full menu with diner style food and a lovely assortment of beers, wine, and adult milkshakes. They, also, have monthly specials that allow you to switch up from the normal menu.
I’m done ranting about the food, I’m no foodie. On to what really makes Alamo Drafthouse stand out from the others. Alamo is quirky. Before the movie shows, when most theatres would show loops of behind the reel type footage, Alamo shows funny, odd, off-beat videos. For example, before they screened The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Peter Jackson 2012), they played Leonard Nimoy’s The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins and Flight of the Concords’ Frodo, Don’t Wear The Ring, amongst others In case you haven’t seen either of those videos I’m going to link to them. I’m going to throw in one of the pre-Ironman 3 (Shane Black 2013) videos, Funny or Die’s Don Cheadle is Captain Planet.
Alamo Drafthouse is dedicated to the movie going experience which is something many theatres but on the backburner. Unlike other theatres where they just say you can’t talk or text, Alamo will kick your ass out if you do. I’ve seen it happen. And to ensure that the audience knows the rules, Alamo plays some pretty amusing PSAs before the movie starts. My favorite is one with James Franco that aired before This is the End (Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg 2013). I’ll link to that too. Don’t try to arrive late to the movie either. They won’t let you in if the film has already started. So all you stragglers better be on time.
Overall, the entire experience is wonderful. Even though I have a Regal theatre that sells tickets slightly cheaper, I almost never go. They don’t even have stadium seating.
In case you live in the Austin, you should definitely check out the new Alamo Drafthouse at Lakeline. It is gorgeous. Even if you don’t live in Austin, Alamos are popping up in more and more places. For locations, look here.
And now here are all those links I promised:
Leonard Nimoy’s The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins
Flight of the Conchords Frodo, Don’t Wear the Ring
Funny or Die’s Don Cheadle is Captain Planet
Alamo Drafthouse’s James Franco’s Don’t Talk PSA