Ithaca Blog

Friday, August 17, 2007

Review: the New Movie Theater at the Mall

There are usually better things to do on a summer weekend than go see a mainstream movie at a mall, but we owe it to our Ithaca Blog public to review such things as the new movie theater at The Mall Formerly Known as Pyramid, so we made time last weekend.

There is a confusing new name for the mall. It was called Pyramid Mall since its inception in the late 1970's. (Or Pyramid Maul, by some who disparaged the car-centered drain of retail sales, jobs, and taxes from the city of Ithaca to the suburb of Lansing.) Now it has a fancy new name that is a little too long and non-descript to remember.

The name of the movie theater is also a challenge. In my old neighborhood we want to the Rugby. This one is offically called Regals Cinema Ithaca Mall Stadium 14.

It's "14" because there are 14 screens. Not 14 good movies, in fact maybe not even 2 at present, but 14 screens.

It's "stadium" because they have "stadium" seats. Pretty nice seats. They are big, and they rock back a little. The "stadium" design means that each row is substantially higher than the one before it, so you barely even notice anyone in front of you, even tall guys. The head ahead of you is at your knee level.

It is also, maybe, "stadium" because, like at a stadium, they have vendors. Three vendors come into the theater before the movie (after the 15 minutes of commercials, public service announcements from AT&T to shut off the device of theirs they hope you have on you, etc.), with a rolling cart of snacks, in case you possibly missed the concession stand in the lobby, which is as big as a train station.

One of the vendors addresses the audience about this snack selection, and informs you that these other two vendors are ready to perform wonderful running action to go get any other ingestibles you might possibly desire. What I personally desired was a luxury Dove brand candy bar for 87 cents from Target, down the hall, but I didn't have to ask them if they would go get that, because I got one for myself on the way in to the mall.

The other reason it might be stadium is that, relatively speaking, it is expensive, like going to modern stadia. The movie is $9.50, same as most Manhattan theaters, though the rents and other operating costs are presumably higher in Manhattan than in Lansing.

The smallest popcorn is $4.50, but don't worry, it is not a small, because even though it is the smallest, it is called a Large.

This could insult your intelligence, but I guess they are willing to take that chance, considering that the mainstream movie you are about to see there could insult the intelligence of a zebra.

The popcorn is not bad, though. We ordered a small (i.e. Large), and it was enough for two. It was pretty fresh-tasting and, you know, you have to eat popcorn at the movies every once in a while, on the macrobiotic principle of eating foods indigenous to your environment, even if it is a temporary, 2-hour environment.

If they can keep that popcorn fresh-tasting, and keep the theaters comfortable and clean, we will not begrudge them the prices. Honest, we won't. Talking about it publicly here is our job, but we won't begrudge. And we'll go up there once in a while to rock in the comfortable seats, oblivious to our neighbors, and us to them. But we would go a lot more frequently if they scouted out a few more things worth seeing. Honest, we would.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca Blog

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