Friday, December 28, 2018

Top 5 movie-going moments of 2018

I didn't go to the movies as much this year; partly because I had spent more time doing other things, with new people, and partly because the theaters are going away, little by little. Still, there were some highlights.

5. Playing in the Aquaman GIF booth with Sandi. It was worth sitting through a movie I didn't care for in order to do that, I think.

4. Learning about Roma and seeing it in the same day. I saw this a second time recently, with Virginia, and it was every bit as good as the first. Maybe the future of movie distribution is online, but I'm just not ready to give up on the theater experience yet, so I'm grateful Netflix provided audiences the chance to see this remarkable film the way it should be seen: on a big screen, in a theater.

3. Seeing a movie with Virginia for the first time. Well, you knew she was gonna be somewhere on this list, right? By this point, way back in February, I already had a good feeling about her, but knowing she went out of her way to a theater, the Cinemart, that's not near any subways, to see Black Panther with me after knowing me for less than two months... I think this was when I knew she was special.

2. The closing of Lincoln Plaza Cinemas. A New York institution for generations, the implications of this Upper West Side theater's demise were felt throughout the independent film industry in America. Combined with the loss of the Sunshine on Houston Street in the same year, it almost feels like the end of an era. LPC's successor is taking a stab at keeping the torch lit on the UWS, but the art house theaters that remain in New York will need support now more than ever.

1. The closing of Movieworld. Maybe this didn't have as big an impact as the loss of the LPC, but try telling that to its audience. It had the best bargain for first-run movies in Queens, and possibly all of New York, in an unusual location, perhaps, but with a dedicated and loyal fan base — and it was local and independent, a neighborhood theater in the truest sense. I didn't go there for a long time, but I liked the place, and frankly, it deserved better in the end. But the going-away party was terrific.


Yeah, this was a rotten year for movie closings: the Center Cinemas in Sunnyside is gone, my beloved Jackson in Jackson Heights has been demolished (and they wanna put a damn Target in its place! Can you imagine?), the aforementioned Sunshine is gone...

On the flip side, though, Cinemart and the Kew Gardens continue to thrive; Angelika, the Forum, IFC, BAM, MOMI, none of them are going anywhere for the foreseeable future... and we've got an Alamo Drafthouse within the five boroughs at last. We're doing okay as long as we don't have to rely on Manhattan for movies.

Personally, this has been a hell of a year for me. I'm happier with Virginia, in more ways, than I have been in a long, long time. I'm immensely grateful for her in my life. I sure hope this is only the beginning.

Happy new year to all of you. I'll see you back here January 7.

2017 top five
2016 top five
2015 top five
2014 top five
2013 top five
2012 top five
2011 top five


  1. There's a smile in your writing, even in the loss of the familiar theatres.

  2. I'm glad you think so! It's sad, no doubt, but perhaps remembering the good movies I saw there, and the good memories of those places are what make me smile.

    Happy new year to you and yours.

  3. But I love that Aquaman booth thing you did. Our theater is to cool for fun things like that.

  4. It was Sandi's idea, but if she hadn't have thought of it, I probably would've wanted to do that too.

  5. I'm sorry to hear about the theatre closings, but I'm happy to read about your good movie experiences...especially seeing Roma on the big screen. I just watched it on Netflix the other night, and loved it, but I'm envious of your seeing it in a theatre.

    Also: Happy 2019, Rich. I hope this will be a terrific year for you, your writing and your blog. :)


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