Theaters Around Town: Places To Reconnect With the Cinema

Avery Marks, Editor

As streaming services continue their ascent, viewing movies just as they are released in theaters and going to the cinema may seem like an obsolete experience. You have to leave the comfort of your home and wait in a long concessions line all for a bigger screen. 

But there’s more to the theater than the silver screen — where many of these movies are meant to be seen. 

When you walk through the double doors, you’re hit with a wave of the nostalgic scent of movie theater popcorn, golden with butter.

You file into your seats as you pass other people who are there to watch the same movie; other strangers with whom you’re about to share this experience.

Then there are the trailers, in between which you lean over to your friends commenting about which ones do or don’t look good.

None of this happens when you’re on the couch.

You don’t walk out of the double doors raving about the movie. 

Even if you think that the experience may be outdated in today’s world, there are theaters that can add a new element to renew your movie-going experience. Below are some theaters with a range of qualities.

McMenamins Power Station Theater & Pub

This theater is located out at the Edgefield McMenamins, making it a bit of a drive to get to.

Is the haul worth it?

In order to get to the theater itself, you have to walk through the bar which is also where you can order drinks, popcorn, or other fare. However, in the bar itself, getting your concessions is even more of a hassle than in most theaters because you have to wait for your popcorn along with the normal crowd of customers after their dinner. 

That being said, there are also many more options than in a traditional theater, making it worth it if you go early to ensure you don’t miss one of the staple parts of the cinema-going experience: the previews.

Once you finally make it past the bar and through the concessions line, you get to enter a gorgeous space with ornate paintings to enjoy your film. However, these decorations are both a blessing and a curse for those who are easily distracted. Throughout the movie I found myself admiring the walls which were made all the worse by some excessive lighting.

There is also an upper level to the theater which, while an interesting touch, requires some more light for the stairs than your average movie viewing space.

For some people, this may be no issue. For me, this was a little bit of a nuisance.

I’d recommend you make the drive out here at least once to experience it for yourself. There’s nothing quite like enjoying a side of Scooby Snacks while seeing a movie in all its cinematic glory.

Although this spot is a must-visit for avid movie-goers, I don’t see myself returning unless I do so to also enjoy a meal.

Century Clackamas Town Center RealD 3D with D-BOX

Off the bat, this particular theater is in a very convenient location in reference to La Salle, making it a perfect place to hit right after school gets out. 

Does its location make up for its other characteristics?

If you do opt for a 3D D-BOX, your experience of a movie is heightened, throwing you deeper into the fictional world than cinematography and acting alone can reach. The D-BOX element has the chair move and helps you to experience even more of the senses as the characters go through them.

Paired with the right movie, it’s incredible. Paired with the wrong movie, it’s unnecessary.

These additions are the only special thing about this particular theater, and even when getting normal seats, the ticket prices are steeper than other establishments, such as The Academy Theater.

Unless you are going to make a day out of being at the mall or want to walk there for convenience, I recommend making the commute to a more worthwhile location.

Studio One Theaters

This theater is not as far as McMenamins, but is still a bit of a drive. However, it can be worth it because you get the comfort of a couch.

Do these extra amenities make up for the price and drive?

A pro of viewing a movie at home: you can sprawl out and enjoy the show without the drawback of an uncomfortable red and plastic mass produced seat.

A pro of viewing a movie in the theater: you get to enjoy the film the way it was meant to be seen, on a grand screen surrounded by other fans in a briefly connected community.

At Studio One, you get the best of both worlds. 

Aside from the viewing experience itself, Studio One also offers an impressive array of concessions with flavored popcorns and coconut shrimp. 

As long as you’re not low enough on sleep to risk dozing off during the movie, I highly recommend trying this theater out. There is also a perfect place to grab a sweet treat afterwards called Premium Matcha Cafe Maiko.

The Academy Theater

This theater in particular is a childhood favorite of mine.

But how powerful is nostalgia?

Although The Academy Theater is a little bit of a drive from La Salle, it has reasonable prices and is packed with nostalgia.

Being next door to a pizzeria, you can go to a movie and then get dinner out there, or you can buy a slice of pepperoni as you get your popcorn. 

The building itself is a very classic cinema with red fabric walls in the individual rooms and iconic lettering boards out front, making this the perfect theater if you are going for sentimental purposes.

The Academy even reruns movies through their “revival series,” allowing you to see movies from before your time back on the big screen.