Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Last Picture Show

Sad news in my email yesterday: Cleveland Cinemas is closing its Plaza Cinemas at Chapel Hill, a venue where Joyce and I have seen many films since 2008 (when CC took it over from General Cinema--where we'd also seen many films).

Here's the email:

Plaza Cinemas at Chapel Hill closing 
This location will be closing on Thursday, January 3rd due to the developer having a new use for the space and land. 

It has been Cleveland Cinemas' pleasure to serve the patrons of Plaza Cinemas at Chapel Hill since 2008. 

I just checked my records, and in 2012 we saw twenty films there--spent about $240 (senior discount!) on tickets (some, 3D, were more--some were free passes earned by our frequent attendance).  Here's a list of the Magnificent Twenty:

  1. Jan 7: The Adventures of Tintin
  2.  Jan 13: Young Adult
  3. Jan 20: Carnage
  4. Feb 2: Man on a Ledge
  5. March 31: Jeff, Who Lives at Home
  6. April 7: We Need to Talk about Kevin
  7. April 28: The Raven
  8. June 1: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
  9. June 22: Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
  10. July 6: To Rome with Love
  11. July 20 (Joyce's birthday!): Magic Mike
  12. July 21: Savages
  13. Aug 18: The Bourne Legacy
  14. Aug 24: Total Recall
  15. Aug 31: Hit and Run
  16. Sept 29: Looper
  17. Oct 19: The Master
  18. Nov 9: Skyfall
  19. Nov 16: Flight
  20. Dec 14: Playing for Keeps

We had been concerned about the Plaza's health for a number of months--maybe even longer.  There were rarely many people there, and the management did not seem too interested in anything but the most necessary upkeep.  I remember only a few long lines in our years of going--Field of Dreams (we didn't get in), Titanic, some of the Twilight films.  Usually, though, we waited not at all at the ticket booth.

This had advantages for the likes of us.  Great parking.  No lines.  Few folks competing for seats.  Not a great business model, I grant you--but convenient for shy movie-goers like us.

There were other things we liked about the location.  The little strip mall there has an OfficeMax, a TJ's, a Radio Shack, a Marc's, and some other enterprises that have occupied our time (and taken our money) while we were waiting for the film to start.

We were actually excited when Cleveland Cinemas took over the operation: We thought we'd be able see more independent films than usually make their way to the multiplex--and we did, though not as many as we'd hoped.  Still ...

At the movies, we get the same thing these post-cola days (we both quit drinking soft drinks about a year ago): bottle of water, large popcorn (free re-fill), which we share, though not always good-naturedly.  We both love popcorn, and sometimes there is some ... minor ... competition about who gets how much--and who goes for the refill.  The negotiations for the latter can be delicate, requiring tact and sensitivity and timing.  Fiscal cliff sort of stuff.

We used to get bags of M&M (peanut), but we've matured.  (And sharing was a real issue with them.  Too much marital stress, so we gave them up.)

And afterwards?  Right across the street was a Border's, where we always went after the film to dispose of any surplus cash--or to wear out some plastic in our wallets.  When Border's closed, we were crushed.  Then Books-a-Million moved into the space.  It's not much of a bookstore, but it's better than no bookstore on a Friday or Saturday night.

From there, we'd drive home the "back way"--no freeways--through Munroe Falls, Stow.  The neighborhoods there remind me of my Oklahoma boyhood; Joyce, of the south Akron area where she grew up.  Nostalgia rode along with us.

Tonight--Thursday--is the last night at the Plaza, but I don't think we'll go.  They haven't changed the films there in a while; we've seen all we want to see.  And, besides, I've never liked a death watch.

So what now?

There is a Regal Cinema not far away, not far at all really.  Just behind the Chapel Hill Mall.  I suppose we can go there.  And we have, from time to time.  (They rarely offered the same films as "our" Plaza.)  But it's a little more glitzy, more video-gamey.  We've always preferred the sort of old-fashioned decay and dourness of the Plaza.

And so another of our "favorite places" sinks into the slough of history.  Movie theaters, coffee shops, office-supply and book stores, magazines (Newsweek is now online only), newspapers (the Plain Dealer is gasping)--all gather there--or will gather there--in the netherworld of neglect, which has, for the oddest of reasons, open lines of communication to my memory, my heart.

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