The Local Theater. Dying Breed? You Betcha.

First of all, sorry for the Palin-ism.

There’s a benefit to living in a city like Chicago. We have some of everything. I just told you all about Galloping Ghost and it’s awesomeness a few weeks ago. But there are a couple more gems this city has to offer that are a little more up the public’s alley.

The local movie theater… Oh how I miss thee.

I really wasn’t alive during the time when these small movie houses flourished before we had Lex Luther come and totally fuck shit up. But there’s nothing like going to a small movie theater, and not being turned upside down and having the money shaken out of you.

Welcome to AMC River East motherfucker do you have a shitty ass "rewards" card?

Gone are those feelings of being able to enjoy both a movie AND some food to go along with it. Some of that nice, unhealty movie theature food. Popcorn, various types of pop, nachos, maybe even a hot dog every now and then. I have no need for gormet meals (except at Hollywood Blvd., that food is decently priced though.) I always end up hitting Walgreens first and grabbing some candy/chips/cookies/pork chops/cornish game hen and just sneak it in.

For the 10 bucks I pay to get into AMC river east, it’s a good movie watching time in a usually packed house. But I barely have enough money left to play a game of DDR… even though it is on an Extreme with shitty pads. 30 greats on Freakles is NOT OKAY… ahem.

Enter LaGrange Theatre. Built in 1925 for live perfomances is these days one of the nicest little movie houses around. They don’t have first run movies, but this is okay. With the sheer number that come out, we don’t have time or money to catch them all on the first run. But then again, it’s not like they get stuff 4 months late.

Each screening room has each own theme. It’s really simple and oh so pretty… even though you can’t see jack once the lights are off.

One of the better places to catch a flick for a low(er) price. Not to mention LaGrange is a pretty fucking nice city. Take a walk down their streets while you’re there. And it’s got a Metra stop too for you city folk.

Town is full of win.

Let’s go a good half hour south to the town of Park Failure Park Forest. Anyone who’s been to this town knows that for a number of reasons, it’s basically a ghost town… far as business is concerned. A grocery store has come and gone… twice. There was once a badass shopping center… that’s gone. But there’s a fixure that his been in the town for a long time and refuses to roll over and die.

The Holiday Theater… the Eagle Star Theater, or it’s new name…

Yeah, I like the old name better too.

I remember first going there when I 7 years old. I was with my mom and brother and we saw “3 Ninjas Kick Back”. It was that movie that made me decide I wanted to be the filmmaker you see before you today. I know, that’s really sad isn’t it? But I loved the place then. It didn’t seem quite as commercial as the other places were… and the shopping center still existed next door at the time.

I wish I had more pictures of this place. I haven’t been there in a couple of years, but everything was old school. I felt like I was back in the 1950’s (when the theare first opened). Tickets were only 3 dollars and, like LaGrange, do second runs of films… and a special event here and there.

Now this is where it gets a little ugly. Earlier this year, the place was bought by one Kenny Yochelson.

This Nigga

I was excited by the new management and the fact that Kenny actually wanted to talk to me to see what we could do to help the theater and hopefully the whole town.

Jesus Christ was I wrong.

After a rather heated conversation and being accused of being a racist… and a few other not very nice things, I promised to never give him mine or any of my friend’s service.

I’ll let Mystic Owl sum Kenny up for you.

Then I’m on the internet the other day and found out that my instincts were ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. +1 to Wolfen for being a good judge of character. But enough gloating about being right. It’s all abotu the movies.

I got a friendly facebook message from Katie the intern manager, and I think things are going to be alright over there. They’re gonna need to do a lot of things to totally gain everyone’s trust back after the Kenny era. But it shouldn’t be too difficult. Maybe a name change back to Holiday Theater is in order? Go back to the days of old. I know this writer/filmmaker is ready and willing to help the staff over there with anything they might need. I believe in the independent locally owned cinema with all my heart. They’re what really made going to the movies great. It wasn’t just a movie, it was a social event. I think this could happen again.

Give em a holler at their facebook page. Leave em a message, even if it’s about… I dunno, bubble gum or something. And the citizens of Oak Forest need to go out and represent. Chicago Heights Marcus sucks anyway. So you have no excuse.

Fight the power.

I really do wish there were more pictures of the place. But maybe I’ll just snap a few when I’m down in Park Forest next time. Or maybe someone can give me the hook up and I’ll continue to write articles no one will read 😛


  1. I went to Davis Theater in Lincoln Square to watch “Inception.” It’s old, small, and cheap. Only thing was the movie wasn’t in focus in the beginning and someone had to get up and go talk to get them to get it in focus.

    I also live very close to Portage Theater. They play classic films, B movies, and sometimes silent films with live organ.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s