Wednesday, October 3, 2012

An Old Friend Has Had Some Work Done

The Uptown is back; blocked, buffed, and beautiful…

When Cassie and I went to see The Perks of Being a Wallflower last week we were excited to visit the recently remodeled Landmark Uptown.  When it comes to old school movie theaters the Uptown is an urban classic.  As with many classic venues, while it was long on character, it was also short on comfort.

Back in its art house days I spent many an evening huddled in the dark watching obscure movies from its cramped and creaky seats.  Even men got to experience the discomfort of standing in line waiting to use the tiny, out of the way, restrooms.  Yes, the Uptown was a classic, but like a Greek ruin it was worn out, ragged, and scruffy looking.  And that was in the 1980s…

The decades that followed were not kind to the Uptown.  In the 21st century we went there with our family and friends only when it was the sole Twin Cities theater where a movie in limited release could be seen.  The seats had degraded from cramped and creaky to damaged, if not dangerous.

Gratefully, Swervo Development Corporation, the new owner of the Uptown, decided to give it a long deferred facelift.  The six-month, $2million project was completed in September.  I’m pleased to report that MacDonald& Mack Architects preserved and refreshed the art deco styling of the 1939 structure while lavishly enhancing the creature comforts.  The remodeled Uptown features:

  • An even larger screen  
  • 4K digital projection
  • Seriously posh leather seats
  • Reserved seating
  • Sofas for two in the balcony
  • A second floor lounge featuring adult beverages
  • The latest in gourmet concessions

All these luxurious appointments come at a price. Landmark has increased the ticket price from $9.00 to $10.00.  That's the same fee charged by many soulless multi-megaplex theaters, none of which provide a movie-going experience anything like that offered at the new Uptown.

I Remember It Being That Bad

But was it ever that good?

Daughter Cassandra picked the movie this week and she knocked it out of the park!

The Perks of Being a Wallflower joins the ranks of young adult coming of age stories that reminds us how joyous - and how horrible - it was to be a teenager.  It compares quite favorably with (listed alphabetically so as not show any favoritism):

The movie was directed by Stephen Chbosky, who adapted the screenplay from his 1999 best-selling novel of the same name. Gentle, funny, awkward, and sad, it creates a palpable sense of longing for love, recognition, and inclusion.  Perks was set in the 1990s but contains samples of all the indescribable pain and wondrous joy I remember from my teenage years many decades earlier.

Emma Watson, who grew up playing Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter series, confirms that she is a skilled actor.  She wouldn’t have to be, but she is.  I haven’t seen her costars before, but Logan Lerman and Ezra Miller likewise did an impressive job with some difficult material.

Kids have forever wanted to escape their teenage years to finally become adults.

As adults we yearn our whole lives for what we left behind.