The Return of Theater Review – A Trip to Old Beaucatcher

Well, I haven’t done a theater review lately – mostly because I haven’t been to any new theaters in quite some time. This weekend, my eldest daughter and I had a day out. We did a lot of shopping and had lunch at the delicious and fiery Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack.

The one movie she wanted to see was The Hunger Games – Mockingjay. Unfortunately it had left all of our usual theaters (Epic, Carolina, and Biltmore Grande) so we had to venture to the mall (ugh) and catch it at Regal’s Beaucatcher 7.

Beaucatcher

The Beaucatcher is a rather haphazard, older theater that shows a lot of signs of having been retrofitted several times over the decades without receiving a complete overhaul. While I enjoyed our time at the movies, it really reminded me of how I take modern movie magic for granted.

Beaucatcher

 

The most obvious retrofit were a couple of little metal ramps for wheelchairs (necessary because of the slanted floor). Today’s seating seems much more friendly, working wheelchair spots next to other seats so families can sit together. Here you would be all by your lonesome in a chair.

The other modern conveniences that the theater had were cupholders on the armrests. Remember how terrible it was before these became ubiquitous. You either had to put your cup on the floor between sips or hold the cold, wet cup in your hand for two hours. I know it’s silly but honestly one of the things we look at when we have to shop for a car is proper cupholders.

Beaucatcher

Unfortunately, the cupholders were all that was new about the chairs. The seats had no give in the back and the cushions had almost no give when you sat down. Once again I had taken for granted comfortable seating at the theater. It’s okay if your seats aren’t the best if you are a second run theater but Beaucatcher is first-run and charges $7.75 for a matinee ticket. The only good thing about their seating was that it is a little wider than modern seating.

As you can see, there is a ridiculous amount of space and there is enough room to move your legs a bit without kicking the seats in front of you (yay!). Even the front row has a good view without having to crane your neck, due to the enormous space in front of the screen. This is perhaps a holdover from when kids would sit in front of the rows but perhaps this design goes back even further to when musicians would play in front of the screen.

With all of the extra floorspace, the screen seems tiny though that is alleviated somewhat when the houselights dim. The speakers only appeared to work in front of the screen. I’m not sure whether they didn’t have any rear speakers or simply weren’t using them but it was disconcerting.

All of this just strikes me as to how spoiled I am. The staff were friendly and helpful. The building is marked United Artists but it is owned and run by Regal. They have giant bathrooms in the lobby (again hinting at a retrofit) and smaller, pocket bathrooms further in. I would certainly go back to Beaucatcher but only if I was unable to spoil myself at my favorites.

“A bad day at the movies is better than a good day at work” – Kevin Smith

A Little Local Theater Frustration

This is going to be an absolutely whiny post so feel free to skip past. My favorite local theater is Carolina Cinemas. They have a great combination of mainstream and arthouse films, fantastic food, good customer service.

Lately though I haven’t had a clear cut winner. This is a shame as I go to a ton of movies during the summer. I would love to have a theater that had all the things I look for.

Epic Cinemas

EPIC: My closest theater is great as it is only fifteen minutes away. They have nice screens and sound systems. Their prepared food is almost exclusively microwaved and they have the world’s worst pretzels. They often have nice promotional plastic cups. They accept DealFlicks but not Fandango and have a $6 Tuesday special (Sony and Warner excluded).

Carolina Cinemas

CAROLINA: Their screens and sound are quite good but just a touch below Regal and Epic. Their fresh, locally sourced food is a mixed bag but even a mixed bag easily beats the microwaved food of the other two. Soda refills are FREE for all sizes and are located outside the counter. They are about to accept Dealflicks but do not accept Fandango and they have a $5 Wednesday promotion (Sony excluded).

Regal Cinemas

REGAL: State of the art stadium theater seating equals Epic. Their upcharged RPX theater is the best in the area. The upcharge is annoying but also means that it is less crowded. They also have the only Coke Icee available. They accept Fandango but not DealFlicks. They also have a children’s movie program in summer where the other two do not.