Who Watches the Watchmen, and Where?
Doomsday nears and Watchmen approaches its midnight-hour premiere. Along with a group of friends, I’ll be going to see it tonight at the College 9 way up on North Atherton, dressed as my favorite character – I just hope theater management doesn’t mind that I’m hairless and blue. Oh, and also naked.
The thing is, though, if you don’t have a friend with a car, finding your way to one of State Colleges cineplexes can be a pain in your atomic blue ass (fortunately, I do have a friend – myself).
For those of you who remember (and to inform those of you who weren’t here yet), the Carmike’s Cinema 5 on Heister St. was conveniently located in downtown State College and provided the pinnacle in convenient movie-going experiences. A quick walk from campus and most downtown apartment buildings, it was a great way to go and spend a Friday night before hitting the bars – namely, the G-Man, right next door. Not only that, but Cinema 5 also boasted a set of brand-spanking new Texas Instruments DLP projectors, providing what basically amounted to a Hi-Def film experience the likes of which I’ve never seen, before or since.
Alas, Cinema 5 stands dark now, sold and gutted to make way for new Calder Way shops that have yet to be opened or even sold – my guess is the poor economy, as you’d have to be crazy to open a new business right now, but it could be anything really. The Cinema 5 may not have been the cleanest or most comfortable theater in the world, but it certainly wasn’t the worst by any stretch, and it was hands down the most convenient. It was something.
Now, we’re stuck with Premiere 12 out near Shiloh Road and College 9 on North Atherton, near Lowes Hardware. While these are fine theaters – clean, big, comfortable – they don’t provide the convenience that downtown Cinema 5 did. As for the DLP projectors, I’m pretty sure you can still find them at Carmike’s Cinema 6 (not to be confused with Cinema 5) which is located on 501 Benner Pike, out near the Nittany Mall. Like the Cinema 5, it’s not quite as clean or comfortable as the 12 or the 9 (these numbers, by the way, correspond to the number of screens), though I haven’t been there in quite some time. It’s also now a budget late-release theater, so it’s a great opportunity to get out and see some of those movies you missed a few months back – that is, if you can find a way out there.
Have no fear, though – the Borough says the new Fraser St. Center will house, along with office space, storefronts and apartments, a state-of-the-art movie theater in its lobby, but good luck not graduating before it’s finished. Previous completion dates have already come and gone.
Of course, there is always the State Theater, downtown on College Avenue. The biggest downfall of the State Theater, of course, is the fact that it is an actual performance theater – meaning it has to split its schedule with live acts and concerts, and only has one screen. However, the theater’s choice of films has been excellent since its opening almost two years ago and is a great place to see rarer, older, independent or otherwise “artsier” films. It’s also a gorgeous theater. Just don’t expect to see Watchmen there. Especially don’t expect to see Watchmen there if you plan on showing up blue and hairless. Oh, and naked.
Speaking of Watchmen, anybody seeing it tonight? You’ll find me (and just about everybody else in town) at the College 9 at midnight. Sorry, but no, I can’t give you a ride.