Wednesday, August 1, 2012

adventures in Brookings: the Brookings Cinema Five edition.

Once again, I’m going to use this blog to sing the praises of Brookings, South Dakota. I’ve already told you about all the fun my friends and I had in the local WalMart, the delicious burgers at Nick’s Hamburger Shop, and the great food/people watching to be found at the Summer Arts Festival. But, dear friends, there is so much more of Brookings left to cover. We’ll pick up on the Adventures in Brookings series with the Brookings Cinema Five.
It doesn't look like much, but it's got everything I need!
The Brookings Cinema Five is, as you may have judged from its title, a five-screen movie theatre. My mom actually worked at this particular theatre when she was in high school (she got to see Young Frankenstein and other gems for free during work hours: what a great job). 

Growing up, I only ever went to two movie theatres: Bryant and Brookings. The Bryant movie theatre was about the same distance from my house as the Brookings theatre, but Bryant was a whole lot cheaper. You had to wait an extra week or two (or three or four) for movies to get to Bryant, but it was always worth the wait. All five of my family members could go to a movie – AND get treats – for under twenty bucks. And believe it or not, I bet you could still take a family of five to the movies in Bryant for just a hair over twenty dollars. The Bryant theatre is a great little place.

As I got older (and got a driver’s license), I wanted to go to movies with my friends. Every now and again, we would go to a movie in Bryant (my friend Bob and I went to The Notebook in Bryant – for all the wrong reasons – but that’s a story for another time). Since most of my friends lived farther south than I did, it was more convenient to go to movies in Brookings. Most of the time, we were too cheap (and broke) to go to the evening shows, so we would plan entire days around afternoon matiness. During the school year, the Brookings theatre had matinees on weekends and every day during winter break. Summer was the best, though – three matinees per movie, every single day.
We didn't mind if we missed the matinees, though -
Sex and the City seemed like it would be best viewed at night.
Bob and Sarah were generally my movie-going partners. I wish I would’ve kept track of how many movies we saw during the summers, weekends, and Christmas breaks of 2004 and 2005. We saw the good (Mean Girls), the bad (The Village), and the ugly (Snakes on a Plane).
Since our summers were spent working menial jobs with unpredictable schedules, we usually found ourselves with some weird day off like Tuesday. We’d have the run of the theatre, and it was great. That way, we could comment obnoxiously on the movie at hand, and there would be no one in the theatre to scowl at us.

We would plan entire days around matinees in Brookings. We’d arrive in Brookings in the early afternoon and proceed to waste time (WalMart) until the movie began. Our showtime of choice was usually the 4.30 – 5.45 matinee range: it was the last matinee showing of the day, and we’d get out of the movie just in time for supper. Then, we’d go somewhere classy (Applebee’s) and hash over the movie we’d just seen. We’d head back to Arlington, stop for an ice cream cone at the Dairy Mart, and plan do to the whole thing over the next day.

Whenever the three of us went to movies, we always had a pattern. We’d barely get there on time (we always told ourselves that THIS TIME we would get there in time to see the movie trivia before the previews, but we never managed to make it), and Bob would buy a giant thing of popcorn that he’d never finish. I would be in charge of napkins (and would always take way too many), but before we’d head in, we’d have to scout around the theatre for our favorite employee. His name was Trifon, and we loved him (mostly because his name was Trifon). Once we determined whether or not Trifon was working, we would finally head into the theatre. We then had to find the perfect seats, whine about the sticky floor, and spy on the people around us.

Every once in a while our work schedules would ruin everything, and we would be forced to fork over the extra cash for an evening show. We couldn’t make an entire day of it like we would’ve with a matinee, but things certainly could’ve been worse.

The Brookings Cinema Five, like all good theatres, had midnight showings of the big-ticket movies, like the Harry Potter series. My friends and I never took advantage of these midnight showings, mostly because none of us were confident in our abilities to stay awake for the drive home. I’ve been to midnight showings in Minneapolis and Sioux Falls, but that’s because home was no more than ten minutes away (and I didn’t have to watch for deer).

Most of the time, the movies I went to see had been in the theatre for a fair amount of time already. This was the case for two reasons: 1.) I was usually too lazy and/or scatterbrained to see it right away, and 2.) waiting an extra few days made the theatres a lot less crowded, and therefore chances were slim that you’d get a big beefy guy sitting right in front of you. Case in point: during a movie viewing not so terribly long ago, Bob, Sarah, and I smelled something horrible. It was this huge, sweaty couple sitting right in front of us, and the stench enough to make your eyes water. I don’t remember what movie it was, but if we had waited another week, we could’ve easily gotten up and sat somewhere less smelly. As it was, there was nowhere else to sit, and we had to breathe through our mouths for the duration of the film.

 Every once in a great while, impatience would necessitate that I go to a movie on opening weekend. I only did this for really important movies, like the final Lord of the Rings movie (which I may or may not have gone to by myself, but it was totally worth it). My brother, sister, and I decided to go to The Dark Knight on opening day, on a whim. We got to the Brookings theatre in time to buy their last three seats. Darrah and I sat next to each other, and Mitch had to sit in front of us. That was the first and only time I’ve seen a full house at the Brookings Cinema Five, but what did I expect? No one can resist a good Batman movie.
Thumbs down because Heath Ledger died.
As much as I love the place, it’s becoming more difficult to see a movie at the Brookings Cinema Five. Sioux Falls has some delightful theatres of its own, so if I want to see a matinee, I can do it right here. The Brookings theatre will always hold a special place in my heart: from endlessly mocking the characters in I, Robot to pretending that I have something in my eye when Uncle Ben dies in Spider-Man, the Brookings Cinema Five is chock full of goofy – yet delightful – memories. Every time I drive by that theatre, I can’t help but smile… and wonder what on earth became of Trifon.

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