Ruibal column: Glenwood Springs needs a movie theater
March 13, 2018
Comedian Dane Cook has a bit all about going to the movies that opens with, "I love the movies. I don't even call them the movies, I call them cinematic adventures."
When I first moved to Glenwood Springs, my main weekend plans consisted of driving to Bow Tie Movieland in El Jebel for a cinematic adventure. Back in Ohio, my college roommate Maggie and I would go to the movies nearly every weekend. Theaters there had plush leather loveseats and the Coke machines with dozens of soda flavors. Here in Colorado, I would buy a single matinee ticket, medium popcorn and small Diet Coke. One time, a woman took pity on me being alone and invited me to her birthday party afterward. But it wasn't lonely for me. It was an escape.
The movie theaters in the area are the aforementioned Movieland, the Crystal Theatre in Carbondale and the Brendan Theater in Rifle. There should be a fourth — one in Glenwood Springs itself.
A movie theater would be a good a draw for locals and visitors alike, especially on ski days with little powder or hiking days foiled by rain. The current theaters do have great selection, but it's not enough quantity or close enough to home.
Taking the recent Oscars as a case study, Best Picture nominated film "Call Me By Your Name" did not show locally until two weeks after its Jan. 19 release date, and only at Movieland, according to archived copies of the Post Independent. Movieland had a few daily showings of "Call Me By Your Name" the week of Feb. 2, but it went down to once per day the next week before being taken off the lineup.
"Get Out" was also nominated for Best Picture and did win Best Writing. It was shown at both Rifle and Movieland during its first week at the box office. But when looking at movie listings that week, another caught my eye. "Moonlight," winner of the 2017 Academy Award for Best Picture, was being shown, nine months after it's release date. Going back through archives, "Moonlight" was not shown at any of the theaters in the first three weeks of its initial release.
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There is reason behind the movies I'm focusing on. "Get Out" is a thriller about a black man discovering his white girlfriend's family's racist secret. "Moonlight" is a coming of age story of a gay black man. "Call Me By Your Name," which won Best Adapted Screenplay, is another coming of age/coming out story. The point isn't that the only movies worth seeing are ones of minorities, or that movies focusing on minorities are automatically good and worthy of consumption, but that movies are a way to learn about others. And when one has to drive upwards of an hour to see such a movie for the brief window it's offered, it's not helping broaden social understanding.
"I stopped writing this movie about 20 times because I thought it was impossible," said Jordan Peele, writer and director of "Get Out," during his Oscar acceptance speech. "I thought it wasn't gonna work, I thought no one would ever make this movie, but I kept coming back to it because I knew if someone let me make this movie, then people would hear it and people would see it."
Movies are movies. But they are also cinematic adventures. They make us think about other perspectives, other stories, other worlds we have never known. Whether telling a slice of life or intergalactic battles of good and evil or boxing triumphs or car chases or cheesy romantic mishaps, movies are a form of escape. We deserve to have more of that here.
Sallee Ann Ruibal is engagement editor for the Post Independent.