At Screenland, campy and classic are rarely mutually exclusive terms. The movie theater serves as a cinematic time machine, transporting spectators through the history of Hitchcock's mysteries and straight into the heyday of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Though it also shows current titles, its schedule is often beholden to audience whims—the Crossroads location hosts new independent films that are uniquely screened at this sole location. This dual devotion to cherished and modern flicks helped Screenland earn the 2012 Readers' Choice award for Best Movie Theater from the Pitch.
Even outside the projection room, nostalgia rules. More than 40 games, from Donkey Kong to Missile Command, test dexterity at the Crossroads location's retro arcade, where guests can purchase passes to play indefinitely or until Frogger finally flags down a cab. Photographs taken by former Kansas City mayor Dick Berkley accompany historical trivia in the adjacent gallery, and celebrity handprints mark the outdoor patio. Greeting cinephiles out front is a marquee salvaged from the Isis Theatre, just as it once greeted a young Walt Disney when he shared his early animations there.
Wedding receptions and corporate meetings alike have taken advantage of the theater's capacity for private functions. At both exclusive and public events, however, a full-service bar supplies guests with libations, cracking open bottles of Boulevard Pale Ale and Tallgrass Velvet Rooster.
The Moxie is a central hub for independent and classic cinema, specializing in celluloid of the funky, offbeat, and arty distinctions. The diverse film list includes thought-provoking flicks that span the genres and ages, with everything from Rubber—a recently screened modern flick about a villainous tire—to vintage film noirs such as Humphrey Bogart's The Big Sleep (showing Saturday, May 14), to the all-penguin remake of Citizen Kane (tickets up to an $8 value each). The deal’s combo package also delivers cinematic sustenance via two fountain soft drinks (a $3.50 value each) and two popcorns (a $3.25 value each) from the theater’s cinebar. Though most theaters use popcorn to meet the state-mandated liquid-butter minimum, the Moxie elevates kernel-cooking to an art worthy of its film selection, topping morsels with 13 distinct flavors, including barbecue, ranch, jalapeño, and apple cinnamon.
Andy Williams designed his Moon River Theater to echo the beauty of the surrounding Ozark Mountains. The façade sits amid 16 acres of foliage, rock formations, and waterfalls to not only enhance live performances with a sense of natural discovery, but also to speak to conservation. In 1992, the state of Missouri recognized the venue's environmental efforts by granting it the Conservation Award for Developed Land Use. And that sense of conservation seeps into the theater's three lobbies as well. Koi swim through ponds, flora creeps toward the ceiling, art and performance pictures from Andy's private collection grace the walls, and wild rams hold head-butting matches in the restroom.
In its nine years as a professional theater company, the Maples Repertory Theatre has expanded its production schedule from three to six full-scale shows, as well as staging occasional cabaret concerts. "No one really expects a town the size of Macon to support professional theatre," says Artistic Director Todd Davison. "We are proving that great theatre is valued by people even if they don't live in a metropolitan area." The company produces its shows at the historic Royal Theatre, named because of the moat that once encircled the VIP seats. Built in 1889, the intimate, 400-seat venue was originally an opera house and underwent an extensive renovation in the 1990s.
Since its origins as a converted parking garage, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema has ushered film-lovers of all breeds into its auditoriums, even gaining a following among Hollywood legends; Quentin Tarantino has been known to host five-day movie marathons at Alamo. The theater has earned that reputation by making moviegoing a personal experience, from the menu of handcrafted snacks and locally brewed beer to the completely ad-free presentations before shows. A long table stretches in front of every row of seats, enabling servers to unobtrusively pick up written food and drink orders throughout each screening. The staff enforces a strict no-talking, no-texting policy by kicking out any offenders, falling just short of yanking them from their seats with a giant's shepherd's crook.
Both first-run blockbusters and classics are projected onto Alamo's silver screens in crisp 35-millimeter or digital format. Meanwhile, surround speakers immerse audiences in the cinematic soundscape, whether they're seated in one of the expansive theaters afforded to blockbuster reels or the more intimate spaces reserved for indie films wound around tiny bobbins. Despite Alamo's vow of silence, fan-centric Quote-Along and Sing-Along nights encourage guests to shout their favorite lines, and actors, directors, and other celebrities often attend special screenings to lead in-depth discussions. These exclusive events have led to acclaim for Alamo from publications such as Entertainment Weekly, which called it “one of America's most fanatically unique moviegoing experiences,” and Wired, which opined that it "might just be the coolest movie theater in the world."
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