Pop Rocks

Pop Rocks: In Defense of the AMC 30

In case you were confused, "AMC 30" doesn't refer to a group of defendants in the grisly Appalachian Mountain Club murders, but rather our own multiplex out on Dunvale between Richmond and Westheimer. In case you hadn't heard, it won "Best Theater" in the Houston Press Best of Houston® 2012 edition:

Being bigger isn't enough when it comes to movie theaters. Having 30 screens won't do you much good if those 30 screens are filled with lame films. That's where AMC Studio 30 beats out the competition to take this year's Best Movie Theater award. It's not only big, it has exciting, exceptional programming. The complex is home to the annual WorldFest International Independent Film Festival, a ten-day festival of cutting-edge releases made by the best up-and-coming filmmakers from around the globe, with most of the directors and actors attending the screenings.

Needless to say, not everyone has agreed with the choice. Comments on the entry demonstrate a considerable amount of dissatisfaction, which at first blush might seem valid. After all, Houston boasts an Alamo Drafthouse (with another on the way), a Sundance Cinema, and the Landmark River Oaks, any of which would seem to be worthy competitors. But then, there are several valid reasons why everyone's favorite SW Houston haunt might be a legitimate contender as well.

Snack Access, or "Snackcess," If You Will The folks at the AMC 30 know concession prices are somewhere between "ridiculous" and "blood diamond," that's why they built a damn theater right next to a Sam's Club and Wal-Mart. I know, I know: theater policy says "no outside food or beverages." *Wink*. We live in a time when ladies have purses the size of saddlebags, and nobody will bat an eyelash if you decide to smuggle in a few bags of bulk Milk Duds under your shirt. They'll just assume you're part of Houston's ever-growing (heh) obese population.

Nostalgia For Days Gone By One Tweet I read concerning the AMC 30's win referenced the pervasive urine smell. Like this is a bad thing. Fine, nobody (well, most of us) don't like the smell of #1, but don't think about it from a public health perspective, take it as a loving homage to that bygone era of pre-Giuliani New York porno theaters.

WorldFest! Hey, did you know WorldFest discovered Spielberg, Lucas, Ridley Scott, and the Coen Brothers? Because they'll remind the hell out of you. Anyway, there's certainly no better showcase for Houston's film community than a poorly accessible venue in a borderline neighborhood ten miles from downtown and almost that far from any decent hotels.

You Can Get Drunk There, Too Oh sure, you can order drinks while you're watching a movie at the Alamo or Studio Movie Grill, but none of these places boasts something called MacGuffin's Bar and Lounge, which looks like someone took the mobile liquor cart from P.C.U. and plopped it down in the lobby. And really, who needs sit-down booze access when you can walk around with your beverage like a common transient?

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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar