A Lincoln Theater Experience

I confess, I did something terribly cheesy. A few weeks ago, I went to see the movie Lincoln in the small, quaint town of Lincoln. Yep, it’s true. Even though we live within proximity of 4 or 5 different movie megaplexes, the wife and I trekked 40 minutes to a town off the beaten path.

I don’t get out to very many movies these days. I actually despise going to the movies. I spent a couple of years in high school working at a Mom ‘n Pop movie store, I have seen countless movies in my day, and am still very entertained by movies themselves… but something about the movie going experience in the recent decade has really grinded my gears. Maybe I’m the only 30-year-old curmudgeon that thinks this way… I don’t know.

To me it is such a beating to pull up to the sea of parking (best spots available taken of course), end up parking in the next county, and  then schlep up to these multi-screen monstrosities. Then you are forced to wind your way through a maze like a lab rat to buy your ticket. At the end, you are greeted with a stiff surcharge of anywhere between $8-10. If you are frugal you’ve already brought your own candy, but in the instance you’ve come unprepared not bearing pocketfuls of Twizzlers and Milk Duds like a candy mule, brace yourself for another $9 to leave your wallet. Next thing you know, a date for two at the movies has become more expensive than going to a nice steakhouse.

Lincoln 4 Theater

But I digress… Lincoln is a sleepy town of 14,509, set amidst cornfields, and still has their downtown theater intact. It somehow has missed the wrecking ball that has demolished so many downtown theaters. It is in a way a piece of nostalgia, but in another – exactly what should be.

The Lincoln 4 Theater (yup only 4 screens!) was a pleasant treat. No, it’s not going to blow you away with its incredible modern motif, but that doesn’t detract from the experience. In this case, it added an extra dimension to the film we came to see. For a movie that was depicting life in 1865, this setting was able to convey the simplicity to make the movie more tangible. The cost of admission was reasonably priced, even though the watered down big gulp wasn’t.

As a card-carrying resident of Illinois, it is one’s obligation to indulge any and everything Abraham Lincoln. The movie wasn’t supposed to be released in podunk Lincoln, Illinois, but wouldn’t that be sacrilegious? For a town that was named after the man before he became President, it only seems right. Nonetheless, it was something of an ordeal for them to actually be showing a film of this magnitude so early on. The blue hairs were a buzz by this 2pm weekend release, and the 125 seat theater was packed.

Lincoln, the movie, was one of the best I have seen in a long time. Rarely am I ever left thinking, “Wow, that was one of the best acted movies I have ever seen!” It was. Certainly over my head in a few scenes, however, as a whole it made you actually believe that Daniel Day-Lewis was in fact Lincoln. We all know how it ends, so you prepare yourself for it although it gets you every time. After 147 years, people still end up teary-eyed and getting emotional. It says something about the man in real life, but also as portrayed in this very real historical drama. Spielberg, you’ve done it again.

I miss downtown theaters as much as the next guy – this made it even more evident. They add to the mix of vibrancy, and really cement theirselves into the fabric of a community by being located downtown. The movie was great, but the experience itself is what made the day.

Lincoln: 5 out of 5 Stars


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