Experiencing the Alamo

On Saturday, the date I had been finally waiting for had arrived. After many articles and a hardhat tour, the Alamo Drafthouse in Yonkers had finally opened.

I decided to take advantage of the Alamo’s two day staff training days when I heard they were offering 50 percent off food and drink and knew I had to go opening day. Fun fact: I was also at the opening day for the Jacob Burns Film Center in 2001. I see too many movies.

As I headed down the Sprain, I was a little nervous. I had hyped up this theater like Star Wars fans hyped Phantom Menace or I hyped up the Billy Crystal-Robin Williams movie Father’s Day… and we know how that turned out. What if…it was just any other theater?

I picked 2 Guns, figuring it was the perfect way to get into the Alamo feel by seeing a generic action movie. The movie itself didn’t disappoint. Denzel Washington did his laugh followed by a cocky grin, Mark Wahlberg made his confused face when things didn’t go his way and Paula Patton got naked. Win-win-win.

The Alamo has become famous for its no texting and talking policy and it was on full display here. There were at least 3 videos warning us to not do it, including one by Simon Pegg. Again, I think it’s sad a movie theater is applauded for this, since it should be common knowledge but kudos to the Alamo.

The preshows before the movie are interesting, and I can’t imagine what goes into every pre-show. Can I have this job? This could be my cover letter. I saw “Act of Killing”, about the Indonesian genocide, on Monday and the preshow was an informative look at the movie and Indonesian history. I actually learned something before I saw the movie. I don’t remember anything about the 2 Guns preshow, except for a kid rapping about Denzel Washington.

There were some hiccups on Saturday in terms of service, with it taking a little too long to get my order and bring the food. But this was everyone’s first day and it was staff training weekend for a reason. My first day at Westfair, I couldn’t figure out how the hand dryer worked.

The food itself was very good. On Saturday, I had buffalo wings, a hamburger w/fried egg and a chocolate and peanut butter milkshake. On Sunday, I called my cardiologist.

I learned that fried eggs should top anything, because it was so good. If they could put that on the wings too….? The milkshake was very good. The menu looked simple, and there are some other items I need to try. The prices are little expensive, but I’m also the same person who guesses too low on The Price is Right, so this could be me being cheap. $12 for a ticket plus food means the bill does add up, especially when you like to eat like me.

The reserved seating…oh my God. Every theater should have this. I’m particular about where I sit. Knowing every time I’ll get my back aisle seat? That’s comforting and allows me to sleep at night.

On Monday, I came back for the grand opening ceremony where founder and CEO Tim League said he had more proclamations from Westchester than anywhere else. So if nothing else, we’re really polite. I settled into see “The Act of Killing” and I imagined this conversation:

Usher #1: Dude, that guy who saw “2 Guns” is back. The one that ordered the wings, the burger and the shake.
Usher #2: Awww man and I have bathroom duty again?

Service was much improved on Monday, and this time I mixed things up a bit: I had a burger with an egg and a chocolate chip milkshake.

Two things:

1) Having two milkshakes in three days is not recommended for anyone. I need a cleansing.
2) There’s something uncomfortable about watching a movie about Indonesian genocide while scarfing down a burger and a shake.

I enjoyed my two trips to Alamo, and I think you will too. I don’t know if it’s a place I’ll go all the time due to convenience and cost, but I will be constantly checking out their calendar and repertory programing.

Notice to all ushers: The next time I’m coming is when they screen “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.” You might want off that night.

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is now open at 2548 Central Park Ave, Yonkers. For more, visit drafthouse.com.

– Sam Barron

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