Thursday, June 02, 2016

100 Years of the Landmark Uptown

Over the next week, the Landmark Uptown theater, an icon of the Minneapolis landscape and one of my personal meccas as a longtime resident of the Twin Cities who has a penchant for the movies, will celebrate its 100th anniversary.  It's hard to imagine that 100 years ago a movie theater stood in Minneapolis, still a relatively young city, just a few years after the advent of the movies in general, and yet has still survived today.  I wanted to make sure and honor the theater in some way on the blog, so I figured the best way to do this would be to recount five of my favorite memories through the years at the theater (these, it should be recalled, are my favorite memories in the theaters, not necessarily the best movies I've seen there).

1. Milk on Opening Night

Still my favorite night, ever, in a movie theater.  I went to the film early, hoping to catch one of the biggest Oscar movies of the season before a trip to see my family (I knew my brother would want a full verdict on one of the big AMPAS movies that year).  It was an incredible experience-a theater full of gay men, energized and moved by what was happening in Gus van Sant's picture.  Not only were there cheers in the audience when it was announced that Minneapolis would be the first city to ban workplace discrimination against gay and lesbian people, people actually got up and applauded (the film also got a standing ovation at the end of the film).  It's worth noting that this was in the specter of Proposition 8 and Minnesota has several key moments in the film, but sitting near the front of a packed theater with this much energy-it was truly movie magic.

2. Academy Award Short Films

The short films used to be in the Lagoon, but in recent years have come to be in the Uptown, and I see them all each year, so this is definitely something I'm thankful for in the theater.  It's hard to pinpoint a favorite one, though I'd probably go with the above short, if only because my mom couldn't stop laughing during it (it's also one of the many movie traditions I have with my parents-our annual trip to see the animated short films at the Uptown).

3. Seating Arrangements at The Invisible Woman

Okay, even Felicity Jones probably doesn't remember this movie, but I recall vividly that this was my first trip to the Uptown where I sat in the balcony (I'm almost always a floor-seat person) after the renovations, but a friend of mine wanted to sit upstairs since she'd never been there before, so we pick the seats, and not only are we one of the only couples not upstairs clearly "on a date," but we accidentally picked one of the theaters' love seat chairs.  For the entire first ten minutes of the movie, a somber onscreen affair, we could not stop giggling to each other.

4. In F@#%ing Bruges

My best friend from college and I initially bonded over his desire to learn more about movies, and my desire to watch movies with him.  One of the best times we ever had at the movies was while watching this Colin Farrell comedy, which repeatedly and profanely disparaged the Belgian city.  For weeks after this we couldn't get through a conversation without randomly saying "fucking Bruges" to a series of mass laughter.  Perhaps the balcony is the best place to get the humor out of Uptown movies, as I also saw this upstairs since he hadn't been before.

5. Wild Tales Second Date

I always know that I like a guy when I propose we go to one of the Landmark theaters for a date, as it's about as close to home for me as anything in the Twin Cities.  I distinctly remember really liking the guy I went to Wild Tales with but I wasn't sure if he liked me back.  About twenty minutes into the movie, he whispers over to me and said, "this movie's awesome-I'm having a great time" with a smile.  Needless to say I got another date (and a kiss in the parking lot) afterwards.

Those are my favorite memories of the Landmark Uptown-what are yours?  Share in the comments and make sure and celebrate by visiting soon if you're in the Minneapolis area!

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