Greetings sports fans and welcome back once again for another action-packed episode of Vegas Valley Sports Beat that pretentious little column that has a fine bouquet, fruity flavor, and just a hint of nuttiness that goes well with any Las Vegas buffet or all you can eat pancake special. Speaking of which, the sun is shining, there is hardly a cloud in the sky, and it is the third day of August so it’s likely to be hot in the Las Vegas Valley today which means it is a great day to stay indoors. If you must venture out into the blazing rays keep in mind the need to stay hydrated and your skin covered so as not to invite melanoma to over complicate your life when you’re in your 70s
And where better to stay hydrated and out of the searing summertime sunshine than in a comfy theater seat at your favorite local movie theater for the Saturday afternoon matinee? Instead of slathering SPF 175 all over yourself you could be having the snack bar dude or dudette, slathering a quart of 40 weight salted butter on a $20.00 bucket of popcorn and chill out with an $8.00 slushie drink that’s mostly shaved ice. Quality entertainment is anything but cheap but at least matinee ticket prices leave you with a little more money to spend on $10.00 Snow Mints or Bon-Bons.
In honor of my being selected as a film festival judge, yesterday let us turn our attention to what is good at the movies today. Whether you are planning to visit Las Vegas or are stuck here, I mean living here like the rest of us, Las Vegas has some of the best walk-in movie theaters in the world conveniently located in a number of its casinos such as the Regal at Red Rock, Boulder Station Casino, South Point, and The Palms just to name a few. Each one of those links goes to their respective box offices for movies, tickets, and times.
When I was a kid in elementary school my father would take us kids to the Fox Theater in Ventura most weekends to see the newest John Wayne, or Clint Eastwood western, or the latest Planet Of The Apes movie. I loved the old place with its red velvet drapes and tapestries all over the place and finding the balcony seats open was always cool because most of the time it was roped off. You had to go up a wide marble staircase to get to the restrooms and they had an old vending machine in the men’s bathroom that sold combs, shaving lotion, and other sundries. It even had a few simple magic tricks for kids but I never had money to buy one of them because I was 5 and between jobs.
When my two brothers and I got closer to being teenagers we often got to go to the new Fox Theater in Oxnard by ourselves for the Saturday matinee to see such future classics as Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, or Earthquake in the brand new Dolby Surround Sound that shook the entire theater whenever a quake would hit. It scared my little brother so bad coming as it did on the heels of the devastating earthquake that hit LA in 1971 that every time the seats began to tremble all we saw of him was the swinging door at the top of the main aisle swinging in the breeze trailing behind him.
Long gone are the good old days of the drive-in movie theater but those days may come back in style someday soon. Who knows what nostalgia may come back to life as we go roaring headlong towards the return of the Roaring ’20s which brought us the golden age of film making in the first place? Or something like that. But I digress.
Movies are, whether one realizes it or not, a large part of who and what we are. They color our dress, our speech, our mannerisms in general, and most importantly our way of thinking critically. Movies transport us to worlds we might not otherwise ever see or experience for ourselves, and open one’s mind to new cultures and ideas. Not to mention that it is a great way to unwind and forget the troubles of the day if only for a couple of hours a week.
Of course, that 5-gallon tub of popcorn and quart of salted-butter, and a half-gallon sized Slushie is going to effectively negate any potential physical health benefits one might expect to see from a restful afternoon in front of a 40-foot IMAX screen watching a good movie with your family, a special friend, or alone. Still, the mental health aspects of this, which directly affects the physical self, more than makes up for it in the end.