Sometimes I cannot contain my excitement, my joy, and my sense of wonder about the place I live in -- South Florida
And thanks to Sundries
, this blog of mine, I have been able to escort you around more tangible locales of my haunts and lurks, than those located in my sidebar.
I have a SPECIAL, deeply reverent love of cinema, whose picture palaces of yesteryear, I consider to be almost holy.
But as I have said, Florida
is a young State in this young Union.
Its youthful buoyancy may strike some as lacking some of that much-needed grit which only true ancientness can bestow on buildings -- structures you know have been there forever, and like a fond lover, you forgive the sags and blemishes of age.
But I personally love the brand-spanking new, perhaps a rebellious pose of the girl from that mediaeval wonder, Oxford
The following travellogue is a tribute to the finest moviehouse I know, which has the kind of professional luxuriousness that can only exist in America.
Oh, there are multiplexes all over the world which may rival it in beauty.
But I dare one of you to compare the pampering it offers to its customer, to anything you have near you.
There's a reason The Muvico Palace
is very well named.THE MUVICO PALACE 20 -- THE PREMIER
The Muvico Palace is located in Boca Raton
, Florida, home to every little old, well-to-do Jewish man and woman on earth. In fact, when you land in Ben Gurion Airport, there's a sign there that says, "We're all meeting at Irv's in Boca
When this influx of elderly Jewish people arrived in Boca, after South Beach was no longer inhabitable because Ingrid Caseres didn't have a kosher lounge at Liquid, they needed a place to hang out, and watch a flick.
Thus was born Hamid Hashemi's
Muvico empire -- oh irony of ironies, this Iranian immigrant who done good, so good, he was buttah.
Knowing his clientele from the area, which include the gratin from Palm Beach, he built this multiplex, with the specific intent to create the ultimate civilised moviegoing experience, perhaps in the world. Or at least, Schenectady.
When you approach it, from I-95, you are struck again by the fact that almost everything in Florida is designed to look like either a:1- Golf Course
2- Country Club
3- Hotel Spa and Resort
And boy, did we hit the motherlode with the Muvico Palace 20.
Our journey has many detours, young grasshopper.
And our first, is to explain to you that the Muvico Palace is actually two very different moviehouses, in one.
There's the Muvico Palace downstairs, which is plenty great, and fine on its own.
And then there's the hidden jewel, The Premier
. Its purpose? To give you the most exclusive theatre-going experience in your life.
See these two Q-tips
lining up outside the Palace Box Office, their bouffant hairdos and trusses going limp in the Florida humidity?
If you decide to plump down for the Premier instead, you'll never have to brave another 99F queue again.
But hang on a minute. Since we're here, let's check out the regular Muvico Palace proper.
With gas prices this high, we might as bleedin' well.
This moviehouse has the Egyptian grandiosity of size of the Muvico Paradise
, but its decor more than reminds one of the Muvico Parisian
, located not 20 miles away in West Palm Beach.
I really miss King Tut in the foyer, though.
The pizza here is also $6.50, but at least they serve it, and TCBY yoghurt, which I love.
And for those of you without sufficient funds to pay for the Number 4 jumbo-combo, you'll be happy to know there's a pawn shop nearby called the Happy Hocker
No. I'm not kidding.
Sneak peak! This is a copy of the Premier seats we'll be sitting in, a little later on.
This is the loveseat, which is perfect for make-out sessions (not that I would know that...YET). The individual seat is far roomier, if you can believe that.
One lady, who passed by it as I took the pic, told her husband with that pleading tone women have around Christmas or garage sales, "Oh look, there's the seat they have upstairs. Can't we go one day?
To which the harried hubby replied, "No.
Husband 1, Wifey 0.
You know from the other Muvicos I have shown you, that this chain offers an amenity I think is pure genius: a nanny service
for those families who can't afford a babysitter all the live-long time.
And what's more, it's FREE. Look for yourselves what it offers your young'un.
And the kids are all shapes, sizes, races, faces, and socio-economic levels, so that will please even the snooty progressive who wants his kid to mingle with the oppressed hoi-polloi
, but doesn't want to risk lice en route to Yale.
I can't get over how clean, safe, and above-all fun this moviehouse romper room looks.
I'm not a parent, unless you count chihuahuas, but I'd trust my kid to be safe in this Playhouse -- wouldn't you with yours?
Dude, they have Legos. 'Nuff said.
But speaking of the huddled masses, yearning to watch Tom Cruise
bomb in Mission Impossible III, it's time we were on our true way -- to the Premier section of the Muvico Palace.
The Box Office has its own air-conditioned entrance, giving you the immediate impression that hey, this is a special kind of place, for a special kind of moviegoer.
You. Me. We.
From its teak-panelled walls, to its too tastefully attired attendants (in coats and ties, like sniffy bankers), the Box Office immediately sets the tone that will follow.
Of course, this tone becomes a screech the moment you plunk down the $18 dollars
needed for one ticket.
See, it's 9 dollars for an adult ticket downstairs, and 9 dollars for the privilege of being upstairs...since you MUST be over 21 to enter the Premier
-- trust me, they card you, especially if you're Jenna Bush.
Yeah, 18 dollars is steep, but for this you get, complimentary valet-parking, and a complimentary bag of popcorn.
They'll even butter it for you, complimentarily.
And I may like to mingle with the rich Jews and WASPS in the Premier, but I'm no snob. Well, not much.
I love Tyler Perry, and was excited to see his latest Madea
incarnation during this visit.
Look, I even scanned the tix for you to peruse them. Ain't I thoughtful and rather eccentric? In the nicest possible way, of course.
By the way, like in Europe, and other parts of the world, but almost never in the US (wonder why?), you HAVE to book or choose your seat.
You can even call up ahead, give your credit/debit card details, and they'll reserve it for you -- for a .75 cent fee --, which is a MUST during the weekends.
I like to sit near the balcony in row D
, since it's fun to throw popcorn on the poor folk downstairs.
Quick, who has any "Up the Down Staircase
" jokes? As if Erica Jong weren't a joke all on her lonesome.
(Oops. Bel Kaufman wrote that, not Miz Jong. But you've read one feminist in existential angst, you've read them all)
Okay, so this is what I do when I arrive at the Premier, itself.
I go to the "bistro" area, and peruse to see if there is a table available for me to dine. The hostess usually tells you how long, and frankly, usually it's too packed for my liking.
So, then, I go to the bar area, and order me a wonderful Boca burger
, or chicken cacciatore dinner.
They give you a remote-control-looking thingie, which jingles like a mutha when your order is ready. This takes about 20-30 minutes, so obviously, one vegs until then.
And this is one of the Premier Lounges, where you do your vegging.
They have about 3 or 4 areas, all of them with comfy leather sofas and recliners, and the best part, this mammoth TV you see here, usually turned onto the Miami Heat.
The Q-Tips don't get half ticked off when I turn the channel to Fox News
. I don't see why, since so many of them voted for Pat Buchanan in 2000.
In case you get peckish, you can also head to the Concessions stand, and get your freebie bag of popcorn.
But now you know why it was necessary to card you downstairs, since you can actually buy a bottle of Crystal or Moet et Chandon
champers, to imbibe.
Only back home, in England or on the continent, have I had the chance to get soused during a play, or a film.
This is the first, and so far, only place I know of here in the US, that one may buy a Bud or Corona, and drink it whilst watching your picture.
I don't drink, but I make a POINT to, when I come to the Premier, just because it's so cool to get drunk whilst doing something you love. I feel like Christopher Hitchens.
My tipple of choice is Sam Adams
. Best American non-microbrewed beer, by far.
Oh, did I mention that the Premier is brought to you by Lexus
, as the popcorn bag proclaims? The toilets are brought to you by the Ford Pinto, because they're a piece of crap.
Okay, your remote-thingie is now jingling and lighting up, and you have to pick up your food, to take to your seat.
You can ask for help with your dishes, cutlery, popcorn and glasses of vino, but there is a protocol, apparently, just like at the Car Wash.
The black, aproned waiters can take your food to the red-vested ushers, and then the usher takes you and your food to your seat.
The aproned ones cannot walk in front of you, but the usher can. I have no clue why, but it impresses the heck out of me.
My mother laughed at this fake tapestry, although I liked it.
It gives the corridors a certain glamour, plus you can practise lobbing popcorn at the heads of the young shepherdesses.
I have noticed the ushers barely look at your tickets, so you can probably sneak around to another film, once yours is over.
Not that I EVER ever do that, of course.
I like the whole old-fashioned concept of the usher, however, since part of the magic of the old picturepalaces, was the usher or usherette leading you to your seat, with their torch (flashlight).
The only thing that is missing is the candy or cigarette girl, wearing sheer nylons, asking your boyfriend if his Mars bar is nice and stiff, the cow.
This is the inner sanctum called the Ladies powder room
I expect all gentlemen reading this to cover their eyes. This ain't no Porky's or Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
(So far, our travellogue would not differ from many picturehouses in Europe, but American washrooms are usually bereft of those most ubiquitous of staffers -- the washroom attendant. Consequently, no tip, how ever meagre, is expected from you to them. The bad news is that there are valets downstairs all too eager to rob you of that hard-earned fifsky)
This is the perfunctory shot of the auditorium entryway -- it's no big shakes, even if that trompe l'oeil
banister along the walls is nicely done (although my mother laughed at it, all the same. Tough crowd).
None of the shots of inside the actual theatre, came out, so instead I offer the last vista of the Premier interior.
It's actually my favourite statue, this Winged Victory in the throes of either ecstacy or agony, I'm not sure.
Either way, it encapsulates everything the Premier wants to offer its patrons -- a kind of to-the-manor-borness, which is used to the very best, and yet is always asking for more.
Remember, the rich are never satisfied with what they have, and that's why they are rich, and we're not.
Give most people a bag of greasy popcorn, some Twizzlers, and a tub of Coke, and they consider that a great night out at the movies.
Well, I may not be rich, but in America, no one asks you how big your bank account is.
If you have the 18 bucks, you're in. If not, save.
I noticed that the valet guys come in all shapes and colours, but there is a definite curiosity about each level of staffer at the Muvico Palace.Box Office -- male, and white
Waiters -- female/male, and white
Ushers -- male, and African or Haitian American
Managers -- female, black and white
Valet -- male, black and white and "Hispanic"
Not sure I want to know why. I just want my frikkin' car.
Here we are, your last stop of your wonderful, elegant, and very expensive visit to the Premier.
What with your 18.00 or 18.75 ticket, your 30 dollar meal, your 5 dollar glass of booze, your assorted tips totalling about 5-10 bucks, you just spent 70 dollars per person, for the best night out at the movies in your life.
It's not cheap, but believe me, it's worth it.
Every time you can have a civilised, select, adult experience in this hectic, mass-marketed, youth-oriented world, it's worth blowing your 401K.
...and now you know where I'll be, this Friday, 19th May, 2006 at almost midnight.
At the Premier, watching the Da Vinci Code
, sipping my glass of Sam Adams, and eating my meatloaf sandwich.
A votre santé!RELATED TRAVELLOGUESMUVICO PARADISE 24MUVICO PARISIAN 20