People love movies. Just ask them. They love seeing Rocky beat the odds against Apollo Creed. They love seeing an underdog truck driver win an arm wrestling contest and the heart of his son. They love seeing Rambo avenge the woman he loves by taking down a Vietnamese prisoner of war camp and freeing long lost soldiers. They might even love my love of Sylvester Stallone movies. Yet few people love movies as much as Tim and Karrie League.
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
In the late 1990’s, Tim and Karrie wanted to share their love of movies, food and beer with Austin. With a bolt of inspiration, they opened a small, one-screen theater downtown. Their enthusiasm was infectious and drew the attention of directors like Richard Linklater and Quentin Tarantino. From there, their venture blew up. The Leagues expanded Alamo Drafthouse Cinema with multiple locations around Austin.
The combination of food, drinks and movies isn’t wholly unique to Alamo Drafthouse. What sets it apart from the competition is the Leagues’ unabashed love of movies and the way they’ve been able to capture and market the movie culture. Drafthouse hosts events and screenings with movie geeks in mind.
Do me a favor and try to think of any theater that has Big Lebowski or Space Balls quote-a-longs, or an event called HeckleVision, where moviegoers are encouraged to mock the feature.
How many other theaters have monthly themes? As of this writing, the Alamo Drafthouse is wrapping up a space theme for the month of October 2013, to celebrate the release of Gravity. So if the Sandra Bullock movie got your sci-fi juices flowing, you could have also caught a screening of the Stanley Kubrick classic 2001: A Space Odyssey, or the campy 1960’s classic Barbarella.
Quote-a-longs, HeckleVision and themes are just a few examples of the unique goings-on at Alamo Drafthouse locations.
Movies from all periods of time are welcome. Different Drafthouse locations have different films showing at any given time. Plus, the number of screens and location of each theater determines the showtime of a particular film or special event. To plan your next visit, the best thing to do is check the Drafthouse website.
Don’t Mess with the Rules
All this fun can’t come without rules, and Alamo Drafthouse is famous for enforcing their two main ones:
- No talking or texting during the movie.
- Do not show up after the feature has started.
If the first rule is violated, you will be asked to leave without a refund. If the second rule is violated, you won’t be allowed to enter the theater. Sure it sounds harsh, but I have never had a more mellow movie-viewing experience than at the Drafthouse.
These rules have garnered Tim League and Alamo Drafthouse national attention. Several years ago, a female patron was asked to leave after violating their no-phone policy. She called after the incident and left a heartfelt message. The Alamo Drafthouse then used the incident as a warning at the beginning of their features. More recently, Madonna got into hot water for texting during the premier of 12 Years a Slave. She took issue with the policy and is currently banned for life from all Alamo Drafthouse locations until she apologizes.
Why You Should Go
That’s the charm of Alamo Drafthouse: movie geek affection for cinema with a strip club bouncer’s attitude towards good behavior, mixed with tasty casual dining, traditional movie snacks and a pretty good beverage menu. This mix keeps me going back again and again.
The last time I visited, I saw Gravity at the new Lakeline location in Cedar Park. This spot is right off of 183 on Lakeline Blvd, and is bedecked with Planet of the Apes paraphernalia. I had a craving for meat and beer during my visit, so I ordered the carnivore pizza and a 512 Pecan Porter. It was a perfect combination and the price was on par with dinner and a movie elsewhere.
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema has five locations around Austin. This means we’re all pretty close to one. If for some odd reason you haven’t gone yet, I must question your Austiness. Austinism? Austinite-ness? Well, you get it.
What is your favorite Drafthouse location and why?