When you have enough money and resources, you can open your own movie theatre and show whatever you want, whenever you want. “Who would do that?” you might ask. Well, that’s exactly what Quentin Tarantino did.
Tarantino’s theater — New Beverly Cinema — sits at the intersection of Beverly Blvd. and N. La Brea Ave. in Los Angeles, and it’s very quickly become one of my favorite places to go. Everything shown at the theater is on 35mm film (unless stated as 16mm) which, if you’re into film, is pretty awesome.
I was introduced to it in early January (ahh, the early days of 2020 before everything went down the drain) for a special Friday night showing of Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood in preparation for the Academy Awards. We got to see some bonus content at the beginning so the movie itself didn’t start until around 9pm, and if you know Tarantino — it was close to midnight when we finally got out of there. Time and my tiredness aside, we also got to attend a panel with the creative team (ft. Tarantino himself which was pretty neat), and as a bunch of film school students, we were having a great time.
So that event alone was great proof of how unexpected things can be at the New Beverly.
Content Warning: Harry Potter films
But by far my favorite experience was when they were screening the Harry Potter movies** in February and March. My first choice was Prisoner of Azkaban because that is my favorite movie, alas, I was working on set so I missed that weekend. BUT, my boyfriend and I did manage to see the second best (in my opinion): Order of the Phoenix. Order is my favorite book and I love the adaptation.
**disclaimer: I do not support or condone JK Rowling in any way, shape, or form. I have been asked about my experience and this is the most prominent one.
I was so young when the Harry Potter movies were being released that the only ones I saw in theaters were The Deathly Hallows Pt. 1 & 2 . Getting to watch Order on the big(ish) screen and on film was such a special experience. Coupled with the pecan praline soda (literal butterbeer) I got — thanks to the New Beverly’s array of glass bottled drinks and snacks — it was a whole new way of watching a movie I have seen dozens of times.
When you watch a movie on film, the color is beautiful because it is untouched. The hall of prophecies was so incredibly stunning!! The other big difference can be in the sound quality, sometimes sounds feel more nuanced to me. And there’s the classic grainy element associated with film. And honestly, it was so satisfying to see that, I’m not sure why, but I loved it.
By screening old movies, the New Beverly really gives guests the chance to experience old favorites in a whole new way. I’ve seen Order of the Phoenix more times than I can count but for all of those viewing experiences, I actually cried this time. I was tearing up when Umbridge was torturing Harry and fully sobbed when Sirius died. Something about sitting in that theater and being forced to just sit and watch was a new experience for me (considering I am often a multitasker when it comes to watching anything).
All of this is my way of trying to say that, when it opens back up, if you’re in the LA area, check out the New Beverly. It’s a place I’ve been to twice and already treasure it for the experiences and memories I’ve made there. If stories are a part of your life, or you simply want to revisit something special, chances are you can find it there at some point in time.