There was a day when a movie was a movie was a movie.
We all rode the streetcar to the same odeons and we all paid our nickels and we all watched silent movies jump and pop along to live organ music.
But the film-going experience flowered over the last century, from redonk'd-out home set-ups -- yes, "redonk'd" in all of its subtler meanings -- to the communal theater experience.
Boutique cinema chain ArcLight has been at the forefront of changing-up what going to the cinema means, exactly. And now the film-school-iest of all the SoCal movie families is headed to its next location: Santa Monica.
Plumper chairs, choosing your seats, an in-house bar and restaurant? Yes, yes, and yes -- they're ArcLight standards, along with the enthusiastic employee who welcomes the audience before each screening. Those are all set to be a part of new Santa Monica location.
We're trusting, too, that the recipe for the chain's famous caramel corn will also make the trip to the beach.
The new ArcLight joins other theaters in Washington and Hawaii, as well as those that dot the region: La Jolla, Pasadena, El Segundo, Sherman Oaks, and the Hollywood location, which is fronted by the Cinerama Dome.
Premium, ultra-posh movie watching just steps from Santa Monica Pier? Nope, it isn't the odeon of yore, but cinematic enjoyment has benefited by a century of state-of-the-art thinking. No one is saying, though, that you can't wear a bowler to the theater or a silent era-esque set of Harold Lloyd glasses.