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I actually tear up when I think of my beloved Cinedome. I went to Loara High and I have nothing but the fondest memories of my friends and I watching THE GREATEST movies there. There was a time when going to the movies was an EXPERIENCE. Every movie seemed packed which made going to the theater this really incredible shared experience. People cried, laughed, shrieked and clapped together. We seemed strangers going in and acquaintances coming out.
Does anyone remember seeing E.T. there? People were sitting in the isles so you couldn’t go to the bathroom!!!!!!! That’s not allowed anymore. Neither is “theater-skipping”. It was so easy to pay for one movie and see 6 if you wanted to. Nobody cared.
Some of the best times I had happened while I was waiting in the super long lines for a movie. When my friends and I were waiting to see Aliens, some guy next to us said he was hungry and was going to Burger King. He said he’d bring us back hamburgers and fries if we saved his place for him. Free Burger King and Aliens. It didn’t get anymore kick-ass than that! It also seemed like only cinephiles went to the Cinedome because everyone we talked always knew a lot about film and were just as passionate about going to the movies as I was.
After high school I went to Chapman College (now University) and would always catch a movie in between classes. I was in complete shock and overwhelmed with anger when I drove past the Cinedome and saw it boarded up. God, did that suck!
In an ironic twist, perhaps not so surprising, I later got an MFA in Film Production from Chapman. I was the first graduating class of the MFA program. I owe my love of film and career choice to the Cinedome. The theater-going experience for me now pales in comparison to what I had known in my youth but I feel lucky to have experienced it at all.