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I worked at the Ritz 16 back in high school. It was an amazing place. I got payed minimum wage to clean up garbage (and on one occasion-poop) in the auditoriums. The hours weren’t great and the job itself was demeaning to say the least. However, it was still my favorite place in the world.
People think its a better place now because they sell hot dogs or because they show children’s cartoons in the mornings or because you can watch a Harold and Kumar sequel while eating nachos or whatever your cup of tea is, but honestly the standard has plummeted. Ray Posel dying was the worst thing to happen to modern cinema; and as if that wasn’t bad enough, National Amusements, the worst theater group there is, bought and ruined Ray’s masterpiece. Why not draw a mustache on the Mona Lisa while you’re at it? The Showcase would have already gone out of business by now if it hadn’t been recycled from the Ritz’s corpse.
I also managed a National Amusements theater after college so I am entitled to speak poorly of them. Its a bottom-line kind of corporation that seems to hate their own customers as much as they love profits and every policy they have is ass-backwards.
Don’t get me wrong though. The Showcase is still a better theater than you’re going to find in most places. Some of the Ritz touches are still there and you can even still see some art films and maybe a documentary or two as long as Al Gore is attached in some way. The artwork on the walls may be gone but at least they kept the portraits of yesteryear’s great movie icons. The flowers in the bathrooms is a classy little accent but its really not enough to polish that turd.