Kirkwood Cinema

13 May Going to the Picture Shows

People still go to movies. It’s still a thing. Salty popcorn still tastes better with a ton of butter on it. Raisinettes continue to be delicious. Previews of upcoming blockbusters aren’t exclusive to your handheld device. The studios continue to release them for the large screen. The floors remain sticky, and pretentious college kids are still around, tearing tickets and casting judgment on the clientele.

For all the advances in the way movies are released today, and without ignoring the convenience these media provide for the modern consumer, they fail completely at replicating the unique experience one has when they physically commute to a venue and, in exchange for an ever-increasing portion of one’s paycheck, buy a ticket to a public screening of a major motion picture. Date nights at the theater often lead to heavy necking and petting.   Family excursions to the cinema often result in tantrums, crying and several trips to the restroom. You ever seen a gaggle of ladies together for a Girl’s Night Out to see a new sexy beau hunk show off his butt cheeks in a steamy shower scene? Those gals are having some serious fun.

The integrity of the art form as a whole will continue to be cheapened if the experience of actually visiting the theater to see a movie continues to fade.   The multiscreen megaplex has replaced small, intimate screens. People don’t dress up anymore when they patronize the celluloid palaces, opting for flip-flops and cargo shorts rather than their Sunday best.

Our town has a rich history of great little theaters that have come and gone. The Shady Oak Cine, Kirkwood Cinema, The Ivanhoe, The Avalon Theater, and 66 Park-In Theater are all on a short list of numerous former regional playhouses that have closed their doors.   But don’t worry; there are still quality places in St. Louis where you can find a genuinely authentic movie-going experience. Let’s hope they all continue to provide us with this this service for decades to come.


Hi-Pointe Theater- 1005 McCausland Ave St. Louis, Mo 63117

It may sound weird but the first thing that comes to mind when I think of the Hi-Pointe is the fact that it lays claim to undoubtedly the finest men’s room in the bi-state area. It would not be an exaggeration to say that alone is worth the price of admission. The theater dates back to 1922 and is very spacious and welcoming.   I really, really love seeing movies here.  Parking can be a bit of an issue at times but not one that would motivate me to go elsewhere. The Hi-Pointe has five dollar movies on Wednesday night, polite, well informed staff and like-minded patrons you can share screen time with. It is a fixture of the landscape of the Hi-Pointe neighborhood and, true to its name, sits at the highest elevation point in region.

Tivoli Theater – 6350 Delmar Blvd, St Louis, Mo 63130

One of the great monuments to film in St. Louis is the Tivoli Theater. The marquee on Delmar Blvd is as iconic as any non-parabolic imagery this city has to offer. Soaked in history, the main theater remains a beautiful, grand room. They curate a wonderful collection of art house films and popcorn movies at the Tivoli. The aesthetic of having movie posters adorn the walls of the many movies connected to the area is a continuous reminder of how relevant St Louis is in the art form.

Skyview Drive-In- 5700 North Belt West, Belleville, IL 62226

We are fast approaching a world without drive-in theaters.  For most people, drive-ins are a distant fond memory or something they see in old movies.   There are still a few places left where one can go to experience the phenomenon. The Skyview is an excellent option. If you don’t live in Belleville, Il it is well worth the trip. They can’t run the projector till it gets sufficiently dark outside so be prepared for a late night. Pack up some food and drink in a cooler, toss a couple folding chairs in the trunk and you are in for a real treat. It may not be for you if you insist on watching movies on crisp HD screens with speakers that rattle your innards but if you have any sense of nostalgia, you can’t miss out.

Plaza Frontenac Landmark Theater- 1701 S Lindbergh Blvd #210, St Louis, Mo. 63131

Frontenac shows the Films; the future Criterion Collection pieces, foreign films with limited distribution, independent or avant-garde flicks, films that show well at Cannes and Sundance. If you like to share a theater with calm, respectful students of film, you’ll find yourself at home here.

The Moolah Theater and Lounge- 3821 Lindell Blvd St Louis Mo 63108

Movie’s play on “the big screen”, correct? The former Shriners temple hosts one of the biggest screens in St. Louis. Movies were made to be watched on a couch, right?  And when you’re sitting on a comfy couch and watching a movie on a huge screen, wouldn’t you like to have a tasty high ball? The Moolah has got you covered. And after you see a really cool 3-D movie on a comfy couch with a high ball in your hand, what do you do next? Go bowl, obviously. The Moolah caters to your every want and desire. Located on Lindell in Mid-Town, it is not far from anywhere. They tout themselves as the “civilized alternative to the mega-plex” and they are not wrong in doing so.

Contributed by John Simon