Pleasant Survivor - A Cinema Sanctuary

Don't you love life's happy surprises? Like putting on and old jacket and discovering $20 wadded up in a pocket or coming home from a hard day and finding a hidden bottle of Bordeaux in the back of the cupboard? Last night's movie expedition was one of those finds when I walked a mere 5 blocks from my apartment to the Mt Pleasant Theatre.

Functional but charming, the theatre is a remnant from a time when practically every neighbourhood boasted a single-screen and when standing in line for "blockbusters" truly meant standing curbside, lining up on the street no matter the weather.

A dual marquee was lit up like a pinball machine displaying the two features: March of the Penguins and The Squid and the Whale. At the door I bought my ticket ($9.50 including taxes) and checked the candy counter. No tacos or lattes here - only the basics at reasonable prices.

Into the theatre proper. Again, practicality ruled. A couple hundred seats sloping toward a screen that in size is the middle brother between late-70's mini-mall screens and more recent three-storey tall screens. The walls are of red fabricated roses and lined with ancient radiators.

Sitting down I saw there were no drink cup holders cluttering the wooden armrests and immediately noticed how low the backs were in comparison to the seats in contemporary theatres. The short height is actually and advantage if your theatre visitation has amorous intentions as I was soon delighted with how easy it was to stretch my arm across the tops of the chair backs. Ah, sweet memories of watching The Empire Strikes Back with little blonde Christina Knapp and the ensuing amateur fumblings in the dark....

By the time the feature began I was so swathed in nostalgia that I could have watched the full four hours of The Sorrow and The Pity and walked out of the theatre with a smile on my face; the movie actually became secondary to the experience but my grin almost split my head when the lights dimmed and the trailers began WITHOUT COMMERCIALS! HURRAH!

This venerable gem of a cinema is overseen by the same gentleman who sells the tickets. He's owned the theatre since it opened in the 60's and obviously cares for his movie house. As a movie-goer, it was refreshing to hand my money over to the actual proprietor rather than some faceless multi-plex conglomerate.

To top off the evening (note: The Squid and the Whale is excellent!) I walked out into fresh snowfall. More evenings should be a simple and pleasing as a visit to the Mount Pleasant Theatre.

The Mt Pleasant Theatre is located at 675 Mt. Pleasant Ave. one block south of Eglinton. Shows usually begin at 7 and 9 pm.

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