n my hometown of Woodstock, Vermont, on the weekends the town hall doubles as a movie theater by pulling down a screen and serving maple butter popcorn. Usually, they choose a movie that premiered several weeks ago and seems a little outdated. When I came to Goucher my freshman year, I was surprised to discover that Towson didn’t have a movie theater. As I learned my way around Baltimore, I discovered the behemoth White Marsh AMC theaters and eventually, the more charming Senator Theater and Charles Theater. I loved how the Senator had the main large theatre with a gilded ceiling and draping red curtains that frame the feature film. Along with slightly more reasonable tickets, they offer special showings of classics like “The Godfather,” “The Shining,” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
Sometime last year, I first heard rumors that a new movie theater was in the making and then of course, the evidence. Early on in the construction of Towson’s new cinema, it became obvious that it was going to be much more than a place to watch movies. The Cinemark officially opened late this past summer, but construction still continues on the movie and dining complex off of the Towson circle. I finally decided to take the plunge by seeing the new blockbuster thriller Gone Girl, and I was for the most part pleased with my overall experience.
The parking garage costs hurts a little, but movie-goers get a $2 discount for the parking. Because it was a late showing, my boyfriend and I decided to park on the street, but there is also free parking at the mall, and of course it’s really not a far walk from Goucher. The entrance of the Cinemark is not elegant per se but it is remarkable. The huge flights of stairs, escalators, lines of people, and boisterous teenagers all form to create a mass of energy and confusion. Our student tickets cost $9.50 each, but for a couple of dollars, you can upgrade to the reserved seating that has food service as well. At the top of the escalators, there are seemingly dozens of food options – more than the usual movie menu. Off to the side is an arcade area for if you get bored of the movie or are killing time while waiting for friends. The seats in the movie theatre were actually very comfortable, but it was surprisingly full considering how many theaters (within Cinemark) were showing the movie and how early we had arrived.
“Gone Girl” did everything that it advertised it would do as a thriller and I felt satisfied with the film and the experience. Yet, I still felt oddly ripped off even though I hadn’t even spent that much on the ticket. I felt like at every corner the Cinemark was trying to get a few more dollars from its visitors with parking, dinner, movie, movie seat upgrades, snacks, and arcade. I’m not really sure if Towson ever really had a small town feel, but I worry how much of this experience could be going to helping small businesses in the area. Yet, I recognize coming from a small town, I have trouble accepting the experience of large chain enterprises even while it might greatly benefit the local economy. For Goucher students, the draw of the Cinemark is its accessibility and broad range of options. If given a choice, I would recommend expanding your horizons by going into the city, grabbing a meal out at a local restaurant, sneaking some candy in your bag, and enjoying the smaller, independent local movie theatres.