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Washington Voices

Theater of the absurd? We can hope

Sat., April 16, 2011, midnight

It’s been a tough week, but it’s finally Friday, and Richard and I are going to a movie. Maybe we’ll see “The King’s Speech” again. As I put a frozen entrée into the microwave for dinner, I begin to daydream about the perfect movie theater experience.

In my imagination, Richard and I enter into an upscale movie theater that allows no one under 21, and relax in our reserved dual reclining leather seat with six feet of legroom. The digital subwoofers beneath vibrate with onscreen action, which lets us feel every footstep as all-digital Bertie reluctantly enters therapist Lionel Logue’s shabby office on a gloomy afternoon.

Before the film starts, a discreet server has taken our dinner order, which we nosh on during the film – perhaps a master chef’s sushi, a Spanish muffuletta sandwich, or a churrasco steak, with white cheddar popcorn served in a gleaming champagne bucket on the side, and wine or a local microbrew. Any time, at the press of a button, he’ll attend to our needs and even handle rude chatterers.

During Bertie’s first painful speech, I pop out to the lovely restroom in which every stall has its own private sink, so I can hurry back and not miss King Edward and his scheming American hussy. Ensconced again in my comfy seat, I nibble a specialty cupcake as Bertie earns his R rating. By the time he’s sweating through his titular speech at the end, Richard and I are finishing off Junior Mints in a chilled glass. When we leave, an attendant bids us a good evening with warm towels and Ghiradelli chocolate mints.

What an evening!

Yet this isn’t really a fantasy. Everything I mentioned can be found at one or more movie theaters across the country now offering civilized luxury to draw those disillusioned with the movie house experience, who instead now prefer the living room experience. There’s something to be said for watching Blu-Ray movies at home in your pajamas, where you can eat sloppy nachos with a cat on your lap, and pause whenever you want.

Who needs texters, prattlers, seat kickers, crying babies, and wrapper-crinklers?

But would I be able to forgo the fond, traditional movie experience, and adjust to a movie theater in which my feet don’t get stuck to the floor and I’m not surrounded by the unique fragrance of movie popcorn butter comprised of bilious mystery fats?

Heck, yeah!

However, a truly savvy theater owner would tie the culinary theater experience to the films. For example: barbecued sidewinder (tastes like chicken!) for “Rango;” shark fin soup for ‘Soul Surfer;” mushroom ravioli and Bloody Marys for the Twilight films; a stick of butter for “Julie & Julia.”

The possibilities are endless. What about classic film nights, with dishes such as spaghetti for Clint Eastwood westerns, lamb and couscous for “Casablanca,” burgers and Cokes for “American Graffiti,” a box of chocolates for “Forrest Gump,” and Chianti and fava beans for…well, let’s not go there.

Alas, I won’t find any theater experiences like this around here, at present. Instead it’s all day-glo popcorn and Milk Duds, and “amenities” mean working hand driers in the restrooms, cup-holders, and ads before the trailers. Lap cats are not yet offered at concession stands (although nachos are).

Ah, well, I can dream on.

The microwave timer beeps into my musings, I serve it with a salad, and we’re off to the movie theater.

But I can’t wait until we get the DVD of “The King’s Speech.” Because I’ve planned a smashing high tea and bun fight worthy of Bertie, er, King George VI himself!

You can reach Deborah Chan at Previous columns are available at

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