BEST BUDGET MOVIE THEATER Minneapolis 2005 - Riverview Theater
It's not just for the neighbors anymore. The only Minneapolis movie house of any kind within miles of its far-east locale attracts filmgoers from all over because, for one thing, it's an awfully nice room: both wide and long, with unusually comfy seats, a huge screen, and state-of-the-art sound. For another, you feel immediately welcome when you walk in. The lobby isn't '50s-style; it's nearly as it would have been in '49 when the place was built. (Love that old TV, that copper water fountain, the vintage ads displayed under glass, the issues of Variety on the swanky couches.) The programming is handled "split-screen," as they say in the biz: two or three different films on weeknights, as many as five on weekends, scheduled with the audience's needs in mind (kids' movies in the morning, grown-up dramas in the evening, Rocky Horror and Donnie Darko, etc., at midnight). For a while near the end of last year, the Riverview was the only theater in the five-state region screening the best movie of 2004: I (Heart) Huckabees. Local indies (e.g., Justice), international film-fest fare, Gophers games(!), even the TPT premiere of that "controversial" Sugartime episode have found a home here, too. And then there's the cover charge: unbelievably generous at $2 before 6:00 p.m., $3 after 6:00. Could this increasingly rare and vital independent showplace get any better?