When I lived in Pine Hills, I would visit my local movie house, the Madison Theater. It was only a brisk walk from home, and the amenities were decent – tasty popcorn, good films, decent atmosphere.
But the Madison has gone through several iterations and renovations since its opening in 1929. It was a single-screen theater for most of its existence, then it became a multi-screen cinema (and operated under a new name, the Norma Jean Madison Theater). And that’s not counting the other times it closed – and reopened -and re-closed – and re-opened.
This Thursday, the Madison will reopen as a bar and restaurant / movie theater (if you’ve ever been to an Alamo Drafthouse, it’s almost the same thing), and the first film it’s showing is Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker.
I definitely can dig this. Especially since I’m a bit of a Star Wars nerd. Look, when you can remember every theater you saw a Star Wars movie in, that’s saying something.
I did see a Star Wars movie in the Madison Theater, I believe it was Episode II: Attack of the Clones. That was a decent entry into the series – Yoda fought Count Dooku, I think that was the big reveal in that film. And I mean Yoda FOUGHT Dooku. This wasn’t Muppet Yoda, this was CGI badass Yoda.
Oh, and I should note that “Yoda’s TV Dinners” is on the menu at the Madison Theater. Here’s a dinner menu, and it’s more than just popcorn and Raisinets. No bone broth, though … so much for a kid’s meal.
Of course, seeing the movie on opening night is always an amazing feeling – you get there before all the online spoilers course through the internet; you watch the film as if it was the latest chapter in a thrilling serial, where you spent all week trying to figure out how the good guys would escape the most recent peril, only to find them in a new peril at the end of this week’s episode.
I’m definitely looking for a few things in this film. I want to see how they incorporate the final scenes Carrie Fisher filmed before her passing. I want to see what they do with C-3PO, as this film makes actor Anthony Daniels the only Star Wars actor to appear in all nine episodes (he was also in Rogue One, but not in Solo). And we have to have a climactic battle between the evil Kylo Ren and the virtuous Rey – who may or may not be a Skywalker offspring (Kylo Ren told her in Episode VIII: The Last Jedi that her parents were nobodies from Jakku who sold her off for food money, but that might have been Kylo Ren trying to mind-mess with Rey).
But yeah, either I see it this Thursday night or over the weekend, that’ll be fine for me. And if I see it at the Madison – or if I see some other film at the Madison – it’ll be a nice treat to watch a film in that old movie palace once again.
Considering it, the Spectrum and the Palace are the three oldest free-standing movie theaters in the Capital District, it’s nice to see some things are still worth preserving.
May the force be with the Madison. And THX Dolby sound, as well. 😀