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Going to Amherst Cinema for the First Time

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A view of two seats in a movie theater, with a person sitting in one of them. A young man is onscreen, sitting on a bench outdoors

Not in the mood for another blockbuster but are intrigued to watch a film in the theater? I recommend going to Amherst Cinema downtown!

I went to Amherst Cinema with some friends for the first time last week because we had to watch an international film, as prompted by my final paper for my Contemporary World Cinema class.

Not only is it easier to get to (you can take any bus whose route is downtown such as the 30, 31, or the 33, just to name a few) than the Cinemark in Hadley (just one bus, Route B43), but it provides a range of international films that you wouldn’t normally see at your typical Cinemark or AMC. Tickets are well priced, just $9 as long as you have a student ID!

Amherst Cinema typically draws an older crowd. From what I noticed, we were the youngest in the main lobby filled with folks who were between the ages of 30-60. While it’s not a huge deal being the youngest in the theater, we did run into someone we knew with his friends, so it was nice seeing more people my age. Being surrounded by an older crowd when you’re the youngest at the movies was something I’ve never experienced before, since I usually go to movies aimed towards teens or family films. It made me feel more mature and it felt like I was going in to see a really great film -- and it was! I saw the Swedish drama The Sacrifice (1986) by Soviet director Andrei Tarkovsky, case you were curious.

The concessions that are available blew me away, as I assumed there would just be your typical popcorn, candy, and soda combo like at other movie theaters. Even though Amherst Cinema is a small space (with only 4-5 theaters), it has a wide range of food and drinks to choose from. Apart from popcorn and an assortment of candy, there are also baked goods, such as muffins and brownies. You can buy a bottled water or Coca Cola if you like, or try one of the other sodas like Cherry Coke, Fanta Orange, un/sweetened iced tea), as well as an entirely separate list of intriguing Italian sodas flavors, including flavors such as almond, mandarin watermelon, pumpkin spice, and sugar-free raspberry and vanilla. You can also grab a cup of coffee if you need that extra pick-me-up, or choose from a selection of black, green, and herbal teas. Additionally, and this surprised me the most, Amherst Cinema offers beer and wine, something I most definitely did not expect to see!

I think going to Amherst Cinema is something every UMass student should experience and support. I know it shows some well-known films as well, such as the cult-classic The Room, as well as noteworthy films such as Sorry to Bother You and Blackkklansman (which won an Oscar!) You may see a film that you wouldn’t normally see.

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