Friday, July 3, 2009

See a movie at the Catlow Theater

Located in downtown Barrington, the Catlow (est. 1927) is my favorite place to see a movie. This is where I fell in love with Once, became entranced by There Will Be Blood, made fun of Twilight, and laughed till I was on the verge of tears at I Love You, Man. Here are some reasons why you should pay a visit to the Catlow:

Cheap. $5 for admission, no matter what the movie. Because of this low cost, I will see movies here that I have no motivation to see at a chain-theater like AMC (I knew The Incredible Hulk with Edward Norton was going to be a train-wreck and yet I was happy to go to the Catlow to see it). Also, I'll try to check out lesser-known movies that sound interesting (foreign films like Tell No One or Paris, Je T'aime). Or, I'll come back again and again for a movie I absolutely love (There Will Be Blood, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, I Love You, Man).

Friendly staff. The wonderful people at the Catlow are a HUGE factor in why I prefer going there over larger theaters. You know the song from Cheers: "sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name"? Well, that's how I feel whenever I go to the Catlow. I must mention Manny and Shannon because they always have smiles on their faces and are fun to talk to. Also, Shannon has my sandwich-order memorized, down to the type of dressing and cheese!

Food. You can order food at Boloney's next door and bring your food into the theater when you watch the movie. Boloney's sandwiches are available Monday-Saturday. At Boloney's a variety of sandwiches that don't skimp on the layers are available; I always get the veggie. This is the rare place where a veggie sandwich is loaded with a ton of actual vegetables and not simply a pile of iceberg lettuce you find on other "veggie" sandwiches. (I just had to get that out of my system, sorry.) Meat-eaters, you will be in heaven with the generous portions of Boloney's sandwiches. They have unique sandwich names, too: Bat-man wich, anyone? I haven't even started to talk about the popcorn. In addition to freshly popped buttered popcorn, the Catlow also serves Boloney's popcorn, sold for $3.50 a bag: caramel, cheese, and combo. Watch out, this popcorn is delicious and addicting!

Plenty of seating. Isn't it the most annoying thing when you arrive early for a movie to get your seats, only to be asked to move over when people straggle in near the start of the film? I have never had to move over to make room for the late-comers at the Catlow.

Audience. A good audience makes seeing a movie that much better of an experience. I've almost always found the Catlow audience to be respectful during the movie (there is only one time I can think of when people were talking). When I saw I Love You, Man, not only was everyone laughing at all the jokes, the audience also applauded at the end.

No annoying commercials. Occasionally a trailer or two will play before the movie, but that's it. Otherwise before the film you can listen to music that either is from the movie's soundtrack or fits the theme of the movie. Usually I take this time to eat as much of my sandwich that I can before all the lights go out.

You have a voice! You are able to vote on the Catlow's website for films you want to see at the theater, including both mainstream and smaller, indie films. On the website you can also sign up to be on the Catlow Mailing List and get the movie times emailed to you.

Have I convinced you? If you have not seen a movie at the Catlow, summer is the perfect time to see what you've been missing. On weeknights the film is shown at 7 PM; Fridays and Saturdays there are two showings, and the times vary depending on the movie being shown that week.

The Catlow
116 W. Main Street, Barrington
Catlow Website