Going to see a movie is no longer a cheap endeavor. Ticket prices always seem to be on the rise and concessions are ungodly expensive. Of course, your $5 to $10 popcorn is often over-buttered, under-salted and generally cold. So, in order to preserve the honor of the movie theatre industry and bring you the best and cheapest movie-going experience in Des Moines, this week I visited Varsity Theatre (1207 25th St.), a local, single-screen theatre.
Varsity Theatre’s low-priced, high quality, independent films and self-proclaimed “Best Concession Prices in Town” have become a tradition since the theater opened its doors in 1939. So naturally, being the bargain-hunter that I am, I decided to partake and went to check out the Academy-Award-nominated, Golden-Globe-winning, Critics’-Choice-Award-winning, BAFTA-award-winning, overwhelmingly fabulous film, The Artist.
We approached the traditional glass box office and I started to pull out my $10 bill and student ID, noting the cheap ticket prices pasted to the window:
- Matinees: $5
- Adult: $7.50
- Children: $6
- Students with IDs (Sun.-Thurs.)- $6
- Senior Citizens: $6
But of course, if their concession prices were supposedly the best in town, it was the concessions I needed to look into. I asked for my typical movie-going snack, a small unbuttered popcorn with extra salt, which I have often found to be in the neighborhood of $4. I paid $1.50. The extra large bucket was only $4.25 and was roughly five times larger than my small bucket. There was a case full of the typical movie theater candy, but instead of the typical $3 this candy ranged from .80 to $2.00.
When my roommate and I walked into the theater, we were surprised to find that of the 455 seats available in the theater, only two of them were occupied: Ours. We were the only ones present at the 9:30 p.m. Thursday showing of The Artist .
The screen was lit up with green and blue spotlights; it was silent, still and surprisingly free of advertisements. Even after the lights had dimmed, only one commercial ran, it was an ad for the Iranian foreign film A Separation.
I am entirely unqualified to be a movie critic, but I think The Artist‘s nominations and awards speak for themselves. I highly recommend taking the time to see it, perhaps even drop by the charming and cheap Varsity Theatre.
For $7.50 I enjoyed an award-winning movie and a small tub of popcorn.