Campus Guide: Movie hotspots
Editor’s note: This article is part of the Arizona Summer Wildcat’s 2014 Campus Guide. The Campus Guide is a special issue that runs every year to help introduce incoming students to the UA and campus life.
Gallagher Theater — This is the university’s in-house theater, located right inside the Student Union Memorial Center. Nestled inconspicuously inside the food court, the Gallagher Theater plays host to a number of special events. Advanced screenings of films are fairly commonplace, and sometimes they even come with talent. Last April, an advanced screening of “Neighbors” had Dave Franco, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Jerrod Carmichael. Another event saw “Suits” cast members Rick Hoffman and Amanda Schull come to the Gallagher Theater to hold a Q&A after an advanced showing of an episode. On Thursdays and Sundays, the theater screens films that are out of regular theaters, but are not yet out on DVD. Of course, since it’s the university, your CatCard gets you into all of this for free.
Casa Video — Blockbuster is six-feet under, but there is one last bastion of video rentals that’s still standing. Casa Video (affectionately known simply as “Casa”) is a video rental store that’s located just a mile east of campus. The great thing that Casa has above any online streaming (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, illegal pirating sites) is that it has everything. How many times have you hopped on Netflix and you don’t really see anything good to watch? Casa has not only one, but two stories of wall-to-wall movies and television shows. The sheer amount of DVDs, Blu-rays and, yes, even VHS tapes is staggering. If you’re looking for something specific, it’s sure to have it, and, if you just stop in to browse, you’re sure to come upon something totally unexpected. If you find yourself bored one night, take a couple of friends and see what you can find.
The Loft Cinema — Located just a couple of blocks east of Casa Video stands Tucson’s premiere art house cinema and one of the only art house theaters in the whole state. The Loft shows more independent movies than your regular mainstream theater, but don’t think that “indie” means cheap or amateur. Some of the best and most unique films you can see in a year will be shown at The Loft. Apart from showing new films, The Loft also has a huge variety of different screenings and programs. Last year, it had advanced screenings of Academy Award-nominated “American Hustle” and “Nebraska.” It showcases cult classics every week and even has its own Loft Film Fest in October. Its selections are distinct and offer a breath of fresh air that you can’t find anywhere else in town. Your CatCard gets you a nice student discount for a very affordable ticket.
Century 20 El Con — Although The Loft offers a selection that’s off the beaten path, you’ve got to have a place to go to catch the latest big-name flicks from Hollywood. El Con is not only your closest location, but also your best. It’s very clean, and has an XD theater with a larger screen, crisper sound and leather seats. El Con also has one of the best concession stands that I’ve seen. Of course, you’ve got your staples like popcorn, Icees and hot dogs, but then it trots out the more gourmet stuff, like smoothies and Dreyer’s ice cream. It even has sour tape! What more can you want? The best-kept secret about this theater is that every Tuesday is Discount Day, where you can buy a ticket for $5.25.
Explore on your own! — There are a myriad of other opportunities to catch films around town and campus. Colleges and clubs put on screenings. The Feminists Organized to Resist, Create, and Empower puts on a Feminist Film Series, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies puts on a film series and the list goes on. There are also films coming out of the School of Theatre, Film and Television, with screenings of student work shown at the end of every semester. Tucson is also home to several film festivals. There’s the Arizona Underground Film Festival if you’re interested in movies that are extremely independent and different. If you go to this festival, you could definitely say to your friends, “Oh, well, I saw a movie you’ve never heard of (and probably will never hear of again).” There’s also the Arizona International Film Festival, which shows films from around the world. These are but two festivals of the many that happen over the course of year.
There’s something for everyone to watch at the UA; you just have to look. Happy viewing!