Cutting Room for December 20

So it’s the Holidays once again, and people make you be all mushy and stuff this time of year. Normally, I’m a smarmy grouse (an endangered species). But I’d like to take a minute to say thanks to two local businesses who not only make my life (and your lives) a little better but who are generally all-around good folks. 

Aksarben Cinema is just the greatest little megaplex you could ever want. Finding the balance between the new “gimmicky theater gags” and an old school experience, the theater not only knows how to optimize the movie-watching experience, they don’t turn it into a giant distraction or completely remove the focus from the film. That’d be enough for me to give a little holiday season “attaboy,” but they go beyond that. Quietly, each month the theater raises money for a different charity personally selected by the folks in charge. Whether it’s brain cancer research (like it is in the month of December) or various other local charities, Aksarben doesn’t imitate or pretend to be a part of the community: they so genuinely are. This ain’t lip service or paid advertising: this is me saying thanks to a great business run by great people.

Speaking of which… Rachel Jacobson is just the best. Her decision to build a nonprofit arthouse theater had to seem impossible. For six years, Film Streams Ruth Sokoloff Theater has spoiled us by providing access to the type of movies Omaha hadn’t seen in theaters before Rachel’s brilliant idea. Trust me! Their inclusion of a repertory theater means a chance to see all-time classics and smaller, overlooked films in the setting their creators intended. But again, like Aksarben, Film Streams does more than show awesome stuff. They hold Q&As with directors and community members about issues vital to Omaha. They offer free movies to students periodically to engage them in the arts. They bring national acclaim to the city each and every year. I’ve spoken with Rachel several times over the years but I don’t think she truly understands how appreciative we are.

Art is important. Movies are art. Movies are important. But more important is that there is a thriving community filled with kind and responsible businesses propping those movies up on a local level. Happy Holidays to my two favorite theaters; may your stockings be filled with love!

Cutting Room provides breaking local and national movie news … complete with added sarcasm. Send any relevant information to film@thereader.com. Check out Ryan on Movieha!, a weekly half-hour movie podcast (movieha.libsyn.com/rss), catch him on the radio on CD 105.9 (cd1059.com) on Fridays at around 7:30 a.m. and on KVNO 90.7 (KVNO.org) at 8:30 a.m. on Fridays and follow him on Twitter (twitter.com/thereaderfilm).

posted at 12:16 am
on Friday, December 20th, 2013

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