In life, I find that I can most always relate my own experiences back to Seinfeld. There is an episode where George gets fired from the Yankees. He is given a three month severance package for his troubles and decides that he wants to take full advantage of his time off. With ideas of reading books, playing frolf and eating fresh picked fruit, he shouts into the heavens, “I proclaim this the Summer of George!”
And let me tell you, it was glorious. I saw all movies, great and terrible—most of them by myself. If you missed out on the Moviepass train, please, take a seat, and I will paint you a picture of a beautiful land of make-believe.
In its heyday, Moviepass was a movie ticket subscription service that allowed you to see as many movies as you wanted for $9.95 each month. Basically, it was an app much like Fandango where you chose your movie, time, and seat, but instead of buying a ticket at the end, Moviepass paid the theater for you.
Last summer, a typical Saturday or Sunday for me usually consisted of a morning workout followed by a 2 P.M. movie at The Grove where I would arrive early to peruse shops like Anthropologie and Barnes and Noble and then head to the theater bar for a glass of rosè. Most days, I went for a “movie pour” which, as you would imagine, is a hefty pour of wine—more like two glasses than one—perfect for a leisurely, movie-watching afternoon or for sipping on at the bar while flirting with the bartender for a few extra minutes.
Though there were many times I shared this routine with friends, there was really nothing like doing it on my own. It’s oddly empowering, going to a movie by yourself. Sitting alone in a dark theater, surrounded by other anonymous strangers who are there for the same reason you are, it strikes me what a communal, hive-minded activity moviegoing is. With my weekend jaunts to The Grove, it always felt like I was treating myself. The whole outing somehow seemed fabulously indulgent and luxurious.
Just like George’s blissful vision for his summer quickly ended (he started out lazily and just when he got his second wind, he slipped going up the stairs and spent his summer doing physical therapy), so too did my dreams of my future with Moviepass die on the vine. When Moviepass folded, it got really bad, my friends; I was a wreck because I had foolishly come to rely on an unreliable entity for entertainment … but, just like any summer romance, there were a multitude of highs before the lows.
My go-to theater was The Landmark, a cool 10 minutes from my apartment with comfy, leather seats and delicious popcorn. But when I wanted to turn a weekend matinee into a full on Me Day, I would go to the Pacific Theaters at The Grove, where the theater seats were draped in old school red velvet.
For those of you outside of L.A., The Grove is… a magical place. It’s basically an outdoor mall, but it is also so much more than that. It sounds odd, I know, but I would describe The Grove as romantic, probably because its aesthetics are vaguely European.
When you step off the escalator from the parking garage, the world of The Grove opens up to you. The road before you is paved with stone and just ahead you can see a fountain shooting jets towards the sky. People are milling about with their shopping bags and restaurant leftovers. Frank Sinatra is faintly playing above your head as you walk toward the theater and are greeted by the blue marquee that announces its name: The Grove.
You walk through the glass doors to a big, open lobby with high ceilings. Above you are beautiful chandeliers and ahead of you on your left is a wide staircase draped in red carpeting. The theater has recently undergone a renovation, which includes a swanky, art deco inspired bar, of which I became a regular patron. Since I wasn’t technically paying for my movie tickets, I saw fit to spend my savings on alcohol like any other twenty-something.
On one particularly memorable Sunday, I went to see a 3 o’clock showing of TAG,the epitome of a Moviepass movie, meaning one that I would never pay for or probably even consider without having this subscription service. I arrived early, milled about the usual stores, and then retired to the bar where I met and chatted with a few other solo Moviepassers. It was refreshing to bond with strangers over a passion that wasn’t discovered in a sports bar. One of them was even seeing TAG, so we escorted each other to the theater.
I guess what I felt like I got from Moviepass besides a blissful summer filled with rosè, a playful crush and a myriad of free movies, was a connection to my community.
Now, Moviepass is dead, and I’ve moved on with AMC’ Stubs’s answer, A-List, which is more expensive, and less diverse in both its film options and theater locations. But I’m an addict. Now that I know that movie theater subscriptions exist, I will never be able to live without one.
On the day I finally cancelled Moviepass, I was supposed to see J. Lo’s Second Act with my roommate. Her Moviepass app was functioning properly. Mine emptied out—apparently the company was changing passwords to prevent users from accessing their tickets—and wouldn’t let me see the movie. Sadly, I reached my breaking point and literally wrote it a fond farewell.
Below is my poetic dramatization of our rocky relationship.
I caught feelings for Moviepass.
Our love affair bloomed last summer—
Saturday afternoons spent at The Grove with a rosè in hand,
A smile set for the Australian bartender.
He’s from Sydney; I’m Sydney.
I grew alone; movie dates with myself,
Musings with fellow Moviepassers at the bar
Escaping the heat
An occupation of our time
We had a secret in our pocket, a grand experience.
It was all so good, too good…
But I caught feelings anyway.
Then it fell apart.
It wasn’t smart enough.
I deserved more, I know.
But I gave it another chance, and another… and another.
Then one day, it chose my roommate over me…
The ultimate rejection.
It was time to say goodbye, and it didn’t go down without a fight.
My feelings, my pride, on to fight another day
On to love again,
But I’ll never forget our blissful summer.
I’ll never forget you, Moviepass.