The Uptown Theatre

Joel Koyama, Star Tribune

Withering Glance: Thumbs up or down on Uptown Theatre redo?

  • Article by: Rick Nelson and Claude Peck
  • Star Tribune
  • December 1, 2012 - 3:41 PM

Rick Nelson and Claude Peck dispense unasked-for advice about clothing, etiquette, culture, relationships, grooming and more.

CP: Now that you finally have gotten over to the renovated Uptown Theatre for a movie, I'm guessing you may have thoughts.

RN: You bet I do, and yes, we're beating this subject to a bloody pulp, as the Yuptown occupies a very special place in the Twin Cities' cinematic firmament. Where shall we start: the good, or the bad, or the downright ugly?

CP: I don't think there's much disagreement about the good: handsome Moderne landmark avoids wrecking ball and renews lease on life as movie house in heart of lively commercial, dining and nightlife district.

RN: Agreed. I adore seeing the theater's beacon acting, once again, like Uptown's calling card. That big new screen is pretty swell, too, as is the high-fidelity digital format.

CP: Perhaps best of all are the sturdy, comfy new seats. My derrière is happier than a pothead in Boulder.

RN: I was looking for the La-Z-Boy label, seriously. The newfound legroom is another major plus. No wonder Uptown 2.0 has fewer than half the seats of its cramped predecessor.

CP: Can we go negative now? Please?

RN: Preservationists might find the new balcony stairs -- now inside the theater, rather than the lobby -- an awkward affront to the original 1939 design.

CP: Seems sad that the balcony seats -- always a primo spot to rest one's feet on the railing, even perhaps to make out -- is now over-21 only, and up-charged, since it has bar service.

RN: I'm all for the new reserved seating plan, but after waiting in line for more than 20 minutes with some uncharacteristically pushy Minnesotans -- it takes far too long for wishy-washy moviegoers to select their seats -- I learned a valuable lesson: Purchase online.

CP: Yes. We bought online tickets for "The Sessions," and thus were able to bypass the queue, head straight in and see Helen Hunt get naked, I dunno, nine times.

RN: I should have looked so good at age 49.

CP: But the Uptown's lobby? So hurtful to the eyes.

RN: The password is hideous. Those limes and oranges had to have been selected from the Sunday Comics section at Hirshfield's, and the harsh lighting doesn't do bald men -- or, let's face it, the vast majority of Caucasians -- any favors.

CP: Second that emotion. I guess the floor is stone of some kind, but stone that was handpicked to mimic linoleum? Seems like $2 million doesn't get you much these days.

RN: Sometimes I wonder if there is no pleasing us. I mean, the staff seemed to be extra-nice, the restrooms no longer resemble the "before" pictures on "Bath Crashers," and those of legal age can enjoy a local craft beer while trying to discern what Anna sees in that twerp Vronsky in "Anna Karenina."

CP: There you go, selling your approval for the price of a cocktail, like a salted peanut.

E-mail: Follow on Twitter: @claudepeck and @RickNelsonStrib

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