From the back row: Your guide to movie theaters

Desperate for entertainment but tired of listening to the public rants of local street preachers? It’s time for a night at the movies! But where to go with so many choices? Look no further. Here is the ultimate guide to movie theaters around campus. From the cushiest seats to the worst audience, these are the theaters to check out.

Regal Theaters, $6.25 student, $8.75 general admission,

Fox Tower Stadium 10, S.W. Park and Taylor, 503-225-5555, Ext. 4604.

Just half a dozen blocks north of Portland State University is the Fox Tower Theater. The Fox abounds with plush, comfortable seats arranged stadium style so short people can finally see the screen. Fox Tower shows most of the usual blockbusters, but is not opposed to throwing a good foreign film in the mix every once in a while. The Fox has one big problem, though: long lines. Unless you plan on getting tickets ahead of time or like to wait in line and be accosted by the usual sidewalk performers, this is the theater best frequented on weekday afternoons, when regular people (read: working schmucks) are at the office. Fox wins both the “Best Weekday Theater” and “Best Seating” titles.

Pioneer Place Stadium 6, 340 S.W. Morrison, 800-326-3264.

The newest theater in town, the Pioneer is also the highest up. Located on the fourth floor of the Pioneer Place shopping center, this theater boasts new movies in a neo-modernistic design setting. The new staff doesn’t seem to be adjusting to their surroundings very well, however, as they have quite a few problems in streamlining the ticketing process. Will the blockbusters and hip atmosphere make this theater worth visiting? There is still time to change the future of the “Worst Staff” but “Most Likely to Have That New Car Smell” theater.

Koin Center 6, S.W. Third and Clay, 503-225-5555, Ext. 4608.

The Koin is tucked away in the corner of the Koin Center building downtown. It is an easy theater to dismiss; there never seem to be enough interesting movies playing there and one rarely comes across it on a relaxing afternoon stroll around town, making it easily forgotten. The Koin quickly redeems itself, however: a line of more than about four people is rare, even for a weekend, and it usually shows at least one movie that other theaters seem to overlook in their quest for viewers. Watching movies at the Koin is like watching them at home with a few friends (and your very own armrest). The Koin wins “Most Private Theater,” thereby making it the “Most Make-Out Friendly Theater.

Broadway Metroplex 4, 1000 Broadway, 503-225-5555, Ext. 4607.

The attraction of the Broadway is a mystery to this lowly moviegoer. The theater is consistently packed on weekends, has incredibly limited movie options and offers seating arrangements that encourage all short people to flock to the nearest theater with stadium seating. This theater has featured all of the following films: “Scooby-Doo,” “SwimFan” and “Austin Powers in Goldmember.” I wonder if “Gigli” played there? “Most Crowded-for-No-Apparent-Reason Theater” and for you lusty frat boys, “Biggest Population of High School Girls.”

Independent Theaters

Cinema 21, 616 N.W. 21st, 503-223-4515, $6 student, $7 general admission,

Cinema 21’s biggest attraction factor is that it is never crowded with mindless youth trying to see which stupid teen movie is going to be over in time for them to make their curfew (? la the Broadway theater). This theater is always teeming with (seemingly intelligent though tragically hip) northwest 20-somethings who actually care about the movie, not just about their date. Bottom line: People get the jokes here. “Best Theater Atmosphere” but “Creakiest Theater Seating.”

Fifth Avenue Cinema, 510 S.W. Hall, 503-725-4470, $3 student/$2 PSU, $4 general admission.


This theater is a common choice for those of us who are broke, which describes most college students. It offers great discounts for second-run movies, even though they seem to be randomly chosen and often ancient (and not necessarily in a good way). But if you would rather spend your last few bucks on a movie, any movie, than on a latte (tough decision, I know), this is the place to go. Fliers are always up around campus showing the weekend films. “Most Student/Wallet-Friendly Theater.”

Northwest Film Center: The Guild Theatre, S.W. Ninth and Taylor/Whitsell Auditorium, 1219 S.W. Park, 503-221-1156, $6 student, $7 general admission,

Both theaters show all sorts of fascinating (though some would say boring) films. From documentaries to foreign films, the Northwest has even been known to show independent movies about independent movies! This wins the them the title of 퀌�Most Redundant yet Alternative Showings.퀌�

The Clinton Street Theater, 2522 S.E. Clinton, 503-238-8899, $4 students, $6 general admission, and $4 general admission on Tuesdays.

The Clinton is an interesting theater, featuring a large stage in front of the screen, which comes in handy for every Saturday’s showing of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” at midnight. Unfortunately, it also houses a terrible setup for ticket and concession buying, lining everyone up in a narrow space, making it hard to socialize or get around while waiting. Happily, though, there are all sorts of events that let the audience get nice and loud. So get all dressed up and visit the theater with the “Crappiest Concession Stand” but “Rowdiest Crowd,” if you’re into that sort of thing.

McMenamins Theater Pubs, $3 general admission,

Bagdad Theater, 3702 S.E. Hawthorne, 503-225-5555, Ext. 8830, 21+.

The Bagdad plays films that have been out a while but serves alcoholic beverages while doing it! Go on, be a true Portlandite and drink (overpriced) Pabst Blue Ribbon in public. At least the movie is cheap. “Coolest Old-School Theater Sign.”

Mission Theater, 1624 N.W. Glisan, 503-223-4031, 21+.

The Mission has cheap movies and expensive beer. But can you really afford to miss out on the opportunity to commit the (venial? cardinal? mortal?!) sin of getting drunk in a building that used to be a church? It’s up to you. Just remember to go to confession after the movie, and sit in the balcony seats for the best view at the “Most Guilt-Inducing Theater.”