Things to do in Austin: Alamo Drafthouse

When we talked to locals about things to do in Austin, one thing that kept coming up was Alamo Drafthouse.  I asked myself, how good could a movie theater be that everyone keeps talking about it? Giving it the benefit of the doubt, I went online and checked what was showing. It was my favorite John Travolta movie! Face/Off!


If you haven’t seen this and you like corny action movies with ridiculous explosions, Face/Off is right up your alley.  I don’t want to give up too much of this complex plot away, but two men switch faces. Explosions! Crazy Nic Cage being Crazy. John Travolta playing Nic Cage.  It’s everything I could ever ask for in a popcorn movie.

So of course, we went to Alamo Drafthouse to watch Face/Off. We bought our tickets at the lobby and walked into the theater. The seats were large and roomy with a little table in front that holds the menu, the order sheets, and any food or drinks that are brought.  I thought that having a server going through the theater would be distracting, but it wasn’t.  Before the beginning of the movie, a server comes through, explains everything and gives you a chance to write down your order if you know beforehand. If you want something in the middle of the movie or a refill, just write your order on the sheet of paper and place it vertically on the stand on your table and a server will whisk it away and return with the goods.

But that’s not the only thing that made Alamo Drafthouse awesome. There were in-theater pyrotechnics! So they weren’t exactly like Backdraft from Universal Studios, but there were enough flames shooting out of the flame thrower thing during explosions in the movie and enough confetti exploding everywhere to make the visit worth it.  It was a nice surprise and upped the cornball factor of the movie.

As for the food, it wasn’t half bad based on what I tried. I got some fries and queso and Will got popcorn. He claimed his popcorn was too salty. Maybe that’s how they get you to not take advantage of endless popcorn. I liked that it came in a stainless steel bowl, for that “I just made popcorn at home” experience.  My fries were perfectly crisp, hot, and the queso was trashy in a convenience-store way.

Alamo Drafthouse is definitely worth visiting, especially if you don’t want to brave the puke smell of going to a crappy college bar on dirty 6th, but want to do something fun during a night out.

Alamo Drafthouse
Several locations in Austin

Indie Game The Movie

Despite all the drama about the indie “rock star” developers, Indie Game The Movie is still an enjoyable movie.  It made me nostalgic about those early days of LAN parties, nerdy guys in gamer shirts, and the camaraderie of old CoJ (RIP CoJ forum TFC servers!).

What I especially liked about the movie (other than the great soundtrack by Jim Guthrie) is that it’s available for download through all sorts of means and is even DRM free.  Now there’s some people who finally get it.

The movie did inspire me to dig out Super Meat Boy on my computer and try to finish it.

The Adjustment Bureau

I’m always up for a thriller starring Matt Damon, so when The Adjustment Bureau came out, I was excited to see it. In preparation of watching the movie, I read the incredibly short story it was based on by Philip K. Dick called The Adjustment Team. The bare-bones story set up the premise for the movie and without going into spoiler-land, I’ll just say that The Adjustment Bureau is more like a story about different characters in the same world than a straight adaptation.

With that in mind, I still had some complaints about the movie. The imagery of the short story (people dissolving like sand castles, for example) was more powerful than what happens in the movie. Although reading the short story made me think about fate and the absence of free will, I thought the movie treated those subjects with an extremely heavy hand and all the religious angles in it were unnecessary.

Despite these complaints, the movie was entertaining. John Slattery was awesome even though he was pretty much Roger Sterling in the whole movie. Emily Blunt was adorable as usual. And Matt Damon was very Matt Damon-like.