I FOUND it astounding that some people said they have never set foot inside the only place which offers hours of solace and relaxation for people regardless of ethnicity and age—the Hollywood Theater in San Jose.
I thought that was just a running joke, until one day when I dragged a buddy to watch one movie which I had been waiting for a long time and right in the middle when I was totally lost in the movie, he poked me in the side and confessed that it was his first time be inside Hollywood for his 10 years of being here.
Another friend who has been here for over 25 years said she also has never set foot inside the theater but would rather rent DVDs and watch movies from home.
I had been on Saipan but two months when I took the chance to see what this island had to offer in terms of theater entertainment. The name Hollywood would astound any newcomer of course but although there’s no comparison from the theaters back in the Philippines, the seven-screen multiplex located next to Price Costco or Joeten Superstore has eased a lot of ‘bad hair days’ for me and a lot of residents here.
The Hollywood Theater screens the latest first-run movies and I always had to curb the urge to watch on the first day because several times I’ve tried sitting at the topmost row where you can barely stretch your feet, and at the very front where you will get stiff neck afterward and come out of the theater dazed because of a very close encounter with the actors on the screen.
Watching movies perched in your sofa or from your bed is a good option because you can do it wearing house clothes or just a bathrobe, where you have the power to pause the movie if you want to have a restroom break or a few minutes nap but going to the theater is a totally different experience.
Opening the glass doors after you bought your ticket and inhaling the smell of popcorn is bliss, but carrying a huge bucket to munch on throughout the movie is priceless.
The Hollywood Theater is Saipan’s meeting place of kids and parents, friends and relatives especially during the weekends. It is one place here where I never hesitate to watch movies alone and still feel at ease, something I could never imagine doing back in the Philippines. This usually happens when my companions and I don’t agree with what movies to watch so we go our separate ways and meet up after.
When you feel the need to relax, steal an hour or two and make the Hollywood Theater your destination. Try the fun of hopping from one movie to the next when you have the luxury of time.