"You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self[...]and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness."~Ephesians 4:22-24
In the heart of my tiny town is the one and only Janss movie theater. Back in my middle school years when the Janss was at its prime, this was the only place to go for midnight showings. Groups gathered early to wait in the line that snaked its way into the dark alleyway behind Quiznos hours before they would even allow you in to buy concessions. They had those standard movie seats from the 90’s where they try to squeeze in as many rows and people as possible, which is great for a midnight showing full of middle schoolers, who still don’t have cell phones yet, so they are content with just about anything. Those were the days.
But times they began to change. Ipods, Camera Phones, Blackberries, Redbox, High School, OnDemand Movies, Iphone, Amazon, ByeBye Blockbuster, College, Netflix...
About 8 years ago during my freshman year of college something amazing, yet tragic happened in Thousand Oaks. Muvico: a palatial cineplex that hearkened back to the Golden Age of Hollywood full of glitz, glamorous reserved seating, an over 21 second story that served alcoholic beverages, plush velvet seats in stadium formation. You especially knew it was great because the price for a ticket was like a million dollars. But it was so beautiful that people were willing to pay that much to just experience the luxury of eating chicken fingers while watching Twilight.
The tragic part was what happened to the Janss. See, Muvico opened up literally across the street, which wasn’t all that great for business. Granted the Janss hadn’t been doing too well on its own either. Since the magical days of middle school, the Janss began to go down hill. Those seats from the 90s were starting to squeak, the popcorn was growing stale, and the purple carpet with yellow stars was fading to a sickly hue. As soon as Muvico opened its doors, the Janss became a ghost town.
Midnight showing seats were booked in advance at Muvico, so there was no hassle to wait outside in dark alleyways any more. Our group could stroll in at midnight, and order our mozzarella sticks in peace without fear of haggling over seats with the creepy, blonde-wigged Malfoys next to us. The Janss appeared to be on its way out. I am no business major, but if no one is coming to your business, I feel like you might be out of business.
Years passed, but one day about six months ago, as I Googled movie showtimes for Finding Dory, I noticed that the Janss Regal Cinema appeared on my screen. Hmm.. Regal. From what I remember of the Janss, there certainly wasn’t anything regal about it. But the movie’s time at the Janss worked better for my family’s schedule, so we decided to risk it.
We parked in the structure, walked through the classic alleyway behind the Quiznos, that is now a Subway, and emerged in the newly renovated, refurbished, redeemed Janss Regal Cinema.
The outside remains the exact same--faded, a little worn down--but on the inside, man, did it go through a transformation. May I just list for you exactly what amenities this miracle has to offer:
Choose Your Own Seats. I know. I know. They all do nowadays. But still, they got with the times.
Cheap Tickets! Not a million dollars like at the palace.
Cheap Concessions! Way less expensive than any other movie theater I have been to.
For example, Popcorn, Drink, Candy, Pretzel Bites*=$24. Is this heaven?
FROZEN JUNIOR MINTS. Enough said.
Pretzel Bites* Sooo worth it!
Regal Rewards Program. You get legitimate discounts.
And we haven’t even stepped into the theaters:
RECLINING LEATHER SEATS--the most comfortable movie theater chairs I have ever sat in. I want one for my living room.
Real Nostalgia. You can tell it’s an old theater that has been upgraded, but that’s part of its beauty. It is not a new theater made to look old. Its history, its scars, its wears and tears are present, but there is also a newness about it.
Many of my friends can attest that I get way too excited when talking about the Janss movie theater. And no, they aren’t compensating me in pretzel bites and Junior Mints for every kind word I write about them even though I wish they were.
But, I think the reason I like this place so much is it reminds me that old things can be made new again.
I believe in a God who uses worn down, out-of-luck people and makes them into new and beautiful creations. When I turned to Jesus and decided to put my faith in Him, He began a work in me. My life was rotting in sin, my selfishness squeaked like an old chair, my obsessive worldliness was unappealing, yet Jesus exchanged my rotting, squeaky, unappealing nature and gave me His whole, beautiful, REGAL robes of righteousness when He took my place on the cross. I deserved death, foreclosure, bankruptcy; but instead, He paid the ultimate price for my life to be made new again. So I delight in my newness and I delight even in the imperfections that my Renovator continues to point out, because I am confident that He who has begun a good work in me will carry it on to completion until the day Christ returns.
I can't wait for that day, but until then you can catch me in one of those new chairs at the Janss Regal Cinema.
I'll save you a junior mint :)