Brought to you by… pure chance!
I understand how easy it would have been to simply plop down on my couch with my hubby and put Amelie in a DVD player. That would have been a quick tick on the ol’ faithful bucket list. I had bigger plans in mind though.
There’s a beautiful historic theater in the heart of downtown and this is where I wanted to make memories of the 186th item on my list. I am in love with this theater for many reasons.
The architecture is to die for, maybe literally, because you know… ghosts. As well as a massive organ that comes from the stage, and as I’ve mentioned, the most wondrous deep purple sky that has twinkling stars the entire time your movie, show, or play is on. There is a lingering hint of nostalgia due to taking many elementary school field trips to see a live Peter Pan play. I never forgot how mesmerizing the faux night sky with twinkling stars is.
The theater has been around since 1926 and the second you walk inside, you can tell. From the outdoor kiosk, to the lobby, to the theater itself, you can smell the history. You can’t miss the theater from the outside either – especially at nighttime. Dispersed in the center of skyscrapers, you can be drawn in to the little corner of Tampa with the twinkle of a bright marquee blade sign that shines “Tampa Theater”. There are immeasurable details scattered within the walls, in the balcony, in the ceiling, and on the stage. It is nearly impossible to take it all in. For example, you can find an old-fashioned phone embedded in a column of the wall and guarded by gargoyles.
The reason I mention ghosts is because the Tampa Theater is regularly apart of Tampa’s ghost tours. The theater can sometimes be eerie but that’s where a lot of the charm comes from and it definitely makes the experience that much better.
They offer many diverse ticket stubs to go in your back pocket. Two years ago, I went to see It’s a Wonderful Life a couple of days before Christmas along with a Christmas series they were showing. Lately they’ve shown 80’s movies, classics, Halloween movies, shorts, holiday classics, and so much more. Then that’s when they happened to throw in a single French film for my liking.
I spent hours on no end for months sporadically checking the website and constantly refreshing in hopes for a foreign film to play. I even emailed the management office and asked when/if they would play another foreign film. A few days ago I made a random instinctual decision to check the showings and to my surprise I saw the words “in French, with English subtitles”. I freaked out in excitement and a bonus for being in French. I am obsessed with French culture and one of my biggest dreams is to go to France. This sprouted from a twinkle in my eye once upon a time ago in my high school French classes. I even remembered some of the words! (Fraises for strawberries, the obvious je t’aime for I love you, and à tout à l’heure).
The movie we had the pleasure of viewing was an indie flick by the name of Deux jours, une nuit or Two Days, One Night. It was directed by award-winning brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne. It was about a woman recovering from a depression and sick leave, fighting for her job upon her return. Her boss figured the company could survive on sixteen employees and they were forced to vote on either her keeping her job or them keeping their bonuses. She had the weekend (hence the title) to visit each one and convince them to choose her on the re-ballot Monday morning. Some of them were jerks, some were kind-hearted souls, but each provided her with a different insight and reaction. Her husband and kids help her and she battles falling back into depression the entire time. They new vote is cast and the outcome is shown with a few twists. In the end, she ends up happy, and that’s all that matters right?
Despite a less than pleasing ending, I had so much fun walking around the dark, empty, red velvet corridors, laughing and looking for ghosts with my favorite person. We sat on the high balcony with one other set of people so we were able to cut up and make jokes without disturbing anyone. We did so and had fun as if we were on a first date. Kissing like we were dating, sharing popcorn and laughing with each other in genuine bliss, with Village Inn on our mind when the movie ended – it easily lands on my list of favorite recent bucket list adventures, even though it wasn’t necessarily a big one.