It may just be that I love movies (especially when the days are grey), but the American Film Institute has the best movie watching experience to be found in the city.
The AFI Silver in Silver Spring takes pride in doing things just the right way. They show good movies (read: arts and sure-fire Oscar winners) in beautiful theaters (very clean, big comfy seats, small enough to cut down on that cavernous feeling you get at the Regal Gallery Place in Chinatown. And you will never feel like you didn’t get your money’s worth.
With three theaters, the AFI is constantly showing something you want to see. And if you’re lucky, your feature will be showing in Theater 1, the huge art deco-styled theater, replete with fanciful crown molding all over the ceiling. You may start to feel like you’re seeing that Hitchcock movie during its original run.
There are two ways to go at the AFI: first run or classic. The first runs are art movies. Right now they have Black Swan, Blue Valentine, and The Social Network is being brought back. The classics are part of some retrospective. Until April there will be a run of Ginger Rogers movies. My favorites in the past have been John Hughes films, Dustin Hoffman, and Orson Wells. No matter how obscure they are, there’s someone out there who loves each movie. Which is what separates the AFI from other theaters–it plays to the individual, not the crowd.
Besides the movie watching experience, there is the atmosphere. Instead of overpriced junior mints and popcorn dripping with butter (though you could probably still get them if you wanted), you’ll find wine and imported beers (Hoegarrden on tap! Hooray!) as well as gourmet hot dogs. And for Valentine’s the bar offers Champagne splits for $12.
The theater is an easy walk from the Silver Spring metro. Pick a rainy day and go!