Determined to bring more sanity and pleasure into my life, a couple of months ago I started taking Thursday nights off from my family. I’d set off to a café or a bookstore and spend the evening letting life unfold—a little like it did before kids came along. Early into this new habit, I started spending many a Thursday evening at the .
Long before there was a Culver Pacific Multiplex downtown—or a Landmark Theater at the Westside Pavilion—there was this dinky little mom and pop movie theater on Washington Boulevard. Like so many good things in Culver City, it was unpretentious, friendly and a little bit from another time.
And yet, The Culver Plaza has undoubtedly seen better days. Unlike at other local theaters, there are no reclining leather sofas, no credit card machines and no gourmet snacks. But at $8 a ticket (and $6 for matinees), the price is always right and the variety of second-run and independent movies always interesting. In recent years, it’s even been the only place on the Westside to see Bollywood flicks on the big screen.
Despite these charms, The Culver Plaza is not for everyone. A glance at reviews on Yelp yields a sometimes hilarious overview of how different people have responded to its distinct character. Some moviegoers have thought the place was “awful” or a “dump,” complaining about problems with projection and sound. Others, like myself, have thoroughly enjoyed the low-tech ambiance, convenient parking and lack of razzle-dazzle. Not to mention those peeling murals.
And yet, in the immortal words of the film Bull Durham: “The management’s decided to make a change.”
In this case, it’s not the management of the theater, but the management of the building that’s decided The Culver Plaza’s days are numbered. Plans are in the works to convert the building into condos, and one theater employee I asked said the theater’s last show will be on Sunday. Of course, another said screens will go dark on Dec. 11, and yet another thought the theater might be open into next year.
Surprisingly—or not—the staff doesn’t seem too sad to see the place go. The loyal patrons may be another story. So if you're a fan, buy a ticket as soon as you can, check out a (somewhat) recent release and say your good-byes.
The Culver Plaza will soon be no more.