Dinner & a Movie: Riding Out the Zombie Apocalypse


Dinner & a Movie: Riding Out the Zombie Apocalypse

  • Dinner & a Movie: Riding Out the Zombie Apocalypse

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    All these blokes want is a fag, a pint and a secure location with which to avoid the flesh-eating zombies. Sounds reasonable, don't it?
    The Dinner A pint of Manny's, a side of edamame and a veggie bean burger at Central Cinema (1411 21st Avenue Seattle).

    The Movie Shaun of the Dead, also at Central Cinema.

    The Screenplate The engine that drives rom zom com Shaun of the Dead (that'd be "romantic zombie comedy" for the novices) is the search for the perfect hiding spot. In the movie, that ideal bunker is played by the Winchester, the lightly fortified but amply liquored pub that is the source of, and answer to, all of Shaun lead and co-writer Simon Pegg's problems in life.

    In the wake of a mysterious outbreak that turns ordinary Brits into brain-eating zombies, Pegg, an unreformed slacker, is tasked with keeping his ex, his best mate and his mum neither dead nor undead. The Winchester provides their cover, mostly because it allows them a relatively safe place to smoke and drink.

    To wit, Central Cinema is a fitting place to watch Shaun. If only because what it lacks in available nicotine it more than makes up for with drafts, (limited) plush seating and the occasional 80's movie sing-along.

    The original idea behind pairing a blood-and-guts gore-fest like Shaun with a dinner-and-a-movie viewing atmosphere like the one found at Central Cinema was simple: Is date night more interesting when you're trying to eat while simultaneously trying to avoid being grossed out?

    Unfortunately, I didn't get to test this hypothesis. Sure, I ate a little bit. Mostly the undersalted edamame and the side salad that came with my entree. But as for that veggie burger, well...

    The problem here is that I really want to like this Central Cinema. It's close to my house. It serves Manny's. It plays fantastic movies like Shaun. And it's one of the few theaters that actually encourages you to shout out lines. (It's most recent "quote-along" was for Monty Python and the Holy Grail.)

    But oh that veggie burger.

    Bone-dry and stuck between two slabs of foccacia, what little flavor the patty did have was not one you'd brag about. (Imagine sucking on a mouthful of gravel that had been soaking in liquid Dial. Sound appetizing?)

    It didn't help matters that I was sitting in one of Central Cinema's cramped back seats. Ya know those lift-up desks that were so small you hardly had enough room to bubble in the answers on your 7th-grade algebra test? That's what you'll be trying to balance a pint and a plate on if you don't get there early. (Fortune, and the Gods of Lumbar Support, favor the viewer who arrives before previews; the diner-style sofa-seating fills up early.)

    But do you really want to hear the guy who got paid to eat his meal bitch about it? Of course you don't.

    Central Cinema is still the only place I know of that has solid second-runs and offers food and drink to boot. And I still have time to test that hypothesis: Starting yesterday, Jaws is playing for a whole week. Can it's (s'posed to be delicious) stone oven pizzas stand up to Spielberg's limb-snapping shark? I'm willing to find out.

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