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The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

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The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

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A night of 1930s luxury at the State Theatre for ‘The Grand Budapest hotel’ opening

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As I walked into the State Theatre of Modesto last Friday evening, all dolled up and ready to go, I felt like absolute royalty – from the 1930s that is.
Once guests opened the doors to the grand opening night party for Wes Anderson’s film “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” they were greeted by a concierge dressed the part in a red get-up along with a drawn-on mustache. A lady dressed up as a maid was also there to greet “the hotel guests” with sweet compliments.
“The film lends itself to a grand party since it’s set in 1932 (The State Theatre opened in 1934),” Sue Richardson, the theatre’s executive director, said.  “It’s a period piece, which our patrons love; it’s a great excuse to dress up, which our patrons also love; and it was easy to visualize the props for turning the theatre’s lobby into the lobby of The Grand Budapest.”
At the end of the red carpet, a large backdrop featuring the picturesque hotel was hanging from the ceiling. The backdrop was surrounded by vintage decor which made you feel as if you were entering The Grand Budapest Hotel. Guests were encouraged to pose in front of the backdrop for a complimentary photo which was available online the next day. Even the staff behind the concession stand counter were fit for the occasion. Each looked like they’d stepped out of a picture from the 1930s, and all donned the signature drawn-on mustache of Zero, the lobby boy in the film.
At the concession stand, guests could purchase classic movie candies and beverages. Alcoholic beverages were also served for those who were of age. Although, the sparkling apple cider my friends and I ordered tasted a little more like giggle water than Martinelli’s. Let’s just say it was definitely not sparkling cider. Someone had made a slight mistake.
After we ordered our drinks, we made our way into the theatre.  It was full.  By the time the film started, almost every seat was filled by patrons fitted in grandiose attire.
“The turnout was phenomenal, plus we turned away another 200,” Richardson said. “For this relatively small, nonprofit theatre to hold and successfully host 460 people was quite a feat, but it was a success, judging from the comments at the door as people left.”
Waiters made their way around the theatre with silver trays of delicious hors d’oeuvres. Macaroni and cheese with truffle oil, chicken skewers, salmon topped crackers and creamy stuffed mushrooms were the cat’s meow of the night. Thankfully they had plenty to go around for those who wanted seconds, thirds or even fourths if you’re like me.
And I can’t forget about the popcorn. The waiters also passed around tiny brown bags of tasty, movie-theatre popcorn before the movie even started.
While everyone munched on their popcorn, an older gentleman sat at a piano to the left of the stage playing, and singing, classic jazz tunes. His music even got a couple of lovebirds up and dancing.
Once the clock hit 7:30 p.m., it was time for the movie to begin.  Wes Anderson’s films are well-known for their unique images and his storytelling style. And he didn’t disappoint.
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” is set in the 1930s and follows the concierge of a famous hotel, Gustave H., along with his lobby boy, Zero, on their adventure after stealing a priceless painting. This epic comedy’s mise on scène is breathtaking. Bright colored sets fill the screen, characters talk directly into the camera as if they are looking at you and scenic shots of the fictional Eastern European Republic of Zubrowka are too dreamy to be true.
The audience gasped and cheered throughout the movie, responding to the events happening on the screen. For the most part, laughs filled the theatre until we all thought our darling Agatha, Zero’s love interest, was the victim of a tragedy.
Once the movie ended, we all gave a round of applause for the stunning work we had just seen. It was a grand night to say the least.
“Not seeing films here means that people are not experiencing a significant art form that can be not only entertaining but transformative,” Richardson said. “We don’t show blockbusters; we show art, foreign, independent and classic films, so this is the best in cinema. These films are about exposure to other views, other worlds and, at the very least, they’re stories beautifully told and through a medium that’s as relevant today as it was 50 years ago.”
As we stepped foot outside, we weren’t just walking away from the theatre, we were walking away from a divine evening well-spent in the golden 1930s.The State Theatre is continuing to show “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” without the grand party, from now until April 26. More information and tickets can be found at thestate.org.

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A night of 1930s luxury at the State Theatre for ‘The Grand Budapest hotel’ opening