The Rest of the Best: Houston's Top 10 Movie Theaters (With and Without Dinner)
Before we start the list, we want to make a few things clear. Our concept of "best" isn't just the fanciest or the most plush. We're evaluating the overall movie-going experience, not the building. We looked at several factors, including crowds, physical setting, cost, concessions (having full in-theater service wasn't a huge factor for this list) and selection of films. Some theaters made our list because they have fun crowds and a low-key atmosphere (translation: they are loud and nobody freaks if your kids spills a soda). Some theaters made our list because the crowds are a little more restrained and the ambiance more chic-chic (translation: the movie might be in French and the popcorn costs a lot).
Good snacks at reasonable prices is near the top of our list of must-haves when we choose a movie theater.
And finally, no, non-profit or micro-cinemas such as the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston or Rice Cinema are not included here. That's a completely different type of movie-going experience ... and we might add, a completely different list.
10. Cinemark Tinseltown 290
12920 Northwest Freeway, 800-326-3264
You know who wants to go to a noisy, loud movie theater where people talk and (gasp!) text during the film? Other people who are noisy and loud, and who talk and text during the film. We admit that we usually like our movie theaters quiet but we know everyone isn't the same and some films invite more interaction than others. (We saw a horror film here recently and despite the audience's most earnest instructions to characters to "Run!" it still ended the same.) Of all the theaters that attract such a crowd, Cinemark Tinseltown continues to offer the cleanest, most comfortable environment. It also has low admission prices, good concessions offerings, plenty of space, a safe parking lot and a good selection of the more popular films.
We admit there's one more reason we like AMC 290 - a few years ago a snake got loose in the theater, forcing it to close down while a search party looked for it. It was never found. Rumor is it's been spotted once or twice since. (That would be worth texting about!)
15900 Yorktown Crossing Dr, 281-493-0390
8. Cinema Latino
2233 Southmore Ave, Pasadena, 888-588-2463
The two theaters at our number nine and eight spots, FunAsia and Cinema Latino, have a lot of the same qualities. If you want to see first run foreign language films, these two theaters should be on your list to visit.
FunAsia recently changed locations and its new digs are inviting, though not especially architecturally exciting. The theater has a Bollywood lineup with new releases in Hindi, Telugu, Tamil and some English on the schedule. It's a comfortable environment (though it can get crowded for primetime screens of the most popular films). Expect a more varied concessions stand and take advantage of the theater's budget-friendly prices during the week.
Like FunAsia, Cinema Latino also offers first run foreign language films as wells dubbed or subtitled versions of all the latest American releases. It also has an expanded concessions stand and can get crowded during prime time screenings.