Nashville And Its Surroundings
Nashville, Tennessee, is the world capital of country western music. Every year in June, the city hosts a beautiful "Country Music Fan Fair", organized for the fans, and invites many of country music's biggest stars.
Downtown Nashville is different from most American cities : the skyscrapers are scarce, and people walk safely along the many bars (most with a live band at night), restaurants, music and souvenir stores... Hard Rock Cafe, Planet Hollywood and Nascar Cafe are also there.
But there is not a single movie theater left downtown, not even a building looking like a former movie theater. All nineteen complexes are located all over the city.
These complexes are rather classical, offering four to sixteen screens. The two major operators are Regal Cinemas and Carmike Cinemas. The Cinema North the only dollar cinema in town.
It happened everywhere, and it happened in Nashville. Regal Cinemas opened the "Hollywood 27", a 27-screen multiplex, with stadium seating, curved screens, Dolby Digital, DTS and SDDS sound, each auditorium can accomodate from 100 to 450 viewers. The lobby is decent, but not huge, and it hosts a small video arcade. First shows start at noon.
The theater is in the heart of a large mall, the "100 Oaks Mall", which also hosts the "Media Store", a large store selling CDs, videos, DVDs, software and books. Major movies are played in three or four auditoriums, but one of them is often small, and no sign will warn you about this, so you will be better off asking before buying your ticket.
This beautiful complex is very successful, and its busy parking lot scares many during week-ends.
Tennessee has only a few large cities, and is essentially a rural state. I decided to spend a day driving and stop as much as possible to have a look at some nice small towns.
Franklin looks like a lovely small town set in the middle of nowhere, but it is not. It is lovely, but not very far away from Nashville, and it is almost part of its suburbs. The sidewalks, large and shaded by many trees, and numerous stores make you want to spend a few hours in the town. There is a two-screen movie theater on Main Street, the "Franklin Cinema".
Theater 2 was made in the next-door building (left on the photo of the front), which was completely emptied. Even if the sound is Dolby stereo, the screen is small and too high.
The place cannot compete with multiplexes when it comes to viewing James Cameron's latest movie, but it is friendly, we even get some little extras like Dolby Digital sound. The cinema still lives despite two complexes located near the town limits, the Carmike Cinemas Williamson Square 8, and the Carmike Cinemas Galleria Cool Springs 10. But theater 2 needs remodelling, like maybe stadium seating and a larger curved screen...
Many thanks to Rusty and Henry for their warm welcome!
We are further South. This is the country, crossed by a freeway. We only see tiny villages, and a few small towns. Lewisburg is one of them. Its movie theater is gone, but the building is still there, and does not seem to have changed. Shows replaced the movies, and the place looks still alive. The name "Dixie" can still be seen on the marquee. Near the town, a drive-in cinema, the Hi-Way 50. Otherwise, you need to drive twenty miles to Columbia and its eleven-screen theater, the Shady Brooks 11 Cinemas.
Further South again and close to Alabama, we arrived in Fayetteville after a difficult drive through one of the worst storms I had ever seen (we usually don't get that kind of weather in Europe...); Fayetteville is a nice and really typical small town. In the center of the town, the main plaza is lively, and offers an American-Graffiti-style diner, a pool-room, several stores, and the Lincoln Twin Theatres, with its beautiful blue front. The theater is closed this afternoon, and we won't learn anything more... Anyway, we still had to drive back to Nashville, to get a couple of beers and some live music from our favorite bars before flying back to Paris the next day...