Best Neighborhood Movie Theater to See a Blockbuster - 2012
Perched where Hollywood Boulevard hits Sunset, the Vista Theater has a 90-year history as checkered as the surrounding neighborhood (including a stint in the '70s as a porn house). Owner Lance Alspaugh has plowed $1 million into renovating the theater while keeping its vintage charm, including the Egyptian art deco decor. Its commitment to 35mm (despite a recent upgrade to digital) has won the Vista some famous cinephile fans; Quentin Tarantino (who owns his own theater, the New Beverly Cinema) pulled strings to ensure the Vista would carry his upcoming Django Unchained. But the real reason to catch a flick at the Vista is manager Victor Martinez. The genial Guatemalan has been slipping into costume for opening weekend for at least 10 years, sporting looks from Captain Jack Sparrow to Wolverine. The Vista's 50-foot screen and Dolby sound mean you'll enjoy Hollywood's latest offering in style, but it's the look on an 8-year-old kid's face as Batman himself tears his ticket that'll make your night. 4473 Sunset Blvd., Los Feliz. (323) 660-6639, vintagecinemas.com/vista.