BY ALL ACCOUNTS Farewell to Foundry, Farewell to D.C. Culture

Farewell, ye olde Foundry. We loved thee well, though apparently not well enough.

On Monday, March 11, the Cineplex Odeon Foundry closed its doors forever, putting an end to movie theaters in Georgetown and $3 films. The seven theaters that occupied the basement space of the Foundry building are now a veritable ghost world, haunted by the films they screened so well.

Right now I’m staring forlornly at a ticket stub from that last day, when I went to the final showing of Mulholland Drive – the final showing of anything. Three of us showed up to watch the film and all of us would have gone back. If we could have.

There’s something cruel and illogical about the Foundry’s failure – and the theater’s management blames the closing on poor attendance. Sure, it was a second-run theater, but it was the only theater in Georgetown, the movies were cheaper than rentals and there was always something decent playing.

Some of my favorite films this year made it to the Foundry, The an Who Wasn’t There, Mulholland Drive, Donnie Darko, Ghost World and The Endurance all graced the subterranean movie complex.

If there were any justice, Georgetown students alone should have supported the continued operation of the theater. Instead, Champs and Rhino will continue to litter the world with their disgusting presence.

It’s more amazing, though, that the whole of D.C. could not support the theater enough to merit its continued existence. There are plenty of times that I sat alone or nearly so watching a film that should have been required viewing.

The Foundry supported special-interest programming, participating in a number of D.C.-area film festivals, including the fabulous FilmFest D.C. Say goodbye to the days that those festivals and their cultural benefits are within easy access of Georgetown. Maybe they’ll even be tougher to hold in D.C., as the first-run theaters won’t want to lose a weekend of their dreadful but popular drivel.

Truth is, everyone has different ways to spend their “free” time. For some people, it’s Snood and Internet browsing. For others, it’s long, slow walks in the bitter cold. For me, it’s watching movies.

I have other things that I do, including but not limited to schoolwork, but there is nothing I enjoy more than watching and thinking about good films. Some of my best walks were coming back from the Foundry after a really good film.

Some savvy investor will likely turn the theater space into a nightclub or a bar or some equally successful business venture. He or she will make gobs of cash, which will turn into oodles of cash as construction wraps up along the waterfront. At some point, O.J. Simpson’s nightclub tour will bring him there and he will delight the crowd, indeed.

But by then, no one will notice anything is wrong – all of Washington’s cultural institutions will have closed their doors and boxed-up their treasures.

By All Accounts appears every Friday in The Hoya. The author can be reached at haggertythehoya.com.

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