What was a bored Prinevillian to do? Enter the Mehrabi family. Recent transplants from the Willamette Valley, the Mehrabis dared to take on threats of rambunctious teens and long meetings with fire inspectors. They purchased the property and executed an extensive (and expensive) renovation, opening the historic venue just in time for the holiday season. Suddenly, town folk found themselves saying "let's go see a movie" for the first time in 20 years. Merry Christmas, indeed.
A visit to the Pine Theater is a treat; a throw-back to the movie-going experience of yore. For instance, the Pine is the only downtown movie house in all of Central Oregon. Locals can walk or bike to the entrance without having to dodge SUVs piloted by cell-phone laden Talbots shoppers.
Once inside, moviegoers will notice the unique pricing structure. All tickets, all shows, all ages: six dollars. Amble over to the concession counter where no snack costs over three dollars. For you Math Counts alumni out there, you have just secured movie night for under ten bucks.
Patrons enter the theater through a set of custom upholstered doors adorned with pine trees in silhouette. The theater walls are accented with reclaimed pine molding, and the ceiling is supported by enormous timber beams-undoubtedly products of one of the local mills. The Pine only offers one or two first-run films each week, so audiences are surprisingly diverse no matter what genre is playing. Subsequently, hands wave in the air constantly, as patrons recognize old friends and catch up on gossip.
The film begins when the last ticket is sold, because the ticket dude is also the projectionist dude (didn't he sell me my popcorn, too?). Then something magical happens, rather, doesn't happen. Missing is that god-awful string of ads you're forced to sit through - ala "A Clockwork Orange" - until you've forgotten what you've come to see. Viva the independent theater!
The Pine Theater is the little theater that could, and does. Next time you find yourself in downtown Prineville with a ten-dollar bill, don't miss the opportunity to take in Crook County's newest old-school pastime. And don't worry about those pesky teenagers that were blamed for the demise of the original Pine Theater. No sign of them yet. However, the marquee advertising the Will Smith action flick "Hancock" mysteriously lost the first three letters of its name.