It may not have been very glamorous, but the old UA 5 on Mendocino Avenue for many years was Santa Rosa’s premier movie theater. From the first movie I ever saw there (Three Amigos, if memory serves) to the hog-wild, anarchistic Midnight Movies of 2001 (Blazing Saddles, A Clockwork Orange, I was always too drunk to remember any others), it seemed, to those of us who grew up in a certain era, that UA 5 would never, ever die. But in 2002 it finally did just that, closing its doors and leaving a sentimental collage of moviegoing memories in the dust.
But wait—hold the violins! Once again, the past is made present through YouTube. Behold Movie Juice, a documentary about the hopelessness of movie theater life, filmed on-site in 1997 at United Artists Cinema 5 in Santa Rosa. Ezra, the director, was a film student at SRJC at the time; this was one of his class projects. It’s insightful, it’s kinda sad, and it’s funny as hell.
Most of the theater employees from this documentary are still around. Dustin does horror makeup for movies. Trevor draws and publishes comics. Gerry sells records. Josh is a pop culture professor. Joe runs an upholstery shop.
None of them still work at a movie theater.