Let’s be honest. The Lake Theatre is easily the best thing about downtown Oak Park. The stores and restaurants come and go. The streets are open, then closed, then opened, but there’s The Lake, always The Lake.

Here are my top 10 things about seeing a movie at the Lake Theatre:

10) It’s not the Cinemark or the Kerasote (a theater in Cicero that south-side Oak Parkers sometimes attend).

9) You can walk to it.

8) It’s $5.50 before 6 p.m.

7) The popcorn is the best in all of Chicago.

6) You have your choice of putting yellow, orange or brown stuff on the popcorn. Caution advised.

5) Each of the seven theaters has a weird shape which gives each a unique feel.

4) The big theatre #1 is awesome. At a matinee when few people attend, you feel like Elvis taking a night off with the boys and renting out a whole theater (or at least I do.) Thank you vurry much.

3) The specially wired 3D theater is very cool. Recently you could see Angeline Jolie as Beowulf’s mother in all three dimensions.

2) There’s those weird statues in the big theater (and the alcove by the second popcorn stand) that remind you of the Parthenon while you’re watching Rush Hour 3. Talk about cultural disorientation; and …

1) There are few better experiences than sitting in the big theater on a cold gray January afternoon with your coat and junk spread out, and a large popcorn sitting in your lap, watching the previews, anticipating the start of a movie you’ve been dying to see on a giant screen. For the next two hours, your expanding girth, complaining kids, schizo boss and global warming are forgotten.

Lights down. Turn off your cellphone. Let the show begin at The Lake!

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John Hubbuch

John is an Indiana native who moved to Oak Park in 1976. He served on the District 97 school board, coached youth sports and, more recently, retired from the law. That left him time to become a Wednesday...