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Best Movie Theater 

Tivoli Theatre

The Tivoli (6350 Delmar Blvd., 314-862-1100) wins hands down for so many different reasons. Five years after its $2 million renovation by Loop mogul Joe Edwards, it's still pretty swank. You can entertain yourself gazing at art-deco gewgaws before the previews start. Nobody's head gets in your way, and projectionists are reasonably conscientious about keeping the movie framed and the reels in the right order. The all-beef hot dogs for $2.50 make for an evening meal when your need for cinema precludes your need for dinner. John Thompson is one of the sweetest men on the planet and, in between taking tickets, provides subtle discourse on film and lots of other subjects: family, what to do with Powerball winnings, St. Louis sports teams. Landmark, which now runs the theater, has the irksome tendency of sending juicier flicks to the hinterlands of Plaza Frontenac (urban dwellers believe that West County doesn't deserve the culture it receives), but the Tivoli holds it own with more "youth-oriented" fare that isn't brain-dead -- Groove, Cecil B. Demented, High Fidelity, Being John Malkovich. If any more proof is required of the place the Tivoli holds in the local cineastes hearts, it's that any film we enjoy elsewhere, we wish we could have seen it at the Tivoli.

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