After Borders closed at Santana Row and Oakridge Mall, and Micro Center closed at the Mercado, it seems unlikely that there would be any movie theaters left in Silicon Valley that had a decent hangout spot within reasonable driving distance from my home. Showing up to see only a movie is somewhat boring. There has to be a decent hangout spot to go to before or after the movie to prep yourself for what critics are panning as a bad movie or dissect a good movie that gone horribly wrong. Shopping is a nice bonus.
My friend and I went to see “Raiders of The Lost Ark” in IMAX at the AMC Cupertino Square 16 theater in Vallco Shopping Mall. The last time we visited this movie theater was when the U2 3D movie came out in 2008, when 3D movies were still new and not yet mainstream. Then and now, we came back to this mall to see a movie that was only available at this particular theater.
The mall has been in a state of decline for several decades. I used to live down the street in the late 1990’s when the mall was filled with stores from end to end. I remembered the ballyhoo back in 1999 when the mall planned to renovate by going upscale and getting rid of all the downscale stores, which started the trend of stores leaving the mall without being replaced. After the dot com bubble in 2000, the mall sat mostly empty, going through several ownership and names changes, for the last decade.
We scoped out the mall as a potential movie hangout spot. The lower level is blocked off by temporary walls, which, ironically, was an expansion to increase the size of the mall in the late 1980’s. The ground level is filled with stores that you would typically find in any strip mall in Silicon Valley. The renovated food court next to J.C. Penny’s was virtually empty of restaurants. If this mall was in revival, it still has both feet in the grave.
But we did find a couple of hangout spots.
Armor Geddon, a store that sells armor, swords and other medieval knick-knacks, is as thread-bare in selection as the mall is in stores. All the wonderful chess sets that I saw in the late 1990’s were reduced to a handful today. I did picked up a skull coin bank for my writing desk. If you’re a writer, you really need one for those “to be or not to be” Shakespearian moments.
Legends Comics & Games is actually located in two locations across from each other near Sears, with comics on one side and gaming on the other. Being hardcore comic fans, we gravitated over there. I love browsing through the indie comics to find trashy pulp ideas to incorporate into my own short stories. A comic shop is better than any bookstore.
Vallco Shopping Mall has become the new place to go see movies—for now.