Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Vanishing Point

I saw this movie at the Riviera when I was 10 or 11 years old. Its the story of a mysterious car driver who must deliver a Chrysler Imperial form Denver to San Francisco in record time. While doing so he comes across various counterculture types and a DJ which seems to be sending messages of support to him. Even though it's all sort of pretentious, it does show you the hippie movement in the American Southwest in its waning days. One can clearly see it is heading for oblivion.

But let's face it. This is a movie about car chases. Actually the whole film is a car chase. And for a ten year old this was the coolest movie ever. There are some truly spectacular stunts in this movie. And seeing it today, it makes me long for the days when movies had real car chases and not computer generated images.

But seeing it today also makes me realize that it is quite a boring movie. It's the equivalent of a porn movie with 100% sex. After 15 minutes, it does get boring. I found myself stopping the movie and getting food from the fridge. Then watching a bit more and stopping again.

But for an 11 year old kid watching it at the Riviera so many years ago, truly exciting. Will I ever have a car like that? Will I be a cool guy like the one in the movie? Will I meet sexy chicks like the ones in this film? It was a movie that brought out questions about my life as an adult.
But even then, at the end, it was all about the car chase.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Italian Job at the Riviera

Another movie I recall seeing at the Riviera was the now classic heist movie "The Italian Job". For an eight year old this was a perfect movie. Especially the famous car chase featuring Mini cars. Prior to seeing this movie again on DVD that's all I vaguely remembered about this movie.

Seeing it again was quite a nice experience since I can understand perfectly why I loved it as a kid. Contrary to many heist movies such as "The Killing" or "Rififfi" that have a dark side, "The Italian Job" is pure fun. In a way, it could easily have been a Disney movie from the period. Come think of it, this movie was a kind of "Love Bug" with better actors and with Minis instead of VW's.

I must have seen this movie in a double feature at the Riviera since the theater only showed double bills back then. I wish I remembered what movie it was. I guess that it wasn't as memorable to an eight year old as "The Italian Job". Very few things could have been.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

my first movie at the Riviera

Finding more information on the Riviera has been kind of difficult. I have tried many times to contact a member of the Armentero family but have not received any answer. So, in the meantime, I will post about movies I distinctly remembered seeing at the Riviera. 

The first one I recall was Walt Disney's "Peter Pan". This is one of my earliest moviegoing memories. I saw it with my grandparents. They were both movie fans. They lived very close to the theater and had attended it for many years. 

At that time, the only way to see this kind of movie was to see it in a movie theater. Disney had a weekly tv show, but would never show a classic like this on tv. They simply showed snippets of it to whet kid's appetite. So I was really thrilled to see it. 

And I recall liking the movie, especially the scenes with Captain Hook (el Capitan Garfio, I think was his name in the Spanish language version). It was such a fun character. And, of course, the character of the alligator always waiting for someone to fall in the water.

After seeing this movie at the Riviera, I remembered having a Peter Pan style toy sword and going around the house pretending I was fighting the bad guys like Peter Pan did. 

Anyway, it was a fine way to get to know the Riviera, my wonderful neighborhood theater.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Riviera theater trivia

In the 1960's MGM Puerto Rico offered the owners of the Riviera a deal: rent the movie theater to them so MGM could show its movies and those by the Walt Disney Company. The owner, Doña  Mari, said no because she wanted to keep the theater as a family run operation in honor of her late husband. MGM then rented the Music Hall theater for that purpose.

Ironically, if that deal wold have gone through, maybe the Riviera would have ended up as part of Caribbean Cinemas and would have been saved. This is all conjecture, but it is still a sad thing.

Monday, November 13, 2006


It's been a long time since I have updated this site. The building where the Riviera used to stand is a few months away from being finished.It ia always sad to see the Riviera gone, but Hopefully it will live on in this site.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Last days

Two photos of the Riviera in its last days. You can notice the boxoffice boarded up. Also the sidewalk in front of the theater which was different from the rest of the sidewalk.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Riviera ads

Three ads...two from "El Mundo" 1967 newspaper and one "Armentero" from El Mundo 1953.