Tampa Theatre Dazzles at Christmas

When my sister and I attended a showing of Holiday Inn last year, the Tampa Theatre instantly became a new Christmas pastime.  This year, I enjoyed the new holiday tradition with my girls when we were invited to attend The Muppet Christmas Carol.

Since the 1920s, the magnificent Tampa Theatre has been entertaining and dazzling audiences for generations and my daughters were no exception.  With its gorgeous Mediterranean style décor, they felt like princesses strolling through a starry-lit castle.

The royal red carpet treatment continued when my princesses chose balcony seats.  They loved experiencing the sights and sounds of a movie from new heights.

Just like in its early days, an organist serenades the audience before the featured presentation.  For an extra special treat, Mrs. Claus made a guest appearance and shared stories with the audience.

To pay tribute to a golden era gone-by, the organist led the audience in a few sing-a-longs before the featured presentation.

Before the movie started, I slipped away to the concession stand for the usual cinema snacks of popcorn and soft drinks, but the Tampa Theatre also serves non-traditional libations such as beer and wine.  While at the concession stand, I spotted a vintage replica blown glass ornament of the famous flashing Tampa Theatre marquis.  Since the proceeds of the ornament benefit the restoration and maintenance of the theatre, I added an ornament to my popcorn and beer tab.

As for The Muppet Christmas Carol, I had never seen the film before, so it added an element of something new for all of us.  Although the sound had some technical difficulties (which is completely understandable for a theatre nearly a century old), we still enjoyed the movie.  Michael Caine made the perfect Scrooge and the Muppets delivered all the musical, silly, loving charm would expect from any Muppet movie.

My girls loved the movie, but the beauty and overall experience of the Tampa Theatre makes any movie even more magical.

Each December, the Theatre offers a Holiday Classics Movie Series on the big screen, with the opportunity to sing along to carols with the Mighty Wurlitzer organ before each show, in the unmatched elegance of the city’s historic movie palace. Tickets for the Holiday Classics Movie Series are $9 for adults and $7 for children, seniors, military and Tampa Theatre members at the box office, or online at TampaTheatre.org ($2 convenience fee applies).”

*My family and I received a tour of the Tampa Theatre and tickets to The Muppet Christmas Carol in exchange for my honest review.  My opinions and love for the Tampa Theatre are real and my own.*

Denise Mestanza-Taylor+


The Time Traveler’s Wife

After reading and loving the book, The Time Traveler’s Wife, I couldn’t wait to see the movie.  But would the cinematic version of a fantastic novel convert well to the big screen?


Many people like me, loved the novel.  Others were confused by the constant switching between characters and places in time.  Admittedly, I was one of those people at first, but as I read further into the novel, I became less confused.  The author, Audrey Niffenegger, intends to confuse readers since Henry lives in a state of confusion for so long.  As he matures and understands his gift/curse/purpose/destiny, he comes to terms with his condition and therefore, less confused by it all.  The novel reflects this progression.


The film version, on the hand, is much simpler and less confusing, but by being less complicated, it loses the complexity of the characters and the plot. The film shares Henry and Claire’s love story and struggles with his genetic anomaly of time traveling, but barely touches the surface of the much deeper themes in the novel.


Obviously, the love story theme translates well to the big screen, but so much of that love story has been omitted during the process.  The film clings to the love story and some of the tearful moments in the novel, but it’s far more than a boy meets girl love story or in this case, old Henry meets young Claire and they fall in love.  There’s pubescent love.  There’s betrayal and hurt.  There’s jealousy and pain. There’s loss time and time again as well as time lost.  The film only touches the surface of these plot elements.


If the movie is your first experience with The Time Traveler’s Wife, then you may love it.  I found myself crying at all the scenes I expected I would after reading the novel.  I enjoyed seeing Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana bringing the characters to life.  Despite shedding some tears, I still longed for more, which can only be found within the pages of the novel.


After finishing the novel, I mourned for days and I went into the film expecting that same impact.  However, once leaving the theater, my emotions were left behind like an empty tub of popcorn.  I simply did not connect with the characters as deeply as I did with the novel.  Perhaps it was the time invested in the novel which facilitated that connection, but there have been plenty of films that I connected emotionally with the characters and that emotion impacts me for days.  This was not the case with The Time Traveler’s Wife although I had high hopes that it would.  The only emotion present days after viewing the film is disappointment.


My advice: Read the novel and wait for the film to be released on DVD.