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If the adventurous freshman learns anything in his or her first year, it’s that a lot of fun can be had in a dark room with strangers. Wink-wink.I’m talking about going to the movies, of course. What were you thinking?

Big and loud

Hollywood shines bright at the Megaplex theater chain. Locations include the Megaplex 10 at The Gateway (165 S. Rio Grande St.) and the Megaplex 17 at Jordan Commons (9400 S. State St.).The Commons is a bit out of the way for downtown denizens, but it’s the only theater in town that has an IMAX screen. If you like your movies hugely obliterating (and occasionally 3-D), the journey might be worth it.Closer to home is Century 16 (125 E. 3300 South), the stadium-seated theater to which everyone used to go before The Gateway came along. There’s a Wendy’s next door, so smuggle in a few 99-cent chicken nuggets and avoid the overpriced concessions crap.

Speaking of dollar menus?

Nestled in Sugar House is Movies 10 (2227 S. Highland Dr.), a second-run theater that charges $1 for matinees and $1.50 for evening shows.You get what you pay for, however: The sound is spotty and the projection is sometimes screwy; but it’s cheaper than Blockbuster, and the theater experience probably beats your TV at home.

Small and quiet

Independent films are the star of the show at the Broadway Theatre (111 E. 300 South) and the Tower Theatre (876 W. 900 South), two art-house theaters operated by the Salt Lake Film Society.The movies focus on more adult themes (no Krakens), so, concordantly, the audience is more adult and less likely to distract you with glowing text messages and air-brained chatter.The Tower rents out hard-to-find videos and DVDs, including a wide selection of gay and lesbian titles; and on the weekends at midnight, it shows original prints of cult-classics. Bleary-eyed insomniacs rejoice!Out to prove that the Broadway and the Tower aren’t the only venues for pretension and subtitles is the Trolley Square Regency (602 E. 500 South). With its proximity to Sugar House, the Regency attracts more hippies, but the Broadway fights back with its cross-eyed, junkie cello player who plays for your loose change outside the theater.

Beer makes everything better

If you simply can’t watch a movie without the lazy comforts of home, Brewvies Cinema Pub (677 S. 200 West) will closely approximate your living room. You must be 21 or over (or have a fake ID) to buy a ticket to this second-run theater, which offers beer, billiards and counters on which to set your food or feet during the movie.It’s a fun time in a dark room not only with strangers, but with intoxicated strangers. Now that’s college living.

Lennie Mahler

Regency Theatres located at Trolley Square screens low-profile indie films and wide releases.

Lennie Mahler

The Cinemark Movies 10 screens films later in their release at a student’s budget. Admission is $1.50 in the evening with matinee screenings for $1 before 7 pm.