Screen Shot 2013-04-23 at 10.56.22 AMSoho’s Film Forum holds the rarefied positions of best-programmed repertory theater in New York City, A. O. Scott’s top pick for movie popcorn, and dispenser of banana bread that Jacques Derrida once told Time Magazine that he loved. To be fair, the banana bread and all of the other concessions are excellent, but not everything about Film Forum meets such a high standard.

The uncomfortable seats and small screens make me wish I could fly to my personal favorite rep house, in the far-away land of Santa Monica. But since that’s impractical, the second-best option is to learn Film Forum’s flaws, and how to make up for them, as soon as possible. The popcorn comes unsalted, and that means that you can easily over-salt the top portion while leaving the bottom completely bare. I was advised to fill an espresso cup with salt, and pour it in at the halfway point. It worked like a charm.

The issue of the small screens is simple to amend; just sit as closely as possible, but not so close as to see the unusually apparent perforations on the screen. They’re very distracting. A word to the wise: Film Forum’s projector screens have a 4:3 aspect ratio, which means that anything black & white and old enough is pretty big– good news for classics and the French New Wave– but by the time you get to Sergio Leone’s 2.35:1 westerns you’re looking at Clint Eastwood’s eyes on something not far removed from a large widescreen TV. One particular screen, generally used for black & white, has a special silver coating, and I’m not sure if this creates any noticeable difference, but it does indicate a particularly high attention to detail that’s equally applicable to the theater’s uniformly excellent projection in both DCP and, occasionally, restored 35 mm.

There are a few seats in front of poles that leave you with plenty of extra legroom. Go for those if you have the chance. The theater is also cash only, but they make up for it in $12.50 tickets, a full $1.50 less than what seems like the NYC movie theater standard. They also offer a $50/year student membership, which lowers ticket prices to $7.50. That means if you go more than ten times a year, an achievable and noble goal– since you would enjoy some of the best films current and past– you’ve made back your money. If you are so inclined, you can make like Derrida and roll over the savings into Film Forum’s signature banana bread.