At least if theaters get shut down again soon because of all the spikes of COVID-19, I can finally say that my last trip to the theater was not Bloodshot starring Vin Diesel anymore, but now Back To The Future starring acting professionals. I did it. I went back to where I belong. I almost cried when I was sitting in my luxury recliner. And it wasn’t out of nervousness. It was out of joy of being back. Even if it was by myself. Even if it was a quick two hours that went by so fast even though I’ve seen Back To The Future dozens of times. It was pure magic. I noticed some things I have never noticed about the movie before or plot threads I haven’t thought about in years. We need movies. We need movie theaters again. We need that brief escape from reality, even if we do have to just watch classics we’ve already seen or own for awhile. To me, movies are essential. And when I heard that one of ONLY 3 CINEMARK THEATERS IN THE COUNTRY opening back up the weekend of June 19th was one less than 5 miles away from me, I knew I had to be there. And the cherry on top? It was free. Since I was still a Cinemark Movie Club member they are allowing you to see 3 Classic Comebacks for you and a friend (6 free tickets) till 7/23 (before the new shit comes out, knock on wood). Which was even more an incentive to go. I even shot video of me entering Cinemark North McKinney to see if all the social distancing practices were being respected and to physically witness all that the employees were trying to do to keep the facility clean and comforting. The main question: did I feel safe? Right as I stepped inside the facility: abso-fucking-lutely I did.
100%. Even though some of the patrons were not wearing masks (ALL THE EMPLOYEES WERE) at least they were practicing safe social distancing and were also using the many sanitizing stations that were put up all around the lobby and facility. The whole place smelled clean, it looked clean, and while I didn’t get any concessions this time, the social distancing practices I could see of customers getting their snacks were upheld perfectly. Although there were a few popcorn kernels in the hallways (and to be fair I think a movie had just gotten out and some customers might have just accidentally spilled some), it was the cleanest theater I have ever seen in my entire life, and you know me, I’ve seen a shit ton of theaters. If I had one complaint, only one small one, is that when I entered the actual theater showing Back To The Future, the employees were still cleaning. BUT that is just a very minor complaint, as it was interesting seeing them with this cart filled with a shit ton of cleaning supplies and chemicals and seeing them wipe down each and every crevice of each and every chair. It was certainly a sight to see. And they definitely did not let customers sit down in their seats unless they were finished with their row (I had to wait 2 to 3 minutes since my row was near the bottom of the first section). Maybe the employees still cleaning (with masks on of course) was intentional so customers can feel safe with what they see. I certainly felt safe, and any sense of discomfort was completely washed away when I sat down permanently until the movie started.
And I filmed all of this by the way, if you go to my Facebook page and scroll down a bit I put three to four videos of my trip to the theater (that includes my car almost being hit by some inconsiderate asshole that just HAD to back their truck into the parking spot next to me when there were plenty of other spaces around that they could’ve drive through to have their front out…fuckers). I filmed all these so you wouldn’t just take my word for it. But be warned, also with not visiting concessions, I didn’t use the bathrooms either, so I can’t really tell what those are like. Is there pee pee and poo poo still in the bowls from customers that don’t know how to fucking flush a fucking toilet? I have no idea. But suffice to say, I think if I went in there it would’ve been the cleanest theater bathroom I’d have ever visited as well. That’s just my guess though. If you go back to the movies and experience something completely different let me know. But after the movie started playing, I was back where I truly belonged. Enjoyed every moment of it, in fact, this is one of the best times an audience had been respectful during the movie. No one talked, no one turned on their phone or made annoying noises. And I guarantee you that at least 90 – 95% of the people in my theater (there were only about 50-55 people with a socially distanced theater, and my 8 pm show was a sold out socially distanced showing) had seen Back To The Future before. The only funny thing: during the movie, when Doc Brown was saying he was going to go 25-30 years into the future near the beginning of the film, an audience member yelled out, “Don’t go to 2020 doc!” The whole theater, including me, roared with laughter. It was the perfect joke to ease the tension. Wish I could’ve thanked him, don’t know who it was though.
With the actual seats/tickets themselves, you basically have to have a smart phone, as there are no paper tickets (you have to scan your QR ticket code), and they do not accept cash of any kind concessions or tickets wise. Well, on the latter, that is not entirely true as there was a small place marked off for those who only had cash and one designated employee taking that cash and transferring it into a gift card (but there wasn’t many people at this station thank God, but that could always change with new movies and more showings/people). After taking that cash with gloves on, the employee would take those gloves carefully off, sanitize their hands, and then put another new set of gloves on (how annoying is that? come one people, use credit/debit cards as they were meant to be used and help these employees out a bit for right now!). Another small complaint, I would like late showings again. I have a small child and put him to bed around 8, and 8 was their latest show out of all the movies they were playing that whole weekend (I do have a wonderful wife that said it was okay to go and said she would take care of bed time alone for him this time, a Father’s Day weekend gift if you will). I would like some 9 pm – 10 pm shows again. I get however why they aren’t doing that quite yet. Hopefully that maybe changes sooner rather than later.
The ticket scanning employee, even though he wears a mask, has a giant plastic shield he stands behind while scanning tickets. That’s how legit Cinemark is being right now. I tell you, it was something to see, and I highly encourage you to support your local theater when it opens, even if it is for a older movie you’ve seen at first. By supporting them, we shouldn’t get any more delays for upcoming new films like Tenet or Wonder Woman 1984. And if you are one of those people that are like, ” ‘Murica! This is a free country I can do what I want!” That’s pretty shitty and selfish thinking during these times. We have GOT to think of others right now. The health of others and the safety of others. Wearing a mask is not a political statement, it is a safety issue, and if the CDC and WHO say that wearing a masks helps (even though they’ve been flip floppy on some of COVID-19 data and safety measures), let’s trust them for a little bit until a good vaccine is developed and ready to ship out. I think wearing masks should be mandatory right when you step into the building and can only be taken off for when you eat snacks or drink a drink. But I’m probably in the minority on that, and that’s okay. Cinemark knows how to compensate, as when you guys your tickets to the movie, the two seats to the left of you are automatically grayed out so no one can get them, and the two seats to the right of you are as well. And you can sit in groups of friends of course, but if you want to sit together, you have to buy the tickets all together. I’d say that is a sacrifice worth making, especially if you have friends that are good at paying you back. Like I do.
Anyway, this entire review was just to assure those who have qualms about going to the movies again, at least with Cinemark, and the specific theater I went to this weekend, your fears should easily melt away. I understand though those of you that still won’t be convinced by me. And that’s okay. Maybe you are protecting a friend or loved one that has a bad immunity system that you see often. Maybe you yourself have a bad immunity system and you could possibly get very ill or maybe even pass away if you contracted the virus. I get it. I do. I just need the movies. So if I have to do some extra precautions, like wear a mask, socially distance myself from people, use sanitizing stations a bunch or wash my hands for awhile in the bathroom, or not buy concessions right now, I will do as much as I can do safely, not just out of concern for me and me only, but for others to feel safe as well. To get past this virus, we need to set aside all political differences, any kind of differences really, and try to help each other out. Think about your choices for awhile going forward. Think about how those choices will effect not just yourself, but others around you. If you can still do those choices while maintaining social distancing and also implementing every possible cleaning measure to yourself (yes, that includes a mask), I’d say that’s a risk you can take. And if you somehow still get the virus, even being extra careful, I guess you were meant to get it anyway? And that absolutely sucks. I get it. There is only one true certainty: COVID-19 is a cocksucking mother fucker and we’ll all look back at 2020 as one of the shittiest shit stain year in this living generations history. If not THE shittiest fucking year. But if you can get that thought out of your mind, while being extra careful physically, and instead fill it with two hours of a fun filled adventure that includes time travel hi jinks where the plot has the protagonists own mother falling in love with him…I say take that risk.
P.S. If you clicked on this review of Back To The Future, thinking I was actually going to talk about the film in depth, you are a moron. Especially if you have never seen it. It is a classic and never needs to be re made. That’s all that needs to be said.
On July 31st, I will #RiskItForTenet.