It was inevitable, of course, that somebody would come up with a way for a communal activity that’s not exactly communal: Going to the movies in the time of Covid.
The self-styled guinea pig is the Nancy And David Bilheimer Capitol Theatre, on Cleveland Street in Clearwater, which is kicking off a socially-distanced classic film series Sept. 8.
This would be literal, rather than virtual, with just 150 seats available in the 730-seat venue.
Guests will be spaced according to CDC guidelines, masks are required, hand sanitizer stations will be readily available, the building will be deep-cleaned beforehand … all the “usual” stuff.
Now, to the movies. Big-screen screenings are at 7 p.m. unless otherwise indicated.
Jaws (Sept. 8), the Steven Spielberg potboiler that scared Americans off the beach back in 1975;
Space Jam (Sept. 13, 3 p.m. matinee) puts Michael Jordan and other ‘90s-era sports heroes on the screen alongside Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck;
The Big Lebowski (Sept. 15), in which the Dude and his pals drink white Russians, hate on the Eagles and get in all sorts of misanthropic Coen Brothers misadventures;
Labyrinth (Sept. 22), David Bowie in his weirdest hair ever as the Goblin King in director Jim Henson’s puppet-heavy musical fantasy from 1986, with a very young Jennifer Connelly;
Shrek (Sept. 27, 3 p.m.) Famous voices in a wacky animated fairy tale – Mike Myers as the great green ogre (complete with Scottish brogue), Eddie Murphy as the wisecracking donkey, etc, etc;
Caddyshack (Sept. 29), Golfing goofs Bill Murray, Rodney Dangerfield, Chevy Chase and Ted Knight in what ESPN calls “perhaps the funniest sports movie ever made”;
Onward (Oct. 4, 3 p.m., a new (as in 2020) animated Disney fantasy film, about two teenage elf brothers who embark on a “magical quest”;
The Princess Bride (Oct. 6), director Rob Reiner’s cult classic with Mandy Patinkin, Robin Wright, Cary Elwes, Chris Sarandon and Andre the Giant;
Friday the 13th (Oct. 13, which is a Tuesday); the first in the horror-movie franchise. Back to Camp Crystal Lake with you!
Clue (Oct. 20), this one flew under the radar back in ’85. It’s adapted from the “mystery’ board game of the same name, with Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn, Christopher Lloyd and other classic misfits as suspects in a snooty dinner-party murder (it’s a black comedy);
Coco (Oct. 25, 3 p.m.) Disney’s 2017 adventure won the Oscar for Best Animated Film. Aspiring young musician Miguel embarks on an extraordinary journey to the magical land of his ancestors. There, the charming trickster Hector becomes an unexpected friend who helps Miguel uncover the mysteries behind his family’s stories and traditions.
Hocus Pocus (Oct. 27); Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy are 17th century witches – from the Salem witch trials, don’t you know – who magically appear in the present day. This is a very dark comedy, with three local kids and a black cat that talks trying to outwit the (kinda nasty) threesome. This event includes a Hocus Pocus-themed costume contest.
Single tickets, Family-Four Packs and Loge Box Four-Pack tickets are on sale here.