Washingtonians won’t be seeing any more 2020 movies in theaters as COVID-19 restrictions extended to Jan 4, 2021

Empty seats, empty screens in Washington State for the remainder of 2020, per Governor order

It’s official.

We’ve watched our last movie in theaters in 2020. In Washington State where live, anyway.

My wife actually delivered the bad news to me today that our Washington State governor has extended the current restriction on movie theaters and other indoor activities from December 14 to January 4, 2020.

Citing a high number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalized patients, Washington Governor Jay Inslee extended the state’s current restrictions on indoor dining, gyms and several other industries until Jan. 4, 2021. 

Washington’s COVID-19 restrictions on indoor dining and gyms extended to Jan. 4 | king5.com

Wonder Woman 1984 is coming out on Christmas day and also on HBO Max where we’ll see and review it (sorry, no other choice available) and Monster Hunter comes out on December 30. We’ll miss both the weeks they are released, but there are other movies between now and then we’ll miss as well. I could list all of them, but no idea if any more will delay until 2021.

Our movie review coverage at this site will continue to focus primarily on streaming titles, because that’s the only place locally we can watch new movies. Our next vacation will likely be in March, maybe, if we even bother to go anywhere outside the state. Traveling in these times seems ill-advised.

Upon learning this new we immediately went to our AMC Stubs A-List account to make sure they wouldn’t charge us another monthly subscription fee. They charged us for this last month but we couldn’t see any movies in theaters making the program totally useless in our area. Their customer service line is closed because they don’t have anybody working to man the phone lines.

On a positive note, they show both our memberships changed to “pause” status, meaning, we think, we won’t be charged next week for another month.

The message says AMC will resume charging the monthly fee in March 2021 unless we resume it sooner. We are also members of Regal Unlimited, but that hasn’t charged us since February 2020, even when we returned to watching movies in theaters.

It’s not understated that this has been the worst year ever for cinema moviegoers. There have been some good movies that have come out, but — like it or not — streaming has been where the new movie action has been in 2020.

Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee announces another lockdown for 30 days, movie theaters closing again

Harley Quinn’s expression is perfect to sum up how we all feel in 2020

This morning, we started with a map showing Washington state was among the lower risk states (see: COVID-19 Real Time Map Shows Risk Of Encountering Infected People At Events, Yes, Including Movie Theaters), but by noon today the Governor ruled that another lockdown will take place, closing nearly every business — including movie theaters — except essential services.

Starting Monday at 11:59 p.m. local time, indoor social gatherings with people from outside the household are prohibited unless the guests have quarantined for 14 days or they have quarantined for seven days and received a negative test result 48 hours before the event. Outdoor gatherings should have fewer than five people from outside the household, Washington state officials said. Indoor dining at restaurants and bars will stop but outdoor dining and takeout remains unchanged. Gyms, movie theaters, bowling alleys and museums are closed, and weddings and funeral receptions are prohibited.

Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee announces new restrictions amid ‘third wave’ of COVID-19 cases – ABC News

There weren’t many new movies planned the next month, as most studios had delayed or bailed titles for streaming release, but this ends our ability to see any more new movies in this state for the next month. Bummer.

Doubtful we will travel, because only essential travel is allowed, as well. This means we’re back to covering only the streaming new movies as we did for 5+ months during the first lockdown.

Throughout 2020, we’ve managed to see 44 new movies in theaters. In 2019, we only started tracking new movies in theaters from September to the end of the year and saw almost 70 movies in theaters during that six month period. Quite the contrast, as we might not even crack 50 new movies in theaters for the entire 2020 year.

More important than movies — although it does provide us a mental sidetrack — are people’s health and well being, so we hope nobody reading gets sick and if you do get sick or know somebody who does, that recovery goes well. This all makes us want and need that vaccine more (see: Bring On The Anti-COVID-19 Vaccine that’s 90% Effective, And That Nasal Spray, too, if It Works)

Let’s just fast forward to 2021. Be safe everybody!

Gene Simmons Lists Family Jewels House for $22 Million, Moving To Washington State

The house where this show was filmed
is now on sale for $22 million

There’s something exciting about seeing a house for real that is featured in a movie or TV show. Once upon a time we drove by the house where The Osbournes were filmed. You can’t miss it. No, we didn’t stick around and gawk at their house, but will admit it was kind of cool to see from the street.

Other famous houses I’d like to see? The Amityville Horror house and the house from The Brady Bunch.

Another reality TV show house has just gone on the market, thanks to the “Rock and Roll All Night” bassist, Gene Simmons.

The listing, held by the Altman Brothers of Douglas Elliman, call it a “palatial estate” and an “incredible one of a kind 16,000 square-foot mansion.” It features seven bedrooms and bathrooms with a 40-foot foyer, and the 1.84-acre property contains a pool with a 60-foot water slide, full-size tennis court and parking for 35 cars. The house was shown extensively on Gene Simmons: Family Jewels, his reality show that ran on A&E between 2006 and 2012.

Gene Simmons’ ‘Palatial Estate’ Hits Market for $22 Million

We keep reading about people leaving California. Certain parts of the state are beautiful, like northern California (the Redwoods!) and some of the eastern and southern parts of the state. They also have some very good weather.

For the negatives, they’ve got some severe problems in major cities — drugs, crime, homelessness (not throwing shade, Seattle where we live is no paradise either) — and are heavy on taxes. These taxes drove away popular podcaster Joe Rogan to Texas and now Kiss bassist, Gene Simmons also wants to leave California.

If you’ve never seen Family Jewels, it was a better reality TV show than we expected. It mostly covered Gene and his long time girlfriend and former Playboy model Shannon Tweed and their two teen children, Nick and Sophie. They were a family but not married, because Gene Simmons, wasn’t wanting to settle down, despite having two children with Tweed and being a family outside of wedlock. You’ll have to watch the show to see what happens, but it was a different kind of reality show than The Osbournes.

What’s most fascinating to me about this story is that Simmons plans to move to Washington State. He cited the lower taxes and location near Mount Rainier as a compelling factor.

A view near our home, taken from this post: Mount Rainier Doesn’t Care About COVID-19

We live very close to Mount Rainier, so we might someday be neighbors with the famous long tongued bassist on “Hotter Than Hell.”

The “Popup” Phenomenon – COVID-19 Stats in Washington State still trending upward with 2,000+ deaths nationwide, 30,000+ globally

The graphics via The Seattle Times shows the primary danger of fatality is age 70+

On the east coast, in the interest of social distancing, there is/has been popup drive-thru coronavirus testing:

At the recommendation of a doctor, those with an appointment can drive up, get swabbed by medical professionals and be on their way back home without the risk of exposing many more health care professionals and the general public than if they were at a hospital. Results are said to take about a day or so to come back.

1st drive-thru coronavirus pop-up testing site continues at Glen Island Park

Haven’t heard about anything like this in Washington State, but it’s a good idea. Our state, unfortunately known as the first state where this appeared in the United Stated, we’re in the midst of a two-week “stay at home” order. My wife and I both work in “essential/critical” jobs, so we are still going to work somewhat normally. I’m taking two days off, which is a little abnormal, considering I usually work six days. That extra day is my extra way of providing additional social distancing.

There is one question on our minds, probably on everybody’s minds that lives in this state (and elsewhere around the world, too):

Is the pandemic near its peak?

With 2,000 nationwide now dead from the disease, 189 in Washington state, we don’t appear to have reached the peak in America, but if we use China that is about 45 days ahead of us in their results, we could be nearing that point.

As the article linked above indicates, about 2/3 of America are in shelter in place or stay at home orders, some 215 million Americans and counting. My wife and I are carrying around copies of emails on our phones which authorize our status as allowed to work, just in case we’re stopped. One of my wife’s co-workers has been stopped and questioned.

The Seattle Times maintains a live updated page containing the COVID-19 statistics for Washington State residents. The top of this blog post shares Friday 3/27 statistics and here are Saturday 3/28:

A 587 jump between 3/27 and 3/28 for confirmed cases and 14 deaths

I’ve been clicking over there once a day to see the changes from day to day and trying to use this as a gauge for when the virus shows signs of receding and more businesses might be able to reopen again.

The [Washington] state Department of Health announced 516 newly confirmed cases Friday, bringing the state total to 3,723 cases, including 175 deaths. The bulk of Washington’s cases remain in King County, which haas seen 1,828 people fall ill and 125 die.

Live: Coronavirus daily news updates, March 28: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the nation | The Seattle Times

It would seem the jump in people newly tested and affected is rising, not falling or leveling off yet, but remaining hopeful that these times are the worst right now and it will level off and began to recede soon.

While you might not expect this kind of coverage here, this pandemic is affecting nearly everything we regularly do.

It might seem inconsequential or unimportant to mention movies as recreation and entertainment during these times, but this sort of escapism is part of the cure mentally. We need to focus on something other than only the unseen enemy in our midst. Books, movies, TV, the internet, thank goodness we have you!

So, movies, let’s talk.

Movie theaters are shuttered, too, of course, but some pop-up drive-ins are starting to appear.

What are pop-up drive-ins?

Previously, we discussed a resurgence of some drive-in theaters. Unfortunately, in our area the drive-in theaters have delayed opening, due to the shelter in place order in our state.

I wasn’t familiar with what a “pop-up drive-in” experience was, until I started seeing articles like this one: Hundreds Show Up to Pop Up Drive Up Movie Night in Gering

A business at pop-upcinema.com around setting up portable drive-in movie theaters

Googling, I learned that there is a business operating in South Africa which specializes in the popup drive-in experience (pictured above). Instead of a bouncy house, it’s a gigantic screen filled with air. Cars roll into parking lots or other big areas and the screen is displayed for all to watch. The sound is transmitted using Bluetooth, it seems.

Openair.us operates in the United States, selling an 18 foot inflatable screen that weighs 17 pounds!

Some of these pictures do not depict the proper 6′ social distancing, but hey, the screens look cool!

There are various companies who sell popup movie screens if you already have a projector and a huge open space on your property so you could make your own outdoor popup drive-in theater.

Years ago, we had a really bad storm in our area that took out all power for several days. I remember reading by candlelight and cuddling up in heavy blankets to stave off the cold. That reminded me how much we take for granted lights and power. Luckily, we don’t have weather issues piling on, too.

Hopefully, soon we can begin to post signs that the other stuff going on is receding, more people can return to work, businesses can reopen and the economy can begin rebuilding and healing.

I’m going to keep on writing about movies, TV and other entertainment and recreation. Pull up a chair, light a good fire if you have a woodstove or a virtual one and let’s get lost in the wonderful world of imagination.

Drive-In Movie Theaters

Drive-in Movie Theaters in and around Washington State as of Fall 2019

Used to go to drive-in movies occasionally as a kid and always thought they were a fun experience. You get to chill inside your car and watch movies on the big screen. Have not been to a drive-in theater in 40 years or so. It’s on the to-do list before they disappear forever.

There was a bit of a resurgence in the 90s to bring them back. In our state of Washington, only five drive-in theaters remain. According to Culture Trip, all five are worth visiting:

Today, there are only around 300 drive-in theaters left in America, but Washington State is still preserving its favorite drive-ins, complete with all of the nostalgic nuances of the Sandy-Danny door slam in Grease. Only five drive-ins remain in the state, but each is worth a visit.

The closest theater to us in Shelton. About an hour or so drive away. The Skyline drive-in is seasonal and only ran through the end of September, so that ship sailed. Looks like something we will have to wait until next year to do, but would be cool to try and squeeze in this season if possible.

We saw our first 4DX, our first dine-in movie theater and if/when we get to the drive-in, that will be our first ever seen together.