Posts Tagged ‘Oak Harbor Cinemas’

The movies remain on pause. (Photo property Oak Harbor Cinemas)

My former home away from home will stay dark for a while longer.

With Island County now in Phase 3 of Washington state Governor Jay Inslee’s four-phase reopening plan, Oak Harbor Cinemas is allowed to reopen, under certain guidelines.

But, for now, the show won’t go on.

The three-screen institution, which sits across from Dairy Queen, has been closed since March as the country deals with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Oak Harbor Cinemas released the following statement on Facebook Tuesday afternoon:


We are still closed due to increase in cases for COVID-19.

We feel it is prudent to not open too early based on the recent new Governor’s proclamation regarding mandatory masks when in public when you are unable to maintain six feet of distancing.

In addition, there are no new movies scheduled until July 31st with the release of “Unhinged.”

“Tenet” has been moved to Aug. 12 and “Mulan” has been moved to Aug. 21.

All three films were originally scheduled to be released between July 1 and the 24th.

As the COVID-19 new cases start another decline, we hope that other film companies will move up the dates to July or early August, but until then we are at their mercy so to speak.

Rest assured that when we do open you will see improvements to 100% of the cinema including new luxury motorized recliners, new rockers, new screens, speakers, amplifiers, bathrooms, floors, paint and carpets.

Plus we still have our beer and wine bar open for business.

We ask that you be patient and when we do open up you will see a clean, safe theater again and that you support us like you did prior to COVID-19.

We will serve you to the absolute best of our ability.

Thank you,


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Pay the man, see the show.

Pay the man, see the show.

Was it worth it? Yes, yes it was.

When I found myself with an unexpected chunk of loose change in early Jan., there were 27 “better, smarter, more grown-up” things I could have done with the money.

Like save it. And … once my sister gets done rolling in the aisles, laughing, we can continue.

Instead, after several years of debating whether I could pull it off, whether I could justify the expense at the start, I marched into the Oak Harbor Cinemas, my home away from home since 1989, and plunked down $325 for a piece of plastic.

Then I went in and watched Mark Wahlberg get shot to Heck in “Lone Survivor” and started to have second thoughts.

The card — the 2014 Annual Pass — gave me unlimited movies for a year, good at both Oak Harbor and its sister theater in Anacortes. It was the “golden ticket” I had always wanted through countless movie summers.

But there’s a huge difference between being 18 and living off the goodwill of others and being 43 and having every single damn person in the world expect you to pay your own bills (ehh … overrated).

But, it was my 25th anniversary. The money had fallen into my lap, and I’ve never not squandered fallen money (probably a bad trait…) and if I didn’t face down the challenge now, when?

Spoiler alert: I won.

Eleven months later (even brought low for the last seven days by illness, preventing me from seeing the four current films in the theater), I have accumulated 90 ticket stubs, which would have cost me $755.25.

That’s right. I more than doubled my output, having so far made a “profit” of $430.25.

During that time, I saw 75 new films (the other 15 were repeat viewings). Some were great, others sucked the air out of my very soul.

So, no different than any other of the past 24 years.

My year (so far):

Lone Survivor
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
The Nut Job
The Lego Movie
The Monuments Men
August: Osage County
Ride Along
A Winter’s Tale
3 Days to Kill
Son of God
American Hustle
300: Rise of an Empire
Mr. Peabody and Sherman
Need for Speed
Mr. Peabody and Sherman (#2)
Muppets Most Wanted
Divergent (#2)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Rio 2
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Heaven is for Real
The Other Woman
The Grand Budapest Hotel
God’s Not Dead
X-Men: Days of Future Past
Godzilla (#2)
Maleficent (#2)
Edge of Tomorrow
Edge of Tomorrow (#2)
The Fault in Our Stars
How To Train Your Dragon 2
Jersey Boys
A Million Ways to Die in the West
Maleficent (#3)
Transformers: Age of Extinction
22 Jump Street
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (#2)
Planes: Fire and Rescue
The Adventures of Hercules
Guardians of the Galaxy
G of G (#2)
G of G (#3)
G of G (#4)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Into the Storm
G of G (#5)
G of G (#6)
When the Game Stood Tall
The Expendables 3
G of G (#7)
The 100 Foot Journey
Let’s Be Cops
The November Man
A Dolphin Tale 2
The Maze Runner
The Equalizer
The Boxtrolls
As Above, So Below
The Judge
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Day
Gone Girl
Alexander … (#2)
The Book of Life
Interstellar (#2)
Nightcrawler (#2)
Big Hero 6
Horrible Bosses 2
The Penguins of Madagascar
Exodus: Gods and Kings
Dumb and Dumber To

I detested every fake, insulting moment of “God’s Not Dead” and wanted to punch the dying lead character in “The Fault in Our Stars” (repeatedly).

Ride Along” and “Horrible Bosses 2” were laugh-free bombs, maybe, but nobody came close to getting punched.

Overall, though, it was a pretty good year.

My Top 10:

10) Three Days to Kill
9) Interstellar
8) The Penguins of Madagascar
7) Nebraska
6) American Hustle
5) Edge of Tomorrow
4) Maleficent
3) The Grand Budapest Hotel
2) Guardians of the Galaxy
1) Nightcrawler

BUT, BUT … you saw “Guardians” seven times. How can it not be #1?

The same way I have seen “Raiders of the Lost Ark” a katrillion times. It is my FAVORITE film of all time, while I would pick “Chinatown” as the BEST film of all time.

Guardians” will never, ever get old, the same as “Raiders.” It is “Raiders” for this generation.

But, just because you won’t want to crawl into the muck with Jake Gyllenhaal quite as often as you blast off with Rocket and Groot doesn’t diminish “Nightcrawler” in the least. It is the BEST film of the year.

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Yes, it is that flippin' awesome.

Yes, it is that flippin’ awesome. (Image copyright Marvel)

James Gunn,

Thank you.

You made me 10 years old again, and that is amazing.

Let’s take a moment and hop back to 1981, when a 10-year-old David went to see a brand new movie, a little thing known as “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

My brain blew through the back of my head, bounced around the theater like it was wired on too much chocolate (which it was), ran screaming down the aisles, gave wedgies to as many theater patrons as possible and then flopped back into my cranium, exhausted and happy.

I was never the same after that.

Fifteen years in a small-town video store (1994-2009), and some 20,000 movies viewed later (including a nasty little gem you wrote called “Tromeo and Juliet”), my love affair with the thing they call cinema continues unabated.

But your new movie, “Guardians of the Galaxy,” took me to another dimension.

From the moment Star-Lord made his Indiana Jones entrance, merrily skippin’ along, kickin’ lil’ alien creatures in the rear to the tune of “Come and Get Your Love,” I was a goner.

There is no rational way to describe my utter love for your film.

It is 121 minutes of complete joy and wild invention pumped directly into my brain, and I can not, will not, be rational about it.

Others can dissect the film. In the words of Rocket, “You just wanna suck the joy out of everything.”

I choose to mainline it.

A snarky raccoon blasting away with a laser gun as he and his ride, a talking tree, lead a prison breakout.

Star-Lord’s epic smile when someone, anyone, finally calls him by his nickname.

The opening in the hospital, which makes me cry just thinking about it. My mom, who went to many movies with me, would have enjoyed this film greatly.

“We … are … GROOT!!!”

The mix tape.

The cameo in the post credits scene.

That character’s much-maligned movie is now, and was then, a hell of a lot of fun and people who take a dump on it can sit and spin. If he’s really coming back, I’ll light a stogie in tribute.

Lil’ Groot dancin’ to the Jacksons.

The Kevin Bacon shout-out.

Every freakin’ moment, frankly.

I walked into the theater a 43-year-old guy who has seen way too many movies. I left it a 10-year-old.

It’s a beautiful thing, man.

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Me and my Willy Wonka golden ticket.

Me and my Willy Wonka golden ticket.

Ticket stubs, as far as the eye can see.

Ticket stubs, as far as the eye can see.



I was never the same after the summer of ’89.

I had seen my fair share of films before then — “Raiders of the Lost Ark” at age 10 in a huge theater in ’81 made me a movie nut and “The Right Stuff” in ’83 made me a film buff — but that was the summer it all changed.

The family had just moved from Tumwater to Whidbey Island and I was ticked because our sudden move meant I was going to have to do an extra semester of high school in the fall, while the rest of my THS Class of ’89 was done.

Video stores, which had barely made an impact on the scene before we moved, were about to explode, opening up the world of movies and putting it at your fingertips like never before.

And then I stumbled into the Oak Harbor movie theater (then known as Plaza Cinemas) and, basically, never came back out.

It started with “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” followed by “Ghostbusters 2” and then seven (at least) showings of the one true “Batman” with Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson.

The summer of ’89 was one of the great ones, from “Lethal Weapon 2,” “The Abyss” and “Road House” to “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids,” “Weekend at Bernie’s” and “UHF.”

A young Tom Hanks in “Turner and Hooch.” Robin Williams standing on a desk in “Dead Poets Society.” John Candy with the drill in “Uncle Buck.” The underrated James Bond adventure “License to Kill.” Clint Eastwood driving a “Pink Cadillac.” Ron Howard scoring with “Parenthood.”

Even the God-awful “Star Trek V,” to remind us just how bad our old friends could stink up the silver screen.

Later, thanks to VHS, I caught up to smaller summer films like “Do the Right Thing,” “When Harry Met Sally,” “Sex, Lies and Videotape” and “Roger and Me.”

And now I stand in the parking lot of the same theater 25 years later, a theater I have loved and hated and come back around on.

If I had hit my head in the parking lot in ’89 (possibly on the edge of the dearly-departed pay phone booth) and woken up in 2014, I would not know time had moved on.

Dairy Queen still sits across the street, dependable and delicious.

The theater, in all its strip mall glory, looks, sounds and tastes (you’ll have to trust me on the last one) the same. The water stains on a few of the ceiling tiles are as dependable in ’14 as they were in ’95 or ’04.

It will never be mistaken for one of the great movie palaces of the world. But it doesn’t need to be.

It holds memories, 25 years worth, of good times and bad.

Of the final films I saw in a theater with my dad (“A River Runs Through It”) and mom (“Deep Impact”) and the first film I saw in a theater with my oldest nephew, when he was still a baby (“A Knight’s Tale”).

It is the theater where I got food poisoning during “Interview With the Vampire” and my ride (my sister) declined to leave early.

The men’s bathroom that was my frequent companion that night is now closed off. Coincidence?

It is where I was the only male in a theater full of women watching “Thelma and Louise.” The mood was, shall we say, not lovey-dovey by film’s end.

The theater where I saw greats like “Pulp Fiction,” “The Usual Suspects,” “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “Brokeback Mountain,” “Drive,” “The Crying Game” and, unfortunately, a few films that ripped a piece of my soul away.

“Made in America?” Whoopi Goldberg, I curse you to this day.

But, through good films and bad films, I have never walked out on a movie in my life. Walking out is for wimps.

I have seen films where the theater was so full, people were sitting on the floor in the aisle. And more than my share of films where I was the only one in the theater.

Though sitting through “The Nightmare on Elm Street” remake by myself was nowhere as cringe-inducing as seeing a film called “Loser” in an empty theater in Burlington…

The Oak Harbor theater, sporting its low-key, slightly-shabby-but-I-like-it-that-way style, is my second home.

It is where I go to escape. To think. To simply zone out and take a break. To celebrate the movies or turn my brain off.

There was a time when I could say, without the slightest doubt, that I was seeing more films in that tri-plex than any other person on this Island.

There was a time when I got frustrated with the theater, when I took some time away.

And now we’re in a time when I am going back faithfully.

To celebrate my 25th year, I made the jump and bought a season pass — unlimited movies at Oak Harbor and its sister Anacortes theater for $325 — and I am taking that thing to town.

I’m collecting my ticket stubs to see how much profit I make by the end of my card’s 12-month run and, mark my words, it will be epic.

It’s good to be home.

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