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COLUMN — The return of the big screen

Movies have long been near and dear to my heart, and I’m sure many in our community would echo that sentiment as well.

Consequently, it was exciting news when Sunchase Cinema 8 announced on its Facebook page that the local theater would be reopening Aug. 21, with some COVID-19 precautions in place, of course. Among them, masks are required at all times in the cinema, seating is limited to 50% capacity, all parties are asked to leave at least two open seats between groups and everything will be washed and wiped down between each showing.

The Farmville movie theater had been closed due to the novel coronavirus pandemic since March 18.

This year has brought all sorts of strange breaks from normality, and one of those huge breaks was essentially the lack of a summer movie season.

I believe a few films were released on streaming services or were made available for home viewing for a sizable fee, but for the most part, summer movies just weren’t a thing this year.

This dried-up pipeline meant I was very curious as to what Sunchase Cinema 8 would be showing upon its reopening.

The answer is a mix of big hits and classics from the past, along with a relatively new release called “Unhinged” starring Russell Crowe.

Among the re-released titles have been “Black Panther” from 2018; “Inception” and “Despicable Me” from 2010; “Twilight” from 2008; “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” from 2001; and “Back to the Future” from 1985.

Sunchase has advertised a special reopening discount on tickets.

I have already seen most of the old films, but there is something special about the opportunity to revisit them on the big screen.

I was 2 years old when “Back to the Future” came out, but I since have likely seen it on VHS, DVD, Blu-ray, TV and Netflix. As of this writing, Wednesday, Aug. 26, it may be playing in Farmville only one more day, but I am planning to see that all-time classic in the theater for the first time while I have the chance.

I am also hopeful that the pipeline for new movies to Farmville will be restored soon, possibly as early as Friday, Aug. 28. Delayed summer films actually are starting to appear on the release calendar now.

I’m interested in seeing Keanu Reeves return to the role of Ted “Theodore” Logan for the first time in 29 years in “Bill & Ted Face the Music.” And my favorite filmmaker at this point is Christopher Nolan, so my most anticipated movie of the year is “Tenet,” which stars John David Washington (Denzel’s son!) and Robert Pattinson.

Much of 2020 continues to be a break from the norm, and some of the things that have typically brought us together, helped reduce stress and cultivated relaxation, like area school sports, have been postponed. But I’m grateful the theater-going experience has been restored, reacquainting us with something near and dear.

Titus Mohler is the sports editor for The Farmville Herald and Farmville Newsmedia LLC. His email address is Titus.Mohler@FarmvilleHerald.com.