It sounds just like a movie: a former Disney employee and a former mayor team up to run their own theater. That's exactly what Jeff Brein and Sam Granato did in 1988 with Bainbridge Cinemas, where they still spend Friday and Saturday nights tearing tickets and scooping popcorn. Besides Bainbridge Cinemas, their theater collection—Far Away Entertainment —oversees seven other local theaters, including the historic single-screen Lynwood Theatre. Opened in 1936, Bainbridge Island's first talking picture house now specializes in independent features and foreign films in which actors rearrange the English alphabet to make strange new sounds.
Over at the two-screen Admiral Theater, projectionists give newer Hollywood releases a second run, plus host screenings every year for the Seattle International Film Festival. Far Away's five remaining theaters, each with three to five screens, show digital versions of Hollywood's freshest celluloid. Lean back in the Anacortes' reclining seats, or scarf down an all-beef frank at Oak Harbor while taking in a flick or live screening of the Metropolitan Opera.
Most summer weekends, up to 1,000 cineastes flock to Fremont Outdoor Movies for screenings of pop classics, cult favorites, indie films, and video shorts broadcast via Blu-Ray digital projection with 5.1 THX surround sound. Omitting only the cars and the prohibitions against hand holding, Fremont pays homage to the drive-in theaters of old as warm summer evenings slowly fade into warm summer nights. Audiences of all ages bring lawn chairs, rubber floats, and even sofas to enjoy movies such as Raising Arizona, Sideways, and Caddyshack.
Fremont Outdoor Movies believes that the community of an open-air theater is often the best part of the experience. In addition to regular screenings, they also hold special events such as an Edward Scissorhands–inspired haircutting contest and a Show Us Your Scar contest to celebrate Young Frankenstein. Outside the theater, cinephiles can cruise a makeshift food court provided by Mobile Food Rodeo.
Seattle’s Cinerama in Belltown combines a classic old-school cinema experience with state-of-the-art digital projection. One of only three theaters in the world that still show Cinerama-sized films, this local location also presents a slate of 3D films and other first-run features. Owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, Cinerama keeps prices reasonable, while offering a slew of upscale touches, like chocolate popcorn and local munchies from Full Tilt Ice Cream and Cupcake Royale. The 70-foot screen provides a spectacular visual and audio experience, with older touches like comfortable rocking seats, a starry ceiling and a huge velvet curtain that dramatically opens before each screening. The retro lobby even includes an exhibit of original costumes from TV and movie hits like Batman and Captain Kangaroo.
The non-profit 5th Avenue Theatre Association exists to develop, produce and present live musical theater for the cultural enrichment of the Northwest community, and to preserve, maintain, and operate the historic and irreplaceable 5th Avenue Theatre. To achieve this mission, the Theatre will actively pursue the highest standards of artistic excellence and service, enhance and continuously improve all aspects of the facility operations, endeavor to make its programming accessible and relevant to all audiences, and maintain organizational stability.
Ready, Set, Bag! documents the quests of eight state-champion grocery baggers as they prepare for the National Grocers Association’s competition for Best Bagger, held every February in Las Vegas. As each contestant trains for the big event and brings order to a chaotic universe one egg carton on top at a time, their life stories and infectious love of what they do will thaw the frozen caveman hearts of any viewer. Best of all, you can stay comfortably reclined on sofa seating during the whole film, as Central Cinema’s wait staff will bring your large popcorn right to you. Practice attentive viewing before the main event with a screening of a new, hand-animated short called Leonardo, from Academy Award nominee Jim Capobianco.
Northwest Film Forum was founded in 1995 by two filmmakers eager to explore their art with an equally eager audience; today, the nonprofit organization screens more than 200 independent and classic films annually, while offering support for filmmakers and more than 60 classes a year for future filmmakers of all ages. Your supporting membership will get you discounted tickets to live performances and special events, access to films at member prices ($6 for regular screenings), and exclusive, members-only invitations to parties and screenings. Members at these levels also receive free large-popcorn refilling privileges at films. To stay plugged into the community, members also get a subscription to the Forum's printed, quarterly calendar and the option to join the weekly email digest. Memberships last a whole year, which makes them great annual gifts for once-yearly events such as birthdays, holidays, and weddings.