Let’s clean out the notebook…
— All you people who have been clamoring for a new movie theater in Jasper, I can just about bet now it will never happen. Media reports indicate AMC, who own umpteen movie theaters in the region, all of which are closed due to COVID-19, is nearly $5 billion in debt with about $300 million in assets, and may be a candidate for bankruptcy. It will likely continue to operate, as it may can use federal stimulus money and encouragement in bankruptcy laws for those businesses who offer something unique, like movies.
But let us recognize that movie studios are just as busy making movies for streaming services like Amazon and Netflix, which have so much product in the pipeline it is crazy. Some of them are quality works that are now allowed to be up for major movie awards.
Frankly, we lose something big if we lose movies without a live audience. Hopefully, we will never lose that. But some cutbacks may eventually have to come in time, as people tell themselves, “Why drive to Birmingham when I can wait for the streaming in a few months? I can almost buy it for as much as driving to see it.” I would not be surprised to see a transition in the future, with less theaters and less odd times, like 1 p.m. matinees. I hope I am wrong, but the business model to me looks like it will have to change. It won’t mean more theaters in Jasper, but maybe less theaters in Birmingham.
By the way, as CBS and Viacom have merged, CBS will air five of Viacom’s Paramount library movies on Sunday nights in May, including “Forrest Gump,” the “Lost Ark” and “Last Crusade” Indiana Jones movies, “Mission: Impossible” and “Titanic.” (Get your mind off impending disaster outside your door by watching history’s worst ship disaster? At least it is known for being historically accurate, even with the gooey love story.)
— I thought Joe Biden made as good and gracious a statement about Bernie Sanders Wednesday as he could make. “Bernie has put his heart and soul into not only running for president, but for the causes and issues he has been dedicated to his whole life. So, I know how hard a decision this was for him to make — and how hard it is for the millions of his supporters — especially younger voters — who have been inspired and energized and brought into politics by the progressive agenda he has championed,” said Biden in a statement, as reported by Politico. “Bernie has done something rare in politics. He hasn’t just run a political campaign; he’s created a movement.“ And like him or not, I think that will be true in history.
And then Trump weighed in with a tweet. “Bernie Sanders is OUT! Thank you to Elizabeth Warren. If not for her, Bernie would have won almost every state on Super Tuesday! This ended just like the Democrats & the DNC wanted, same as the Crooked Hillary fiasco. The Bernie people should come to the Republican Party, TRADE!“ the president tweeted.
If you think that Sanders supporters are going to switch to Trump’s GOP, I’ve got a homemake coronavirus cure I want to sell you online.
— I tried to do some shopping Monday at CVS to avoid crowds, and almost did backflips to find not just paper products but tubs of all-but-rare Cascade on special. But finally I had to risk the crowds and go to Walmart later in the day, if nothing else to stock up for three weeks. It was not hard to get in, although you could only enter and leave on the grocery side, and I cleaned my cart and cleaned my hands. The store was stocked fairly well, although short of some meats brands and paper products. But I got a lot of what I needed. And people were not policed to go in different directions so they didn’t; I crossed paths the whole time, while trying to practice as much social distance as possible. But when I returned, I wiped some groceries and let others sit, and then I got a shower and washed clothes.
— Gov. Kay Ivey got flack from the Freedom from Religion Foundation for having the Rev. Cromwell Handy from the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church to pray and talk for nine minutes. But aside from freedom of speech and religion, it was crucial to make Bible Belt Christians understand it is OK to skip physically going to church to protect themselves and to also reach out to African-Americans, who are dying in droves from the virus in some areas. (In Louisiana, blacks are 30 percent of the state population but amount to 70 percent of the deaths.) I think many strides are being made to see services online or on TV, and it will be alright. I would encourage others to see if they can find a video of Handy’s remarks from the press conference, which were on the mark.
— And don’t think state and local governments aren’t worried. They have to be, with the economy on hold and revenue drastically reduced. Surpluses that were bragged on and to be used for certain projects are as gone as the last can of Who hash. And this comes as municipal leaders are gearing up for an election in August. And the state can’t laugh at the mayors, because it still has to deal with the prison situation sometime, and teacher pay raises are looking pretty doubtful.
The numbers I dread to see are at the Walker County Commission, which had carefully gotten things at least on even keel, with no surpluses but at least with plans to pay off the debt. And they still had to deal in the future with the close of Plant Gorgas and the Pineview landfill. Now, that could be a tricky proposition. Hopefully, it won’t be as bad or they have a plan. But it won’t be easy.