Michael Moore wants Downtown Flint to have movie theatres

First of all, while I personally think that Michael Moore is great at shaking up things and keeping political pundits on their toes, I generally despise his tactics and satire. I don’t think he single handedly brought down the city of Flint, but he didn’t help its image much either. That said, every now and then, Moore’s heart is in the right place. Among his recent efforts, he is considering bringing movie theaters back to downtown Flint.

The Flint Journal reports:

The former Flint resident outlined plans this week to refurbish downtown movie houses in Michigan, and specifically mentioned one of his first targets could be Flint — home to the 82-year-old Capitol Theatre. The venue, which has hosted everything from Black Sabbath to Kung Fu movies, is now comprised of a few exterior offices and decaying interior theater.

The venue hasn’t hosted regular entertainment since the mid-90s. Talks of restoration spiked after its cameo in the Will Ferrell comedy “Semi-Pro,” parts of which were filmed in Flint in 2007 and prompted $20,000 in improvements to the theater’s marquee.

Efforts at propping up forgotten venues have been made before. But Moore’s approach has a twist, modeled on the successful resurrection of the State Theatre in his adopted hometown of Traverse City.

The way to rescue downtown movie houses, Moore said, is to run them as nonprofit ventures staffed mostly with volunteers. That slashes costs and gives the community a stake in the theater’s survival, he said.

I would love to see the Capital reborn and restored myself. The current owners of the Capital would also love to have other events there as well. I also would think that it would make an outstanding site for the still young Flint Film Festival. The video screens at Mott are nice, but it would be outstanding to have at least one big screen to be at a beckon call. There is another advantage: if such a restoration were to happen, movies or no movies, why stop there and facelift a few other buildings as well? Talk like this always is a huge plus, and hopefully, it could bring action. Too bad we couldn’t have saved Auto World a number of years ago. Too bad we couldn’t have saved The Buick Open in Warwick Hills-Grand Blanc. But this could be a step in the right direction.

Just one problem.

It’s not anything really major, or anything…it’s just, well, okay. It’s a problem. Actually, there’s quite a few of them.

    * If the Captial were transformed into a movie theater, it is still sandwiched geographically between the Trillium in Grand Blanc and the Cinema West in Flint. It would have to have competitive prices in order to get people in. That’s why “other venues” than just movies is a better idea.
    * Parking in downtown Flint. In the surrounding area theatres, they have parking lots. Parking is free. Parking in Downtown Flint near the Capital Building is not. Even the nearby ramps cost money. So, if you don’t mind the walk, there are some places you an park.
    * Volunteer work. While it may be fine at first, the unemployment rates are still high. At the very least the restoration and/or “new” Capital should provide at LEAST part-time jobs. I’m sorry, but a few hours of one’s time is one thing. But in this day and age? If it is more than that and for more than a short period of time, someone is going to have to be paid for full or part time work.

Look, I’m all for this idea. Especially if it could help create jobs in the long run. But there’s talk, and then there’s action.

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