Classic movies at Star Cinemas

Like a lot of kids around here, I grew up going to Star Cinemas in Hillsboro. In fact, for the first 12 or so years of my life, it was the only movie theater in my world. Going to the movies was a treat when I was a kid, and even now, seeing a movie, only complete with movie theater popcorn, at a theater is one of my go-to forms of self-care.

But coronavirus has created some obstacles for our local movie theater, and others around the world, as production studios hold back new releases for a time when droves people will be more likely to go see them.

Since Star Cinemas was able to reopen following Ohio’s lockdown, the families who own it and the assistant general manager, Karen Riffee, have been doing their best to continue offering the community a chance to escape, even just for a few hours.

Riffee, who’s been tasked with selecting the movies that show at Star Cinemas, has been pulling from the archives, choosing a variety of classics that she remembers people enjoyed when they were first released.

Not only does this offer people who were alive when these classics were released a chance to revisit them, but it also allows a rare opportunity for those of us who grew up watching them with our family and friends, years after their initial release.

Last week, my 17-year-old brother took a date to Star Cinemas to see “Jurassic Park” (1993).

I grew up obsessed with “Jurassic Park” and dinosaurs and paleontology, so this was a momentous opportunity. When else will we be able to see movies like “Jurassic Park” and “Jaws” (1975), which showed this week, in theaters again?

Neither my brother, who was born in 2002, nor myself, born in 1997, were alive when “Jurassic Park” first came out, but we grew up loving it. When I graduated from high school, my brother gave me the perfect gift: all three Jurassic Park movies on VHS. I don’t think either of us expected we’d ever be able to watch these movies anywhere other than home, especially since the last local drive-in theater closed.

Though it is sad that we won’t get some of the newer movies for a little while, this is a great chance to revisit some well-loved classics — and support the only movie theater we have.

When I spoke to Star Cinemas co-owners Susan Davis and Steve Thompson earlier this week, they said they and the other families who helped start and continue to run Star Cinemas did so for the Highland County community. Though things are still pretty uncertain right now, if we truly want to have local businesses like Star Cinemas when things are a little more “normal,” we need to support them now.

The people of Star Cinemas are taking precautions against the coronavirus, but if you’re not comfortable watching a movie at the theater, you can always grab a few take-out concessions, like popcorn, to enjoy during your home movie nights until things are safer.

Tickets are $5 all week long, and showtimes can be found at, or by calling 937-393-8400.

McKenzie Caldwell is a news reporter at The Times-Gazette. Reach her at 937-402-2570 or

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