Here In My Car

16-Apr-07 3:18 PM by
Filed under Potpourri; Comments Off on Here In My Car

Now that I've reviewed my first two films of the year, let me tell you where I saw them: the drive-in.

I'd been to such a theater only twice before: with my best friend and his parents in 1990 to see Die Hard 2 and Days of Thunder; and six years later, on a date, to see Dragonheart and The Nutty Professor. (Sadly, the crass humor of the latter film precluded any fogged-up windows.) Now, eleven years later, I've had what was my best drive-in experience yet: two friends, huddled under our respective blankets on what was likely the coldest Holy Saturday on record, watching two first-run comic book adaptations (TMNT and 300, in that order), doing our own MST3K when appropriate, glancing at the other screens (showing Blades of Glory and Grindhouse) when bored, and being appalled by the intermission snipes showing a hot dog suggestively leaping into a bun.

What a shame that such fun isn't more widespread! But alas, the drive-in is a dying breed: as of 2003, there are 432 theaters left — down from 815 in 1997, and 3,775 in 1950. But some drive-ins are being reopened or built anew; in 2002, the number of drive-ins actually increased.  As well it should!

The drive-in movie theater, first established in 1933, is not just a quaint artifact for moviegoers nostalgic for a simpler time. It's an effective, enjoyable, and unique venue for watching movies — one with many advantages over more generic multiplexes:

  • Affordable — in my case, two movies for the price of one (charging by the head, not the carload)
  • Bring your own snacks
  • Control of the film's volume
  • Control of the "theater"'s heat
  • Talk with your friends as much as you want without disturbing others
  • Conversely, other people talking won't disturb you, either!

The only disadvantage I encountered is that my car would turn off its electrical system after an hour of idling. If I didn't anticipate this by turning on the engine, the radio would suddenly cut out and we'd lose some dialogue.

That trivial inconvenience is easily overlooked for the wonderful opportunity presented by the drive-in.  MST3K alumnus Kevin Murphy wrote a wonderful book, A Year at the Movies, that describes how contributive the personality of the theater is to the experience of moviegoing. I can't think of anywhere that's truer than at the drive-in. Support your local one today.

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