Why The Drive-In Is Still The Best Thing Ever
Why The Drive-In Is Still The Best Thing Ever
Don't let that one scene in Grease fool you.
If you, much like Danny Zuko, got stranded at a drive-in, you wouldn't be so miserable you felt the need to block the views of everyone else trying to watch the movie from the safety of their sweaty cars and sing a lonesome and longing song about it.
In fact, if you got stranded at a drive-in, you'd probably be feeling pretty damn fine. Because who needs some exchange student you made out with on the beach last summer beside you when you have the stars, free snacks and at least two movies ahead of you?
Let me just say before I get too far gone with my Pink Ladies jokes, this isn’t really about Grease at all. It's about the drive-in and how it's kind of the best place to be, especially in the summer. Take it from me, a movie fan since birth (legitimately, as I watched E.T. and Beetlejuice nearly every day as a toddler) and someone who, generally, avoids the outdoors like Kanye avoids dealing with defeat.
I used to think that I kind of romanticized the drive-in and that my love for it was simply nostalgia-driven. You see, the drive-in was this "special occasion" activity when I was a kid and usually involved my mom making a huge batch of popcorn (my favourite food and not just because they go with my favourite thing ... and everything, come to think of it) and me wearing pajamas (or at least clothes covered in a cozy blanket) in public, so naturally, I look back upon it fondly. But after going there again recently, this time with my boyfriend, I realized that the drive-in is not only in, but always will be.
Now, let me just preface this by saying that my regained appreciation for the drive-in had nothing to do with it being my dude and I going it alone (get thee mind out of thee gutter, people!). No, it had more to do with the overall experience, with the great, equally excited (that gutter is not your home, guys!) company being an added bonus. (Side note: Do not go to the drive-in with anyone you can't stand a short road trip with. You guys are gonna get cozy and they're going to get annoying real quick.)
The movies! They're cheap! But also mostly new?!
While, sure, it's great to go see a big-budget movie at a multiplex and spend, what, $50 on two tickets and a cold bucket of corn, there's something beautifully simple about going to the drive-in from a movie-going perspective. Not only do you only have select choices of movies, they are usually paired up and you can't pick the order, which is kind of freeing and awesome (I saw Mad Max and Hot Pursuit back-to-back and while it wasn’t ideal, it kinda worked?).
Also, the prices are really affordable given that you're seeing two movies (we're talking like $15 a person for two new releases) and there are even better deals on weekdays at some places than they have on Cheap Tuesday at Cineplex (the 5 Drive-In in Oakville, for example, does Car Load Tuesday, where you pay one price no matter how many people/pets are in your car!). Holiday weekends are the best deals of all, with most drive-ins doing three movies instead of two for the same, or similar costs!
The seating! It's yours! And also comfy?!
Aside from the programming and price, what might be the best about the drive-in is that you get to be in your own space (a.k.a. the back or front seat of your car with as many blankets, pillows and whatever else you need to get comfy as you want!) and not near any terrible people who want to destroy your movie-going experience with smelly outside food, unnecessary chatter and extra noisy candy. You might be surrounded by other cars filled with other people, but they generally do their own thing, so it's almost like you're getting your own private screening in your backyard. Only the screen is 100 times bigger than one you could have in your imaginary backyard (hey, I'm only 25 and live in a city apartment!) and there's immediate access to snacks you didn't have to make yourself!
The snacks! They're crazy ... delicious!
Oh yeah, did I mention that there is a concession stand at the drive-in and that a lot of times it features even greasier (a.k.a yummier) movie snackage than you're used to?
At the drive-in I went to, the popcorn looked like it was the victim of a '50s monster movie scenario (Radioactive Yellow is a real colour), which totally added to the charm of the whole thing (also, FYI, I'm a glutton), especially since there were real '50s ads in front of the movie. You know, like those hotdog and bun cartoon ads that are playing behind Danny in that aforementioned scene in Grease? The ones that are vaguely sexual, especially for the '50s? You can’t forget them, trust me.
The stars! They're there too! In droves!
If the allure of animated wieners and monster munchies isn't enough to make you want to find your nearest drive-in right now and see Magic Mike in a whole new light, let me just say this: there is nothing like watching a movie under the stars.
Yeah, yeah, you can go to one of those outdoor movie festivals in the city, but I doubt you're going to get the same number of twinkly guys above you with all the lights of the buildings blinding them out. If you go to a drive-in, a real, slightly country-set drive-in (sorry, the Docks in downtown T.O.), the stars are almost the star of the show, so much so that it almost doesn't matter what movie you're watching or how much you paid to see it. What matters is that you're there, letting yourself get stranded at this magical movie place where the screen isn't even the biggest thing and—let's face it—you'd probably sing about it if you could.