Monday, March 21, 2011

M.I.A. on Blu-Ray Vol. 9: At the Drive-In


I was able to get over to the venerable New Beverly Cinema this past weekend and catch the last screening of Rod Amateau's film DRIVE-IN (I've loved Rod Amateau ever since I first saw his rompy TV-Movie masterpiece HIGH SCHOOL USA). The new print of DRIVE-IN that QT was able to get for this screening was glorious.(I hope this could indicate a possible DVD release on the horizon, but who knows). I've been a fan of the film for a long time and it still charms me each time I've watched it(despite its flaws). It's a fun, clever, quaint little PG-Rated ensemble. I'd say its kind of like if A.I.P. did their version of an Altman's take on AMERICAN GRAFITTI. The film being viewed at titular drive-in is called DISASTER '76 and it's a silly spoofy parody of all the disaster film cliches of the period. I couldn't help but snicker each time they showed scenes from it. It was just so neat to see a story that really revolves around a drive-in, which used to be more of an American social staple. I myself grew up with drive-ins and saw many formative films there in their first run. I still recall seeing BACK TO THE FUTURE in October of 1985 at our local 4 screen drive-in. At the time I remember thinking how cool it was that the film was set in and taking place in the near future(November of that year). Anyway, my family used to love to fill brown paper grocery bags with popcorn & butter, stuff some lawn chairs in the back of our station wagon and head over to our drive-in on Saturday nights. I recall other double featuring the likes of FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF(I distinctly recall driving out of the theater during Rooney's last scene on the bus and missing Ferris's closing, post-credits greeting), CAN'T BUY ME LOVE and Blake Edwards' nearly insufferable A FINE MESS. Such wonderful times. I found myself inspired by the film and Dennis Cozzalio's piece on it to ponder other movies that feature drive-in theaters prominently. The two favorites that came immediately to mind for me are Peter Bogdanovich's TARGETS and Tim Burton's PEE-WEE'S BIG ADVENTURE. Two distinctly different films, but two that I adore and would very very much like to see on blu-ray. Again, DRIVE-IN is another one of those films that's never seen an official DVD release(only ever been on VHS). Hopefully at the very least it might show up through some burn on demand service.
Other movies featuring drive-ins that could use a BD release: EXPLORERS, DEAD-END DRIVE IN, DEADHEAD MILES, THAT DARN CAT(1965).

Drive-ins are far from dead and I highly recommend doing some research to see if there are still operating theaters in your area. The experience of seeing films in that environment is singularly unique and wonderful. Companies like West Wind Drive-Ins and organizations like The Southern California Drive-In Movie Society are truly keeping the dream alive.











3 comments:

raculfright_13 said...

Have you seen American Drive-In (1985)? Sounds like an interesting movie since it's an 80's Teen flick taking place at a Drive-In.

Rupert Pupkin said...

Been meaning to catch that one, but never have. It's moved up my list since this weekend.

Hal said...

We have two drive in's that I know of in TX: one is fairly new, in Midland, the other shows double features in Ennis for $6.50. I need to try one or both out sometime.

Amateau got his start directing some of the best episodes of LOVE THAT BOB and then most of the DOBIE GILLIS episodes. Loved his work with both.

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