Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Right Way to See Grindhouse

Grindhouse is basically an attempt to recreate a particular moviegoing experience, right? Well, I think the audience has to meet the filmmakers halfway on this. It's hard to feel like you're in the '70s watching a couple of sleazy exploitation flicks when you're sitting in a cantilevered armchair eating gourmet pretzels and sipping on bottled water. That won't get you in the mood.

That's why I was delighted to learn that here in Seattle, Grindhouse was playing at a Drive-In. Heck, I was just delighted to learn that we have a Drive-In, but the opportunity to see Grindhouse there was perfect.

Rhias and I tried to get a whole caravan of people together, but we could only round up one other car. That's fine, though; the important thing was that we be able to lean out the window and talk to the next car over.

Beautiful, isn't it? The marquee hasn't changed in at least thirty years. Neither has the concession stand or, I suspect, the food inside. I think it's the only place within a hundred miles of Seattle that doesn't sell Espresso. It's perfect. The experience was only slightly marred by the fact that the other two movies referred to on the marquee are Bridge to Terabithia and Are We Done Yet? (the Ice Cube movie that's a sequel to Are We There Yet? -- incidentally, don't you think it's weird that it's a remake of Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House when the first movie wasn't a remake of anything? Can you really do that? Will the next sequel be a remake of Bringing Up Baby?).

The movie-watching experience was perfect. I enjoy Drive-Ins, and not in an ironic way. I love the way the screen looks like a hole in the sky. In Joe R. Lansdale's The Drive-In (which you should read, especially if you're the sort of person who liked Grindhouse), he describes a Drive-In screen this way:

One of six, it stood stark-white against a jet-black sky, a six-story portal into another dimension.

Yeah. Except that the screens aren't all that stark-white anymore, at least not at the Drive-In I went to.

Anyway, we had stale popcorn and suspiciously warm hot dogs, and some Pabst Blue Ribbon (which tastes terrible but looks great on the dashboard so you see it out of the corner of your eye while you watch the movie), and it was great. Absolutely the right way to see the movie, now that theaters all tend to clean the floor occasionally.

1 comment:

Laurie said...

We have a drive-in theatre less than 3 miles from my house and I LOVE IT! However, I don't think watching Grindhouse at the drive-in would influence my opinion of the movie one way or the other; I watched it in an indoor theatre, and I did not like it. Well, that's not completely true. I sort of tolerated the first portion of the movie, but left after at least 30 minutes of the second portion (I only stuck it out that long because I kept telling myself it was going to improve-both acting performances and script-but alas, I was wrong!). It was terrible...