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At the Late Night, Double-Feature Picture Show

shes out of 5c6Sorry for the slight ruse, Rocky Horror Fans (of which I am one), but this post will not be about a young Susan Sarandon getting it six ways from Sunday by everyone except the dude in the wheel chair. That post may be coming soon though.

No, this post is about that great American institution known far and wide as the Drive-In. These bastions of celluloid hearken back to days-gone-by, when teens would pile into a car, have an orgy during a B-rated horror film, and then go to a malt shoppe – all for under a nickel! Drive-Ins took a big hit in the ’80s and ’90s with the advent of VCRs and DVD players, but they are making a come back; partly because of the kitsch factor and cheap prices and partly because if you wanna see someone going at it, by themselves or with a partner live,  chat roulette is a pale comparison to the Americana that is the drive-in theater.

My Drive-In of choice is Dependable Drive-In, about a half hour away from downtown Pittsburgh. There are 3 or 4 drive-ins around my area, but I love this one because of its ample screens (4), the double features, and the nostalgia. Also, the fact that it’s open this time of year is great. Dependable Drive-In is actually open year round which is awesome for those people in winter with four wheel drive that don’t have those fancy talkin’ picture boxes in their homes. Much like a hip L.A. bar, you pretty much have to know someone who has been there to find the place. Even GPS will send you to a random mailbox in the middle of the street, so no luck there. Dependable has been open for sixty years and has shown all the greats from Vertigo to Jaws. In the ’80s it also became a XXX Drive-In at midnight and showed classics like Deep Throat and Debbie Does Dallas. I miss the good old days.

Now, for those of you who have never been to a Drive-In, there is a certain nuance and protocol that must be followed. Once you find your parking spot at your specific screen, you must make sure you turn off your headlights, turn off your engine, and give your kids a healthy dose of Nyquil, because I don’t wanna hear them. At all. Once everything is in order, you have your car situated and the kids are breathing rather shallow, it’s off to the snack bar!

The American Drive-In snack bar is none the likes of which you have ever seen. Now, at your movie theater snack bar, you can get your popcorn and your candy, a pop, and maybe – if they are fancy – a hot dog or nachos. At the Drive-In snack bar, that is just the tip if the iceberg. There you can get everything listed above and more, including but not limited to ice cream treats, french fries, whole pizzas, hoagies, funnel cake, glow-in-the-dark necklaces for the drive-in/rave crowd, corndogs, onion rings, and more! You can also more than likely get an STD from the restroom. Now, you may be thinking, “I need to run back to my car, get settled in for the movie, and make sure the kids aren’t dead,” but no, dear reader, the real show starts at the snack bar. There you will see the most insane mix of true Americans money can buy. Imagine, if you will, being able to view thugged-out white kids, the bulk of a Jenny Craig meeting (excuse the pun), and the most inbred families this side of Juniper Creek all in one room. You’re welcome. Just to give you a mental image, I shall describe what was unleashed on the populous as I waited for my snacks.

Picture, if you will, a normal American family. Not the American family you see on TV, my friends. The family that the rest of the people on your block are afraid to let their children visit. This is a group of people that the Masons would be hesitant to hang with, that never uttered the word “diet”-anything in all their miserable years. Children the size of small bears barking orders at the concession counter worker who has yet to give them their funnel cake and drinks, (in all fairness it had been more that 30 seconds), whilst Grandpa berates the poor slob slopping cheese into a cup for him, “NO NO NO, pour the cheese into the middle of the fries and then another scoop too. My wife’s addicted to cheese.” Yes, your wife who wouldn’t weigh 90 lbs. soaking wet. As the cast of Biggest Loser ambled off with oxygen tanks in tow, all I could do is look on and think to myself, “Ain’t that America.” Now, on with the show!

She’s Out Of My League

The first feature last night was She’s Out Of My League, a romantic comedy about an awkward, thin man with a crap job, whose family would rather hang out with his ex-girlfriend and current beau. I thought Jay Baruchel did a good job doing what he does best, being awkward and thin. Alice Eve as the “perfect girl” was rather meh. It’s hard to cast that kind of “world’s most amazing” anything though; hell, even Bo Derek in 10 wasn’t a 10. Never in the history of man has anyone with cornrows been deemed a 10. An 8 maybe, but only if there was enough weed hidden in that hair to smoke up a drum circle. My definition of a 10 would be a woman with the comedic timing of Tina Fey and the sexual prowess of Sasha Grey, but isn’t every boy attracted to someone who reminds them of their mother? Gross! The real star of the movie was the city of Pittsburgh. Director Jay Field Smith shot the city so beautifully that I wanted to live there and I already do. He made it seem as magical as all Yinzers see it in their hearts. My problem with this flick is that it’s being touted as “the funniest movie since The Hangover,” which in itself could have been better. Do NOT go in expecting to see this movie’s equivalent of Zach Galifinakis getting blown by an 80-year-old whore. Better to take an 80-year-old whore and get blown.

shutterisland bb9
Shutter Island

The next feature was Shutter Island, which was about an hour too long. Shutta the F— Up Island would have been a more apt title or If You’ve Seen Anything in the Past 40 Years You’ll Know the Ending within 20 Minutes: The Movie. Much like Tim Burton puts his wife and boyfriend in every movie he makes, Martin Scorcese has his new golden boy Leo playing the hard-nosed “Bawstin Federil Mawshull.” This movie was all about a woman who may or may not have existed or gone missing and The King of the World trying to find out what’s happened. Mark Ruffalo did a great job playing Gilbert’s Brother’s partner, and Ben Kingsley is bald. You can tell how well the second movie is going at a Drive-In one of two ways. Either the people drive off or the cars around you have fogged up windows and are rhythmically rocking back and forth. Such was the case for Shutter Island.

As for me, I will be venturing back to the Drive-In periodically throughout the season, hoping to catch the next big thing in cinema and avoid catching a staph infection. Enjoy the show!


J.C. Ciesielski, Fanbase Press Contributor



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