The chorus of "the comfort of your own home" always seems to strike a particular chord in this country (with all the unavoidable slumping box office talk, we do wonder why there isn’t more discussion of the fact that, given the choice to do any activity (including dating, shopping, and, yes, movie-watching) in one’s pajamas from one’s couch with a pint of HÃ¤agen-Dazs in one’s hand, that’s probably the way one is going to go).
So how to get people to put on some pants and get out to the cinema? That New York Times piece on movie theaters for grown-ups (not the naughty kind) isn’t up anymore, but on the topic of people attempting to provide a new, improved (or old, retro) moviegoing experience, Dana Calvo at the LA Times checks out the booming drive-in movie business in Texas, including the Crossroads Drive-in:
[Owner Steve] Rodman charges adults $5 for a double feature ($4 for kids and retirees), and he sells about 400 tickets a week. He doesn’t accept credit cards, though, just cash or personal check. The concession stand offers free refills on soda and popcorn, and a small crock pot keeps cheese in a warm goo state for chili dogs.
That sounds so good to us right now. Teresa MÃ©ndez at the Christian Science Monitor looks into "dive-in," summer outdoor screenings by a pool, popular in locations ranging from Roeland Park, KS to the unbearably exclusive SoHo House in Manhattan (which "tends toward films with a Manhattan theme, like anything by Woody Allen or ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’," and also probably offers a better chance of scoring some coke in the bathroom).
It’s hard not to envy our parents and grandparents their moviegoing experience. It’s true, they didn’t have digital light processing projection and THX sound, cinema’s blue pill of sensory overload. But what their theaters had was a sense of occasion.
Our ideal theater is a massive old one, with a balcony and rows of crumbling seats. We’d sneak a bottle of wine into an eccentric late-afternoon double feature, and share it with friends who’d serendipitously happened to show up to watch the same films. If you know of such a place, do let us know.
[Update: that New York Times article is currently up at the Chicago Tribune]