DID YOU READ

Sick of the Multiplex? Go to the Drive-In

Sick of the Multiplex?  Go to the Drive-In (photo)

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There have been a lot of articles in the press lately about bad projection and the overal poor viewing experience at multiplexes around the country. I still love going to the movies, but even I get fed up sometimes: dim movies, high prices, loud patrons on their cell phones. If you can relate, here is my suggestion:

Go to the drive-in.

Drive-in movie theaters are a legendary part of American popular culture, but for a lot of folks, that’s all they are: a legend, read about or seen in old movies but never actually experienced. Though just a fraction of the drive-ins from their heyday remain, there are still hundreds operating throughout the United States and every single one I’ve been to has been well worth the trip. And not just as a historical curiosity.

No question: drive-ins have their downsides. In northern climes, they’re only open during the summer and no matter where they’re located, they are always at the mercy of the weather. The picture and sound quality of the best drive-in can’t come close to the picture and sound quality of the best multiplex; the screens are usually old and the sound comes piped in through FM radio in your car stereo. But in the right setting on the right night (and with the right movies — I’d pass on “Tree of Life,” drive-in style), you can’t beat a cinematic evening under the stars. Here’s five reasons why.

1. Two Movies For Less Than The Price Of One

Last night at the Warwick Drive-In in Warwick, NY, I saw “The Hangover Part II” and “Bridesmaids” for $8. Eight bucks wouldn’t even get me one ticket at my local multiplex, where it would cost me $24 to take in the same double feature. Particularly in our current crummy economy, that is a great deal. You’re basically paying rental price for a theatrical experience on a gigantic screen that dwarfs the ones at my local theater, where something like half the auditoriums seat less than 50 people.

2. A Relaxed Attitude Toward Outside Food

Speaking of saving money, drive-ins are way less intense about customers bringing in outside food than your standard theater. They’ve got their own snack bar, of course, but you’re welcome to bring what you want (other than booze, understandably). And since nobody’s sitting two and a half inches to your left, you don’t have to worry about bugging them with your stinky takeout. In the mood for pizza and the movies? Go for it.

3. Your Obnoxious Neighbors Are Too Far Away To Bother You

Someone I follow on Facebook recently shared a horrifying story: instead of being disturbed by someone talking on their cell phone, they had to contend with a person in front of them watching something on their cell phone. Paid twelve bucks to see a movie, then watched something (for free) on their cell phone in the middle of the theater. There are plenty of jerks at the drive-in too, but you’re insulated from their bad behavior by your car and the sound muffling effects of the great outdoors. A properly spaced drive-in is actually a fairly private public viewing experience. The hassles are at an absolute minimum.

4. You Can’t Beat the Leg Room

No need to keep crossing your legs: space is your friend at the drive-in. You can move your car seat to your heart’s content. Feel like reclining? Do it up. And if you don’t like your car, you can always bring beach chairs or blankets and hang out in the grass.

5. Being Outside Makes Watching Movies Feel Like Exercise

Okay, maybe not. But if you’ve never tried it, there’s nothing quite like the serene pleasure of watching a movie outside as a cool breeze blows through your hair. It’s amazing. Just remember to pack some bug spray.

You can find the closest drive-in theater to where you live at Drive-Ins.com. If you go, we want to hear about it. Tell us about your experience in the comments below or on Twitter or Facebook.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. 

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number! 

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time. 

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by. 

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo. 

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim. 

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t? 

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?” 

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud. 

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.