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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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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

via GIPHY

Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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