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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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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at IFC.com

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

Uncle-Buck

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…