Monday, March 28, 2011

The Modern Drive-In

I miss drive-in theaters, in a kind of marginal nostalgic way. No. I never really liked seeing movies in a car. But the idea of it is sort of romantic.

But let's take a look at the way things are now. Instead of the drive-in, we have Netflix streaming. You can find any number of strange genre films that you didn't even know existed there. And much like drive-in fare, most of them aren't very good.

Now, let's look at the pros and cons of Netflix vs. the drive-ins.
  1. Big screen. This goes to the old drive-in. No matter how big a plasma TV you have, it just ain't gonna compete with a real movie screen.
  2. Sound. Gotta go with Netflix on this one. A tinny speaker stuck on your window mixed with the tinny sounds of many other speakers all around you does not equal 5.1.
  3. Variety of films. Once more, Netflix without question -- and you can actually pick what you want.
  4. Being in the great outdoors. Well, the drive-in wins this -- but I've never equated seeing movies with being in the great outdoors, so maybe this shouldn't even be a category.
  5. Romantic potential. My TV is in my bedroom. The few times I've been able to get it on with a chick in a car, I'd wished I was in a bed. Is there any place more romantic than a bed? I don't think so. So, this one goes to Netflix.
  6. Snack Bar. I'll give this one to the drive-in. When you're watching movies at home, you actually have to make popcorn -- which can be fun, but usually just involves putting a bag in a microwave for 90 seconds. And any drive-in would have more snack variety than my kitchen.
  7. Social aspect. My TV is in my bedroom, so I only watch movies with Jace. I don't like having a TV in the living room because then it's always on, and no one talks when they come over to visit. For a drive-in, you'd have a bunch of people jammed into the car (but would you really want to talk during the movie?) Then there was always the possibility of going over to another car and visiting friends or meeting new people. Looks like the drive-in wins.
  8. Audience reaction. Both suck. Maybe you can hear people screaming in other cars, but the odds are it's not from the movie (more likely, lack of lubrication).
So to wrap it all up, I like nostalgia as much as the next guy. I like convenience as much as the next guy, too. I do not think that the drive-in experience was the ideal movie experience at all, nor do I think that watching movies at home is the best. Movies are always best seen in a movie theater, where you do get audience reaction, you do have 5.1 sound, and you do have a big screen. Theaters are truly the land where dreams come true.