HOME ABOUT SUPPORT US SITES WE LIKE FORUM Search Fanboyplanet.com | Powered by Freefind FANBOY PLANET
Now Showing Today's Date:

Drive-In Movie Memories

(Editor's note: Garcia turned this in a couple of months ago, and it is completely and totally my fault it's only seeing the light of the net now.)

As usual, Cinequest knocked loose a few things that had been rattling around my brain. One of which was the memory of a documentary I had seen a couple years back directed by Kurt Kuenne (Rent-A-Person) called Drive-In Movie Memories. I ran into Kurt and asked for a screener so I could rewatch the film that I remember as one of my favorite docs of the last two years. I’m glad he remembered to bring it for me because this is one of those docs that both manages to do the documenting of reality right while not skimping on making a nice piece of innovation.

The drive-in is a personal favorite of mine. I grew up attending the Winchester Drive-in at least once a week, playing on the horsie swings and watching films like Star Wars, 9 to 5, and ET. I can remember the taste of snack bar hamburgers perfectly. This doc was right in my kitchen, but it went well beyond my expectations the first time I saw in 2002, and even beyond those on my second viewing last week.

Though based on the books of Don and Susan Sanders, Drive-In Movie Memories is made amazing by the way Kuenne attacks the subject with a heavy dose of original snap shots and an almost Eisensteinian love of the fact cut. There must be at least a thousand photographs used and a ton of old pre-show and intermission trailers. The fast break action between the pictures and the rapid fire editing only ads to the feeling that the drive-in was a lively place, not just another “hard top” where people went to sit and actually watch the movies. There is a great pre-movie piece, obviously done for regular sit-down theatres in the early 1960s where a spokesman tells kids to keep it silent during the entire picture. This section, with its single camera position and the barren background as the speaker warns us of the trouble of youngsters at the movies, juxtaposed with the Kuennian edit style, really plays up the differences.

As always, the sections on the failures of various drive-in owners was amazingly strong. The explorations of the various sound methods and weather deterants may have been my favourite. There is an excellent section on carside air conditioners that would spew rats into your vehicle that just kicked my ass I was laughing so hard.

The interviews are amazing, as they hit a huge player (Leonard Maltin), a cult legend (John Bloom aka Joe Bob Briggs), a bevy of B-movie actors, American International studio head Samuel Z. Arkoff, and actor Barry Corbin, who was my personal favorite. This is a knowledgeable and interesting group, who entertain with smart anecdotes and give us the important info we require.

There is a great section on sex and the drive-in, where a woman who went to an ozoner to mess around with Elvis Presley recounts her experience. Kuenne uses and interesting technique where he sometimes allows several peoples voices to overlap, forming a confusing mass, but one where you can still pick out a single thread. It reminds me of a filmed version of early issues of Wired magazine.

Kurt Kuenne also has the distinction of being a first rate film composer, and the score does the work a huge amount of justice. From the very beginning, the orchestral score stirs up images of John Williams’ great pieces for the films that would mark the end of the drive-in era.

Drive-ins died off due to the VCR, the multiplex, Cable TV, and Daylight Savings Time. Now that the last generation of regular drive-in kids are getting to the age of nostalgia, a piece like this is perfectly timed. Beautifully made, magnificently edited, and highly informative, Drive-In Movie Memories is well-worth seeking out. For more info, check out http://www.americandrivein.com/.

Chris Garcia

Our Friends:

Official PayPal Seal

Copyrights and trademarks for existing entertainment (film, TV, comics, wrestling) properties are held by their respective owners and are used with permission or for promotional purposes of said properties. All other content ™ and © 2001, 2014 by Fanboy Planet™.
"The Fanboy Planet red planet logo is a trademark of Fanboy Planetâ„¢
If you want to quote us, let us know. We're media whores.
Movies | Comics | Wrestling | OnTV | Guest | Forums | About Us | Sites