By twhalliii | THE BACK ROW MANIFESTO by Tom Hall June 25, 2009 at 4:56AM
Radio silence on this blog the past few weeks, but with the end of the Newport International Film Festival and a long overdue family trip to the midwest, I have been way out of the loop for the entire month of June. One of the highlights of the trip was visit to a newly refurbished Drive-in (yes, that's right) in my hometown of Flint, MI. It was actually pretty funny as we learned two important lessons:
--Although Michigan is in the Eastern time zone, it is hundreds of miles west of New York City. Therefore, dusk comes much, MUCH later in Michigan. This is crucial information when planning to see a film that starts at "dusk" (as you will see).
--Never run the battery on your car (to listen to radio sound at a Drive-in) while charging an iPhone. That combination equals dead battery. We found out the hard way. Not surprisingly, it happens all the time and the theater had a portable battery charger on hand to jump the car. All fixed in less than 5 minutes, if rather embarrassing.
We arrived at 7:45 PM (gates at 7:30) and found ourselves one of about two or three cars in the place. We asked what time the film started, assuming dusk would come quickly, but no; nothing would begin until 9:30. In talking about it afterward, I guess it is true that Daylight Savings Time has made the Drive-in a very difficult prospect, even in a car crazy place like Michigan; the summer is the only time that works to show movies, and the days are incredibly long, pushing the start time to well past 9:00 PM.
With all of the extra time on our hands, we decided to take a few pictures of the place an do some exploring. By the time dusk finally arrived, the theater was crowded and we took in Up, which I thought was great. This was my son's first moviegoing experience, and it was ideal; wrapped in a blanket, wearing his PJ's and nursing a bottle, he watched the entire film. Not many kids can say their first film was the Opening Night film at Cannes, but Nico seems a natural movie fan (*ha*). As a father, I remember my own first trip to the Drive-in (to see Walt Disney's Gus) and love the memory of it, so it was nice to be able to share a bygone moviegoing experience. Pictures below (note: we honored the theater's request to not photograph the screen once the film started.)
Nico and The Mrs.