Canada Day Double Drive-In Review

Published on July 6th, 2011

Travis, the MacGuffin Men’s new contributor, stops by to share his thoughts about Super 8, drive-ins, and Ryan Reynolds’ dick.

Having recently returned from a week in the homeland (Owen Sound, Ontario – for those of you that are unfamiliar), I thought that this would be an appropriate time to reflect on my return to one of Movieland’s endangered venues: The Drive-In Theatre. I’ll spare you statistics on the decline of the North American drive-in theatre – not only because I couldn’t find any, but also for the sake of enforced brevity and your own boredom.

 

The Setting

The atmosphere of a Drive-In is crucial to the experience. The Owen Sound Twin Drive-In has been a fixture of Highway 6 for years, with its vaguely racist Test-Pattern Indian facing the road and its usual grassy overgrowth marking it to beachgoers throughout the summer. The radio signal is appropriately fuzzy, with an often nervous summer employee making routine announcements over music before the movies start. He tells us there is still time for snacks, but I imagine you’ve probably smuggled in some of your own past the gatekeeper. The Drive-In holds the distinction of being the only domestic location to feature human smuggling while staying family-friendly. Remember, always keep your beer below the dashboard, and any additional friends tucked under a blanket in the back of the car.

Drive-In haters will cite the endless horde of mosquitoes that invade each vehicle as a deterrent from attending, and I can say that they were in full force this Canada Day. The drive-in hosted what I thought to be a surprisingly small crowd for Canada Day, but I later realized this was due to the 4-movie Dusk-Till Dawn screening the following night. That likely would have been a more interesting write-up, but at least I didn’t see Just Go With It or reveal that you’re the mailman’s kid.

One interesting thing that I did notice during both features was that the soundtracks were constantly warbling, like old science fiction movies. It added a neat quality to Super 8, and I was informed by my co-pilot that this had something to do with out-of-phase stereo sound, leaving the dialogue clear and affecting only the music.

The setting was appropriate and the movies were fun, family-oriented summer fare projected onto an ancient, partially ripped screen.

 

Review: Super 8 starring Coach Taylor and the Cloverfield Monster

In its second week, Super 8 was everything I expected it to be: a decent homage to the late 1970s with a relatively thin plot and some fun action. The movie focused largely on the child-cast, who had fantastic chemistry, with the occasional glimpse of Deputy Dad’s struggles as a single parent. It was very by-the-numbers, but the formula worked for me.

“I’ve got nothing against your friends, I like your friends.” –Sheriff Dad

One technical problem was that near the end I could not see JJ’s monster clearly as people pulled in for the second feature with fully-lit headlights. It kind of helped the mystery of the whole thing, but is something I would like to have seen. It did make me want to watch a double-header of this and Cloverfield, which I was a big fan of. Despite any glitches, this movie was the perfect pick for the drive-in, so be sure to catch it there if you can.

I give Super 8 7.5 brand-new Sony Walkmen, two copies of ET on videotape and a joint.

 

Review: Green Lantern starring Ryan Reynolds and some sweatpants.

You may have heard me talk about this in a podcast with Alex earlier, and I chose to remain optimistic. I was having a great time after Super 8 and had no issues sitting through what turned out to be a very expensive children’s movie (and I mean that in the nicest way possible). Green Lantern made up for some fundamental storytelling problems (and terrible dialogue) by featuring a surprising amount of nudity. Watch for the sweatpants – It swings, and rhymes with “grandfather clock.”

“Hal! This test today – its important.” – Girl Pilot

While plenty of people scoffed at the trailer for its unfinished visual FX, there were far greater problems with the mess of a screenplay that this was born from. Some have pointed out that the core of the film relies too much on the abstract concepts of “will” and “fear” fighting each other across the galaxy, distracting from what could have been at least good-enough character arcs that just need a little more attention. A screenplay developed by a populist comic-book writer, a nervous studio undergoing major corporate shakeups, a seemingly disengaged director and an enthusiastic actor on the verge of being a movie star was bound to have problems.

However, there were parts that indicated the right studio and crew could have absolutely made this thing work. Reynolds was his usual charming swinging penis self, Peter Sarsgaard seemed to be acting in a particularly great X-Files episode, and Mark Strong made the best with what little he had. A proposed sequel may bear a good superhero flick, but I feel that WB’s hunt for a scapegoat may take some time.

I give Green Lantern 5 Guardians of the Universe and one pair of sweatpants. As a children’s movie, I give this 8 worn-out Finding Nemo DVDs.

 

Epilogue: My Dreams

Late that night I dreamt that Ryan Reynolds appeared before me in sweatpants, offering to kiss me on the condition that I don’t stare too much at his bulge. I obviously couldn’t keep from sneaking a peek, and Ryan became the smoke-monster from LOST.

I give this dream one midnight erection, one cold sweat and an expensive visit to a therapist.

Ryan Reynolds comforts a grieving canine.

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