By Robert McCune
Man, I miss the movies.
Trust me, I understand it’s a small inconvenience not to be able to sit in a crowded theater right now for a summer movie blockbuster full of explosions, excitement and danger. Health and safety, and life, come first.
Still, this is the first summer I remember in my 40-plus years that I have had an entire agenda of action and adventure to look forward to. If I ever had one of those summer planners, it would always be movie-theatre-popcorn-butter-stained.
The pandemic, which continues, has robbed us of so many of the things we took for granted before.
For me, one of those things is the whole movie theater experience.
The experience of walking into that cavernous carnival of cinematic delight and facing a carousel of choices from comedy to drama to action to thriller.
The sights and sounds and smells of popcorn popping, candy boxes rattling, and pop pouring from the concession spigots.
The dimming of the lights, and the streaming of such stunning imagery from the projector booth.
The thunderous surround sound of amped-up action scenes.
The communal reaction of the crowd – the oohs and ahhs, the collective laughter – to the larger-than-life storybook in motion.
Sadly, even as movie theaters themselves plan to reopen, all of the new movies we could have expected this summer have been pushed back, some to winter and some as far as a full year.
To name a few:
“Black Widow,” the Marvel standalone debut of the red-headed Russian-born avenger Natasha Romanoff (played by Scarlett Johansson), was moved from this May to a Nov. 6 release.
“Wonder Woman 1984,” another comic book epic with Gal Gadot back as the Amazonian warrior, has been moved twice – first from June 5 to Aug. 14, and now to Oct. 2.
“Top Gun: Maverick,” the 34-years-later sequel in which Tom Cruise again takes flight as the title character, moved from June 24 to Dec. 23.
“Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” which returns original cast members Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson to ectoplasmic glory, was moved from a July 10 release all the way to March 5, 2021!
So what are movie buffs (addicts, really) like me to do without a summer at the movies?
We make do, the best we can.
It’s just not the same, at all, watching a movie at home on a flat-screen TV – no matter how big it is. Some film studios have tried anyway to get audiences to pay theater sized prices to rent and watch their summer movies at home. I, for one, am not buying in.
Theaters, for at least a while when they open, will rely on recent releases (which maybe we didn’t get around to seeing the first time) and some classic summer fare (the movies many of us grew up on).
The recent releases mostly come from the bottom of the movie barrel, released in that dead zone between January and March where the studios all dump out the rotten apples.
The classics can be fun to watch again on the big screen in a theater. In my experience, they’re even better at a drive-in theater, where you really get the benefit of that classic feel.
The Lynn Drive-In in Strasburg, open seven days a week at dusk, has been leading this trend of classic movies since it opened in June, with at least one of its two screens dedicated to such hits as “The Goonies,” “Jaws” and “Gremlins.” (Go to the Lynn’s website, lynndrivein. com, or call 330-878-5797, for this week’s scheduled movies.)
Another option: Make your own drive-in movie theater of sorts. Having done this myself, I highly recommend the investment in a home-theater projector (you can get a good one for $200 or less on Amazon).
With our projector, which I recently upgraded, we cast the movies of our choice on a screen installed across the back of our garage, while we sit in the backyard in lawn chairs and on blankets (like we do at any drive-in) and enjoy whatever concessions we want.
It’s a fun, summer, family activity – and salve for suffering movie fans.
Robert McCune is a designer, consultant and occasional film critic for The Dalton Gazette & Kidron News. Write to him at [email protected]