Why I Hate Outdoor Movies (Come to Mine?)

Breakfast at Tiffany's

Okay listen, before I get around to explaining why I’m co-sponsoring tonight’s installment of the Cabbagetown Movie Night series I need to tell you that I don’t actually like outdoor movie screenings. In fact I hate them because something always goes wrong for me.

One summer my friends Chele and Kevin cajoled me into going to see “E.T. the Extraterrestrial” at the summertime series called “Screen on the Green” in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park. We got some drinks from the nearby Park Tavern and went to claim a seat on the giant lawn as lightning bolts flickered along the edges of the summertime storm clouds gathering to the west. When I mentioned the imminent maelstrom creeping toward us Chele told me to relax, that nothing was going to happen. As she spoke I turned to study the giant movie screen, which was bristling with thousands of pieces of aluminum speed rail – ready to transfer any and all lightning strikes to the ground…. the ground upon which we all lay sprawled.

Sure enough, 5 minutes later the (obviously terrified, to me) organizers canceled the event and urged us to all flee for our lives, as big fat raindrops began to pelt down. The resulting traffic snarl was epic and I can’t remember if we joined back up afterward.

A year or two later Chele and Kevin persuaded me to give Screen on the Green a second chance since it had relocated to the Centennial Olympic Park (supposedly to preserve the lawn in Piedmont Park during an especially dry summer). By moving the event to the west side of town it opened it up to some of Atlanta’s poorer residents which was honestly pretty neat, but the tradeoff was that that it was all too apparent that many of them had no idea how to behave in such a public setting. I lost count of how many times the woman in front of us would stagger to her feet, scratch her ample ass, and call somebody on her cellphone using her outside voice.

I have no recollection of what movie we saw – all I remember is that woman’s big butt.

Still determined to make me love outdoor movies, Chele and Kevin prevailed upon me ONE MOAR TIME to follow them from a restaurant to the Starlight Drive In to see a movie. I could have said “No thank you, I don’t like outdoor movies”, but no, I drove in, paid for a ticket (or however it works) and proceeded to go to a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT SCREEN than Chele and Kevin. I mean, WE WERE IN DIFFERENT CARS!!! They would have never noticed if I’d driven in one side then driven out the other side and gone straight home.

The movie I picked was called “Meet Dave” in which the fantastic funnyman Eddie Murphy played a tiny alien piloting an Eddie Murphy shaped mechanical man, destined to fall in love with an Earthwoman. (RottenTomatoes.com gives the movie a 19% rating)

A long time ago drive-in movies would play the sound over little speaker that sat on poles next to your car but these days they broadcast the audio over a short range radio, which means that you have to listen via your car’s radio. This was also in the scorching heart of summer, and most people there kept their cars running so they could enjoy air-conditioning.

I realized that I was screwed because I was driving my older car, which would overheat if it sat running too long. For the duration of that awful movie I would run my car for a while to cool things off, then I would switch off the car and turn the key to keep the radio powered, and then I would roll down my windows BY HAND because they’re old-fashioned hand-cranked windows. I would endure the heat radiating from the asphalt ocean until I felt a trickle of sweat roll between my butt cheeks or until a particularly frightening flying beetle would crash into face, and then I’d crank the windows up again and crank the car and run it some more.

I also think I needed to poop the ENTIRE TIME.

Again, so that you understand how dumb I am: my friends had NO IDEA where I was, which meant that I could have left at any time I wanted to leave. I’m not proud of myself.

For many years I successfully avoided the call of outdoor movies until someone I call The Girl Who Isn’t On Facebook (TGWIOF) asked some of us to attend a screening of “Saving Mr. Banks” up in Suwanee, a town far, far to the north of Atlanta. I was free that night and had forgotten all of my prior encounters with outdoor public movies so I agreed to go.

Downtown Suwanee is a really neat place, and TGWIOF’s mom has a place on the village green so we were all able to stroll up to the commons area where the summer films are shown. There was already a large crowd assembled on blankets and camp chairs and we picked our way into the crowd to find an empty spot. As the movie began I realized that my hearing wasn’t what it used to be, and that I was relying on reading the actors’ lips to understand some of the dialogue – but it was funny and entertaining, so I felt that maybe I had finally made peace with this type of cultural event.

And then some kid started spinning one of those glow-string things they sell in carnivals. And then some other kids ran behind us. There were more kids than adults!! Two little boys wandered up and decided that I was their new big brother and plopped down right beside me to have a chat about bugs and mud, which is okay because I like kids and I really like bugs. I probably would have joined the conversation if it hadn’t started to rain.

At first it was just a little rain, and then it was a LOT.

We broke out our umbrellas and rain jackets but it was obvious to all but one of our group that it was time to retreat back to TGWIOF’s mom’s place. The lone holdout in our group returned an hour later, proud of his accomplishment at having seen the movie in the rain. I just thought he was an ass, and I think I told him so.

Clearly I am not an outdoor movie person.

And that’s why I’m making this post today, to invite you to come see the movie that we’re sponsoring in Cabbagetown Park tonight.

The “we” I speak of consists of three people:

The first person is our spearhead, Lynn Lamousin, of Kittyboy Creations. She’s an independent creative copywriter for Fortune 500 companies and the only human to have ever written and produced the world’s only all-sock-puppet pun-filled movie “The Lady From Sockholm”. She is also the founder of the Feline Film Fest.

The second person is best-selling author and Atlanta Magazine columnist Hollis Gillespie, who has appeared on The Tonight Show and will be seen in an upcoming segment on the Today Show. Her latest book “Unaccompanied Minor” follows the adventures of a 14 year old runaway, April May Manning, in a race against time – five miles in the sky.

Finally, there’s me, Drewprops. I write a column about Atlanta’s motion picture industry for Oz Magazine and in my spare time I’m a graphic designer, a writer, the creator of the Film Georgia Novelty License Plates, the manager of a space pirate who runs the PiratePalooza Pubcrawl & Pubsing, the founder of the all-cardboard science fiction convention known as Cardboard*Con. I have dropped Kevin Costner, lost Reese Witherspoon’s wedding ring, caught a cottage made entirely from cheese (dropped by David Cross) and had many other excellent and more often embarrassing adventures.

We all hope that you’ll be able to join us for tonight’s film screening of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, a movie I’ve never seen and strongly suspect will disappointingly be bereft of spaceships, superheroes and girls in micro-bikinis. I will confess to you now that I’m afraid that we will be rained out, attacked by hoboes, or in some way prevented from seeing, hearing, or comprehending the film. Still, there will be a food truck, the Sweet Cheats bakery next door, and listen: life is short. You should do stuff.

The fun starts at 6:30pm, the movie begins at 8:30pm, see you there?

One Comment on “Why I Hate Outdoor Movies (Come to Mine?)”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *