BACK TO THE DRIVE-IN – A Review by John Strange
I have always loved movies. From an early age, I watched them whenever and wherever I could. On TV with the family or at our area drive-In, the Apollo Twin Drive-In, owned by Gordon McClendon. He had others in town including the Gemini Drive-in on Central Expressway at Forest Lane (the only other one of his I ever visited).
Watching Back to The Drive-In, I was reminded of all of those wonderful times. This film, made by director April Wright, looks at eleven different drive-in theaters in the United States. Most are east of the Mississippi River, but she also went out to California to check out a few.
Some of these venues have been in operation since the early 50s, though they have had multiple owners, some more than others. Some have shut down and been rebuilt and reopened and a couple of the theaters are in their first “lives”.
All of them have experienced the same challenges with COVID-19, supply, and personnel. Some have regional challenges like the fog at Wellfleet Drive-In in Massachusetts on Cape Cod while others deal with extreme heat, especially those in the North Texas area (Galaxy Drive-in, Coyote Drive-in, and Brazos Drive-in).
Each drive-in has its own appeal and personality. Many are run by flesh-and-blood families, others are run by groups that have become families. All do this because they love it.
My favorite drive-in highlighted in the film was built in the family’s backyard (and it’s a BIG backyard)! Another sits in the shadow of a downtown area though most are further out from the center of their towns or cities.
I loved the emotions I re-experienced watching this wonderful documentary. I now have a new set of bucket list locations to visit in the next few years, starting with the three in my area of North Texas. I am sad that I have not already been to any of them.
On my travels in the next year, I am also going to try to see the Greenville – Nelco Cineplex in Greenville, Mississippi (on my way to the Oxford Film Festival) and the Starlite Drive-In in Wichita, Kansas (on the way to the Tallgrass Film Festival)!
Watch this film and then make a plan to go watch a film at a drive-in near you! I think you’ll have a good time and make some lasting memories!
Director: April Wright
Cast: Mission Tiki, Wellfleet Drive-In, Field of Dreams Drive-In, Galaxy Drive-in, Coyote Drive-in, Quasar Drive-in, Brazos Drive-in, Bengie’s Drive-in, Transit Drive-In, Greenville Drive-in, Harvest Moon Drive-in
MPAA Rating: NR
Selig Rating: 5 Stars
Runtime: 1 Hour & 45 Min.
Release Date: 03/14/2023
Releasing on Digital & On Demand
Movie Site: BACK TO THE DRIVE-IN Official Site
Trailer: BACK TO THE DRIVE-IN Trailer
The Selig Rating Scale:
5 Stars – Excellent movie/show, well worth the time and price.
4 Stars – Good movie/show
3 Stars – OK movie/show
2 Stars – Well, there was nothing else…
1 Star – Total waste of time.