Director and writer April Wright visited eleven family-owned drive-ins across the country to see how they keep their dream of playing movies in the open air alive. The pandemic allowed people to come back to this seemingly lost way to see movies — well, for some us, we never stopped going — and now that people can travel freely, the drive-ins still struggle.
Drive-ins include The Wellfleet in Wellfleet, Massachusetts; Quasar in Valley, Nebraska; Field of Dreams Drive-In in Liberty City, Ohio; Brazos Drive-In in Granbury, Texas; Coyote Drive-In in Fort Worth, Texas; Harvest Moon Drive-In in Gibson City, Illinois; Galaxy Drive-In in Ennis, Texas; Transit Drive-In in Lockport, New York; the sadly closed Mission Tiki in Montclair, California and the Bengies Drive-In in Middle River, Maryland. Each has a different size, geography and history, which is both happy and sad. I get wistful every time I leave the drive-in, thinking of all the places in my past — the Blue Sky, Spotlight 88, Super 51, Parkstown Corners — that have been closed and I can never go back to.
This film made me feel the same way, as we know how important these places are to our pop culture and yet as soon as COVID-19 — which really hasn’t gone away — was out of everyone’s brains, people went back to the movies instead of the magic of watching films in their cars.
It’s funny because some reviewers have commented on the too many drone shots of this film and that was my favorite part. I just want to fly over these movie heavens, drink them in, savor each and every part of them while they are still here. This film allows us to do that.
In the Pittsburgh area, we are lucky to have the ever, well, dependable Dependable Drive-In, the Evergreen Drive-In (the cleanest drive-in I’ve ever been to), the three-screen Brownsville Drive-In, the Comet Drive-In, the Starlight in Butler and the magical Riverside Drive-In, the home of all night horror drive-in weekends called the April Ghouls Drive-In Monster Rama and the Super Monster-Rama every April and September.
You should watch this movie and you should attend every one of these drive-ins as often as you can.
Back to the Drive-In is now available from Uncork’d Entertainment.