Well, the drive-in season is over for 2023, and as such, the Drive-in Saturday Tuesday Movie Review will be put on hold until spring. In its place I plan to run a review of movies in which Bowie appears, the Hooked on the Silver Screen series.
For whatever reason, going to the drive-in is one of my favorite things to do. I especially like going to the Jericho Drive-in and getting a sundae. I tried to work my way through the sundae menus this year, and have more work to do next year!
Movies don’t have to be good in order to be fun at the drive-in. In fact, the venue isn’t the best place to see truly serious movies. The image and sound quality are not as good as a HD screen or even a television, but for the the totality of the experience is THE BEST!!!
Anyway, this is my recap of what I saw this year. I’m rating the movies on a four-point scale, with Bowies instead of stars. I wrote extensive commentary on each of these movies, so if you want to read more, search this blog by movie title or sort by the category of “Drive In Saturday.”
I’ll start with the movies that rated four Bowies and work my way down:
Taylor Swift’s Era’s Tour Film. The most spectacular concert movie I’ve ever seen. With little familiarity with the music, I found this to be throughly enjoyable. Taylor Swift is also one of, if not the biggest stars in America right now, so the movie carries cultural significance. People should know what she’s about, and now I do. If you come into the movie liking the music, there’s a lot of it in the film. Plus, of all the movies I saw at the drive-in this year, this was probably the best suited for the big outdoor screen.
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. While neither a hit in terms of its box office performance or critical reception, I think there’s far more to this movie than audiences expecting Raiders of the Lost Ark were prepared for. I received it as a fairly profound reflection on aging and the idea of heroism. Plus it was great to see Harrison Ford back in one of his signature roles. Plus, Bowie bonus points for having “Space Oddity” in the soundtrack (though I didn’t actually hear it in the movie).
Barbie. The further I get from this movie, the less I like it. Nonetheless, as the summer’s biggest hit, this too is a cultural phenomena that people should see if only to understand what everyone else is talking about. It also gets Bowie bonus points because Kate McKinnon based her character in part on Bowie.
A Haunting in Venice. The third Kenneth Branagh Hercule Poirot movie is what you’d expect it to be, which is a good thing. A refreshing counterpoint to the many supernatural movies in which spirits are real. Well acted and beautifully shot. Not a whole lot negative about this movie, though the best of this genre is less predicable than this one.
Mission Impossible 7; The Equalizer 3 and the Expendables 4. Why am I lumping these three movies together? While they aren’t quite the same movie, they had the same impact. Three high-paced action movies with agining protagonists and a lot of things blowing up. Each was fun while I was watching them, but each is pretty forgettable. I have zero recollection of what plot there was for Mission Impossible and I have slightly more recollection of that for the Expendables, but that’s because I saw it more recently. The Equalizer’s is a little more memorable because there really wasn’t much of a plot to start with— the reason Denzel Washington went to the place where most of the action happens isn’t explained until the very end of the movie, and it turns out not to matter very much. But it was reason enough for us to get to see him kill a lot of people. These movies were fun but missed the opportunity taken by Indiana Jones to use their stars’ advanced age to make any kind of point whatsoever. Fun at the drive in, but not much more than that.
The Exorcist Believer; The Nun 2 and Haunted Mansion. Two (more) sequels plus a remake based on a Disney attraction. These three supernatural movies (two horror movies and a horror comedy) were somewhat dull, not especially scary and each make the tired point that faith is good because magic is real. I’m not sure how much these movies have to offer outside the context of a drive-in where, for me, you’d have to get worse than any of these for me not to have a good time.
The Creator. I think this one got better reviews than I’m willing to give it. A cliche robot-war movie disguised as serious science fiction raising questions about artificial intelligence. High production value, but well-trodden ground. For me, this might have been the most boring movie of the year. But it was at the drive-in, so I had a good time!
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And now, as a bonus, these are the sundaes I had this year at the Jericho (the other drive-in I went to, the Malta Drive-in doesn’t have sundaes), in order of when I ate them. I’ll leave it to your imagination as to what they actually were, based on their names:
1. The Jericho
2. Almond Joyous
3. Chunky Monkey
4. Cherry Cordial
5. Very Blueberry
6. Brownie Sundae
7. Peanut-butter Blast
8. Oreo Madness