The wind devoured dude’s popcorn before he ever had the chance to do the same.
A snack-stealing gust swept across the grounds of the West Wind Las Vegas 5 Drive-In on a Friday at sunset, buttery kernels rolling by like delicious tumbleweeds.
Now, losing a portion of one’s movie eats would qualify as a negative at those grossly inferior theaters with roofs.
But at the drive-in, weathering the elements is part of the experience.
It’s like camping without the stupid camping part, the great outdoors … with Bruce Willis.
Precious little beats seeing movies beneath the stars, breathing in the crisp night air (and occasional exhaust fumes), feeling Mother Nature huff and puff and blow the multiplex away.
As cars parked on the Friday in question, you could see the dust she kicked up in their headlights.
Years ago, one of the five screens was actually blown down by the wind.
Now, where else can catching “Game Night” be seen as an act of unquestionable bravery?
Seeing movies outdoors is definitely one of the top five reasons the drive-in totally rules. Here are the other four:
The lousier the flick, the better
When you sell plasma for two months to save up enough dough to take the family to see Vin Diesel’s latest attempt at walking upright and grunting out his three paragraphs of dialogue, you’re justifiably cheesed off when it blows harder than the aforementioned winds.
But not at the drive-in.
Here, the more crap-tacular the film, the more spectacular the time.
It’s part of the culture: Back in the day, the drive-in was the realm of B movies and skin flicks, rubber monsters and acres of flesh.
It’s a special place where bad acting gets magically transformed into good times.
You don’t hit the drive-in to see “Schindler’s List” or Daniel Day-Lewis in some method-acting role where he spent two years in the woods honing his craft to accurately portray a tree.
Like any true board-certified drive-in professional knows, you choose the most putrid pairing offered: We’re talking cinematic ipecac such as “Boo 2! A Madea Halloween” or “Geostorm,” the former a Tyler Perry “laugher” akin to a cancerous growth in one’s funny bone, the latter yet another waterlogged disaster flick where the true catastrophe occurs at the box office.
Laticha Graham, a mother with a sleeve-tugging young daughter in tow who was highly annoyed that mom was talking to a journalist instead of heading back to the movie screen, summed up the appeal of the drive-in in two words.
Yes, in a time when attending a movie frequently requires the premature emptying of one’s 401(k) account and/or the decision to let your baby start buying his own damn diapers, the drive-in remains remarkably affordable, especially considering that you can see two or three movies a night if you choose.
Tickets are $7.50 for adults, $1.25 for kids 5 to 11 and free for children younger than 4.
Speaking of which …
Kids aren’t quite as annoying here
Late, great comedian Bill Hicks on the miracle of child birth: “You know what a miracle is? Raising a child that doesn’t talk in a movie theater.”
Yes, children are wonderful.
If they’re yours.
What a joy it is to introduce the young’uns to the majesty of the cinema.
If they’re yours.
For everyone else, kids at a movie theater are as annoying as, well, kids at a movie theater.
But not at the drive-in.
Here, kids can run around till their hearts are content, scream their throats raw, attempt to feed hot dogs to stray cats — it’s all good.
None of it detracts from anyone else’s experience.
Unless they’re yours.
You can talk
Moviegoing is strangely communal and noncommunal at once: You’re in a theater full of people, and yet interactions are frowned upon and noise of any kind is as unwelcome as lighter fluid in the burning depths of hell.
Softly ask the guy in the row in front of you if he’s OK as he chokes on a Milk Dud or crinkle your Twizzlers wrapper a bit too loudly, and you’ll soon be feeling the icy stab of a dozen death stares.
But half the fun of the drive-in is going with friends, experiencing movies together and not worrying about keeping your voices down, so long as your spirits are up.
Now all you need is some friends.
Contact Jason Bracelin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0476. Follow @JasonBracelin on Twitter.