Monday, April 19, 2010

Requiem for a Drive In

It is my sad duty to inform you all that the almighty Tri Town Drive In up in Leominster Ma has been torn down this past winter.
The handwriting was on the wall for the past couple of years, rumors of imminent sales clouded the air like mosquitoes for the past three summers, but somehow the blade never quite fell, until now of course.
For a while last year, the patient rallied, that hu-uge outdoor screen had been carefully stone-washed and repaired, it never looked higher or more imposing than it did last summer, like it would outlast the next Ice Age.
But it was in the end, the Twilight of the Gods.
Sadly family issues prevented me from getting out there much last summer, it may well be an ironic matter of record that the very last film I saw there was"The Land of the Lost" starring Will Ferrell.
Well what of it?
This whole mishaugas started on a trivial note as well, "The Sandlot" (1993) on a double bill with "Hot Shots Part Deux" as I recall.
Frankly I saw a lot of irredeemable junk at the Tri Town ("I Love a Mystery, "Warriors of Virtue"), I nearly got my head bashed in by some travelers during a screening of "My Super Ex Girlfriend", And during "A.I." the film kept melting and breaking which was a cue for baffled and outraged families to peel out the exit in a cloud of dust.
Still and all that, going to the Tri Town was an adventure, maybe the lat real film adventure of my life, who knows?
It was The Destination for any bloated summer epic, the Star Wars prequels, the inevitable tent pole super hero movie or maybe just maybe something fun that slipped between the cracks (expl. "Joe Dirt").
I saw S.W.A.T. there, Righteous Kill with DeNiro and Pacino slumming with supreme nonchalance and then ghod help me, Adam Sandler in "Mister Deeds".
Somewhere deep in this improbable love affair with an outdoor cinema, I formulated a radical aphorism "A Bad Night at the Drive In is better than a Good Night at the Multiplex"....Lord knows how avidly I sought to test that notion over sixteen years.
I think my grandest most impossible film fantasy was to somehow "four wall" the Tri Town and screening Herschell Gordon Lewis' "Two Thousand Maniacs" on a double bill with Arch Hall Jr. in "The Sadist",
Like I said impossible, but fun to think about.
One night alone, I drove thru a downpour to see "Deep Impact" , miraculously as I pulled up to the Tri Town the clouds parted, the sun shone thru and wen it set, I was rewarded with the near destruction of the world as we know all up on that outdoor screen in technicolor.
I had quite literally parted the clouds...Does anyone else have such a vivid memory of such an innocuous disaster movie?
That was the sheer power of the Tri Town, it was in the end, a portal out into the Land of Ghosts where the Gods go to war atop pterodactyls and mooks like Seth Rogen can marry Cleopatra sans demure.
But the curtain falls, seemingly on everything we love.
Still sixteen years is a long time, there are happy marriages that do not last so long.

So at last, I bid the Tri Town Farewell, they always started screening early and ran straight thru to mid October so this will be a very bittersweet drive in season this year I think.

No comments: