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How I'll Spend My Summer

By Bert Ehrmann
June 3, 2011

Some of my fondest memories as a teen are of watching movies at the drive-in theater that used to be in Decatur, Indiana. I didn't go there that often, but somehow that experience of sitting out beneath the stars and taking in a movie, or alternatively huddled in a car trying to make out what was happening on-screen as a thunderstorm passed overhead, stays with me to this very day.

That drive-in's been closed for a long while now, but there's not a summer that goes by that I don't think about what it would be like to visit that place just one more time, to take in just one more double-feature covered in bug-spray.

What I've decided to do this summer is to try to recreate that drive-in experience by spending each weekend taking in a double-feature like I used to at the drive-in, only this time in the comfort of my home. If you're interested in following along yourself most of these movies, with a few exceptions, are easily available via Netflix.

Memorial Day Weekend, Week #1, May 28
Godzilla ( 1998) & Superman Returns (2006): Both of these films marked a studio trying to reboot a once successful franchise but failed at the box office.

Godzilla
Superman Returns
Dalek's Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D.
X-Files: Fight the Future

Week #2, June 4
Daleks': Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. (1966): X-Files: Fight the Future (1998): Each of these films were based on successful TV series that aired during the release of the movies as well as afterwards.

Week #3, June 11
Vanishing Point
(1971) & Smokey and the Bandit (1977): While both of these movies might be about guys in a really fast cars running from "smokies," they're both handled very differently with one a metaphysical journey and the other a fun romp across the south.

Vanishing Point
Smokey and the Bandit
Turkey Shoot
Dead End Drive-In

 

Week #4, June 18
Turkey Shoot
(1982) & Dead End Drive-In (1986): I've been a fan of low-budget genera director Brian Trenchard-Smith for a few years now, and these two "gems" seem to be a perfect fit for my double-feature experiment.

Week #5, June 25
The Crazies (1973) & Night of the Creeps (1986): What happens when an outside influence begins controlling peoples minds? Very bad things.

The Crazies
Night of the Creeps
Stripes
Red Dawn

The Fourth of July Weekend, Week #6, July 2
Stripes (1981) & Red Dawn (1984): USA…USA…USA!…

Week #7, July 9
Krull
(1983) & Willow (1988): These two movies have mostly been forgotten since the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter films redefined the fantasy genera, but I've always had a fondness for both.

Krull
Willow
Captain America
The Rocketeer

Week #8, July 16
Captain America
(1990) & The Rocketeer (1991): The Rocketeer turns 20 this summer and though I can't call it a "remake," a new version of Captain America is due in theaters July 22.

Week #9, July 23
Flash Gordon
(1980) & The Phantom (1996): These movies tried to reintroduce a somewhat established character to a new audience but ended up failing at the box office and we haven't heard from either character on the big screen since.

Flash Gordon
The Phantom
The Monster Squad
The Blob

Week #10, July 30
The Monster Squad
(1987) & The Blob (1988): I loved both these movies when I first saw them and think they'd make great double-feature fodder.

Week #11, August 6
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
(1984) & Heavy Metal (1981): Both of these movies taught me that animated films weren't necessarily just for kids and could deal with adult themes.

Nausicaa
Heavy Metal
Galaxy of Terror
Aliens

Week #12, August 13
Galaxy of Terror (1981) & Aliens (1986): Jim Cameron, who directed Aliens and later Avatar, acted as production designer for Galaxy of Terror, which looks and feels a whole heck of a lot like a warm-up to Aliens.

Week #13, August 20
Conan the Barbarian
(1982) and Fright Night (1985): Remakes of both of these movies are due in theaters this week.

Conan the Barbarian
Fright Night
Mad Max
1990: The Bronx Warriors

Week #14, August 27
Mad Max (1979) & 1990: The Bronx Warriors (1982): The original and the rip-off.

Labor Day Weekend, Week #14, September 3
Stand By Me
(1986) & The Shawshank Redemption (1994): I'll close out the traditional end of summer with one classic movie that takes place over Labor Day weekend as well as another classic, both originally written by the same author, Stephen King.

Conan the Barbarian
Fright Night

That's how I plan on spending my summer. Who knows, if this is popular enough and I can stick with the list maybe this will become a yearly event?