Perfect for Athens townies craving safe cinema, Ciné Drive In Tuesdays are a unique and fun entertainment option. Sept. 14’s showing of “Legally Blonde” was nothing less than charming.
Spoiled California girl Elle Woods’ antics as an underqualified Harvard Law student were illuminated by a vast screen with impeccable sound quality through radio station 95.1 FM., making for a theater-equivalent experience. The stars above and cool September evening air beat an indoor theater any day.
Ciné made the right choice of location with the General Time building off Chase Street in North Athens. Out of the way yet still accessible, the movie was shielded from distractions of excess noise and traffic. A spacious lot left plenty of room for the multiple convertibles reminiscent of the time when drive-ins were at their prime, as well as the more functional vehicles most drove. Sedan drivers set up camp chairs in their designated spot with a hand held radio, and families in SUVs backed in and popped the trunk to lay on blankets to watch the film. A quick survey of the scene exhibited a picture of families and friends spending time together amid an idyllic sunset: chatting, laughing, and in the case of the car behind us, discussing the merits of skipping class for movie-going.
Supporting local Athens businesses is worth the steep price of $30 for up to 3 people and $50 for up to 5 people in one vehicle, so future attendees would be wise to invite friends to tag along and split the check. Attendees could arrive starting at 7:30, but the show didn’t start until 8:30. Though an understandable time for summer shows, with school now in session and nights darkening earlier, the show should have been on a Friday or Saturday or earlier in the evening. Thankfully, for the next movie on Sept. 21, the lot will open at 7 and the show will begin at 8.
Refreshments, including a food truck, and bathrooms were available, just like at a downtown Ciné show. Staff were helpful and kept the show running smoothly. Another plus was that they didn’t police outside food. The variety in movie selection — from “Legally Blonde” to “Creed” to “ET” — provides a show for everyone. With these amenities, the lovely outdoor setting and nostalgia of the adaptation of old-school movie viewing, I prefer the drive-in experience.