Remember that scene from Annie when Daddy Warbucks announces, “Let’s go to the movies,” and everyone breaks into song and dance? The Rockettes’ nostrils flare with excitement, and Annie, Warbucks, Grace, and Sandy the dog get taken away in a ritzy convertible for a private viewing of Camille. It’s a scene so glamorous I wanted to swoon like Greta Garbo.
I’d always felt a bit of that thrill when I went to the movies. But let’s be real: The glamour had long faded away. I was wearing elastic-waist pants before the pandemic made them OK. I snuck in food. (Even soup!) I got a rush out of nabbing an early-bird price.
So when COVID necessitated that going to the movies became going to my car, I have to admit this was not some big comedown. In fact, quite the contrary. The past year taught me something I already suspected: My car is a sanctuary. It is a place to do work, listen to podcasts, watch TV, eat lunch, talk to friends, hide from my kids, and tweeze my eyebrows. Why not go to the movies in it?
Drive-ins are back, and I hope for good. Our local one, organized by the Skokie Park District, is held in an abandoned gravel-filled lot, with a view of our sanitation station. Not only can you go in soft pants, you can go in pajamas. Bring pillows. Bring blankets. Bring a full meal, with all the smells. And if they’re showing the animated Addams Family, and not a classic film you want to experience with your children, turn your car around and throw the kids in the trunk. They’ll think you’re “super fun” and won’t notice that you’re facing away from the screen, watching something else. (It’s British, about bent coppers.)
So will I go back to the movie theater? Of course, someday. I do hope it will be a private viewing — just me, my family, and the Rockettes.