Movies in the Park(ing lot)

August 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

I’ve always been intrigued by drive-ins. Growing up in Montreal, there weren’t many, and the few there were were far-off from where I lived. To this day, I haven’t been to a drive-in. Boo.

The next best thing – because there always has to be one – is the concept of movies in the park. Back in high school, a local radio station started showing movies in different parks around the island, and everything was free. The entrance to the movie, the popcorn, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, and a whole bunch of random swag. It was like a teenager’s dream come true. Fun AND affordable! If only I had gone with a boy… but anyway. I went to a few of them and loved every minute. How could I not when it had the ingredients for a perfect night out: moonlight, movies, fattening snacks, and warm weather.

About two weeks ago, I was perusing my usual websites when I stumbled upon a post about outdoor movie screening of the movie Waitress (absolutely adorable). Remembering the good old days of free summertime fun, I clicked on the link to the post. A surprise awaited. Not only were they showing movies outdoors, not only were they free (mostly), but there were MULTIPLE locations, MULTIPLE times a week, with MULTIPLE different themes! This had the Quest written all over it.

There were romantic comedies (like Waitress) at the harbourfront, crime capers (like Catch Me If You Can) at Yonge-Dundas square, indie films at the Amsterdam brewery parking lot (like The Parking Lot Movie), and a mixed bag of tricks at Metro square (like Casablanca – my next movie screening). I missed Waitress because I had found it the day of that screening, and most of my friends were busy. I wanted to venture out and attempt a movie on my own, but I haven’t been able to cross that hurdle yet. Concerts alone I can do, movies alone… maybe Casablanca. We’ll see.

The best option seemed to be the indie films at the Amsterdam brewery parking lot, organized by Open Roof Films. I read through the synopses of the films, and though I really wanted to see The Parking Lot Movie, I found myself sans ami(e)s once again. So I picked This Movie is Broken showing the following week. It wasn’t a free screening but that’s because they had a concession stand (complete with TO prices – OUCH!), and a pre-show by a band called The Little Black Dress. So really, the 15$ was well worth it, especially since I got to hear a band that was really cool.

My friend P and I walked into the parking lot of the Amsterdam brewery, bought some wine, and sat down to girl talk until the band started. Don’t let the parking lot bit fool you, the location was incredible. Yes, it was right below the elevated highway that is the Gardiner, but the CN Tower stood to the east, amongst the twinkling lights of the city. It was actually a really nice venue. So cue the band, they were awesome. The movie finally began, and so let me take a teeny-tiny tangent here.

I love movies. I’ve always loved them but when I first moved here, knowing very few people made me Blockbuster Video’s best customer. I rented movies weekly, sometimes 3 at a time. I often went to the theater with my friends. Movies are almost synonymous with my life in this town. But it’s not all couch potatoes and loneliness, I actually relish the idea of sitting at home to watch a movie (in the wintertime, of course). Hence the appeal of outdoor movie screenings. At Blockbuster, I would try to rent anything that struck my fancy. Sometimes that meant romantic comedies, sometimes that meant foreign movies. Often it meant a movie that etched itself into my heart, but occasionally, I’d stumble upon a head scratcher. A movie whose premise seemed to come out of someone’s behind. I found that though I loved a lot of artsy films (Le Sacaphandre et Le Papillon aka The Diving Bell & The Butterfly, oh how I love that movie!), there were plenty that just didn’t resonate with me. End tangent.

SPOILER ALERT!

This Movie is Broken started. Broken Social Scene songs throughout. It was an awesome mix of movie and BSS concert scenes. Half way through, I thought I might want to buy the DVD when it comes out, it’s that genuine and emotionally resonant. Three quarters of the way through I start to wonder if the central plot of the movie is actually the side plot, if the seemingly-side plot isn’t actually what we’re watching unfold. Near the end, my suspicions were confirmed. This is a movie about boy-likes-girl, girl-likes-boy-but-is-leaving-for-Paris, boy-tries-to-woo-her-by-getting-her-backstage-passes-to-concert, girl-runs-away-after-going-backstage, boy-searches-for-girl-with-best-friend, boy-and-best-friend-get-drunk-and-high, boy-and-best-friend-make-out, girl-comes-back, boy-makes-out-with-girl. So. Hm. Yeah. Wha? I should mention that the best friend is also a boy, and that he was sleeping naked next to the girl and boy while they were making out. In Y Tu Mama Tambien, two hot Mexican actors (Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal) make out. It shocks the viewer because the two are stereotypically macho, fratboy douchebags (though loveable ones), but given the context of the scene (which I will not spoil) it fits. But here… the whole crowd was left audibly confused. The story seemed to derail.

Ultimately, I liked the composition of the movie, intertwining the music with the actors, leaving just enough dialogue to the imagination to make it seem real (save the end). The atmosphere of the screening and the music (live and in-film) made the night what it was: a NICE NIGHT OUT!

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