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I thought I'd kick the new year off with another movie marathon. I thought it was time to check out a few old school mystery flicks. Som...

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Road Trip to the Drive-in – Vin and Nic double feature!

After a few aborted attempts to make my way to the drive-in, the weather in Ohio never cooperates this time of year, I finally got to watch some movies outside under the stars. I do love my local drive-in theaters and yes I’m lucky to have a few around me. Within a forty minute drive I have three, but my favorite is Magic City, which is where I managed to catch a double feature of Fast X and Renfield. 

I got to Magic City early enough that there wasn’t much of a line. I was a bit concerned about it being the Sunday before Memorial Day, but it wasn’t too bad. Though cars kept arriving after I was parked and even during the first twenty minutes of Fast X. After getting a primo spot I headed off to the snack bar to pick up my traditional treat. While they still have cheeseburgers and hotdogs, I’ve always been partial to some tasty hot pretzels with nacho cheese. Since I’ve missed out on a couple of weeks due to rain, I thought I’d pick up a couple of them. Yeah, a lame excuse but I’m a grown ass man so if I want to eat badly then I can! They were quite good in case you were wondering. 

After some previews of coming attractions our first movie of the night kicked off. Say what you want to about the Fast and Furious film franchise, but I like it. These flicks are all about fast cars defying gravity while being loud and dumb. That last bit doesn’t just apply to the action sequences either. Fast X checked all those boxes with returning characters, including one in the post credits scene that surprised the hell out of me. Don’t they hate each other? Then again, these movies are a virtual license to print money so I suppose they were able to bury whatever beef they might have for a fat payday. 

Without going into too many details and spoiling the flick I can say that this movie was decent. In fact, my only real complaint is that it ends on a cliffhanger that will have to wait a couple of years for them to resolve in the next and supposedly final entry. Though at some point during production I thought they said Fast X was the big finale. Confused? See my point above about how much money these flicks make. 

After a brief intermission where I used the men’s room it was time for Renfield to start. This movie has been out for a while but since I don’t do brick and mortar theaters anymore this was my first chance to check it out. I remember this one catching my attention when I first heard that Nic Cage was playing Dracula. I’ve been loving his recent output (Willy’s Wonderland is killer) and was looking forward to it. Honestly though this was a mixed bag for me. 

The movie is at its best when Cage is on screen chewing up scenery. He plays an excellent, scary Dracula all while still being a bit quirky. This leads to some funny lines of dialogue and a lot of blood and guts. Hell, even when he isn’t on screen there is a ton of gore happening. Arms getting torn off, throats ripped to shreds, as well as Riki-Oh style x-ray shots showing organs and bones getting pulverized are just a few of the highlights. Some of this is practical effects work but even the CGI is done well enough that it is a good time. 

But when the movie is focused on the titular character things slow down a bit. I don’t blame the actor, Nicholas Hoult, as he is very good in the role. It is just that the script doesn’t give him much to do other than be mopey and spout off self help nonsense he learned in his support group. He also gets a love interest in local cop Rebecca, who is played by Awkwafina. Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of her but she is legitimately good here despite also not being given much to do. There is also a criminal family that gets zero development and almost feels like a late addition to the script to setup the finale. So, we have good gore and a decent cast that is let down by an underdeveloped script. I’ve seen this story done much better in the Pittsburgh lensed Innocent Blood. Still, I was happy to have caught this in the drive-in and not waited to see it streaming at home.

As the credits rolled, I packed up my stuff and headed home. It was a beautiful night to watch some movies under the stars and an even better one for a nice ride home. I sincerely hope that the weather is good for a few more trips this summer and that the double features are appealing. If I head out again I’ll post them here. I’d also love to hear from you guys about your favorite trips to the drive-in. Until next time keep watching crappy movies!

© Copyright 2023 John Shatzer

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