It's been a few years since I caught a movie at the Hi-Way 18 Outdoor Theatre in Jefferson. It's really quite a schlep, a good 50 minutes from Milwaukee. But with the number of drive-ins in Wisconsin and around the country rapidly dwindling, it's a tradition I try to keep alive.
Not every movie is suitable for the giant screen. I avoid movies in which special effects, excellent sound or even intricate dialogue play a big part in the telling the story (the last movie I saw at the drive-in was "Talladega Nights," a perfect choice for that venue).
That's why "The Simpsons Movie" seemed like a great film for a Friday night in Jefferson.
Mostly, it was. But viewing the screen through the windshield, with a handful of distractions omnipresent -- it made me rethink my decision. The move was much more rapidly paced than I imagined, and the dozens of inside jokes would be better suited for inspection on DVD.
On the other hand, maybe I'm just never satisfied. My biggest problems with the movie were that it felt too cinematic (but yeah, I guess it's a movie) and that it didn't involve enough characters (can't please everyone).
I went into the movie with high expectations, having seen every single episode of "The Simpsons" at least once. Though I didn't drive away feeling 100 percent satisfied, it made for a fun and memorable evening -- and you get to see two first run movies for a paltry $7.
Fortunately, the Highway 18 seems to be bustling and in little jeopardy of going away. Still, every time I go, it becomes a reminder to not ignore this quickly disappearing slice of American nostalgia. Take the kids, take a date … just make sure to go while you still can.
Andy is the president, publisher and founder of OnMilwaukee. He returned to Milwaukee in 1996 after living on the East Coast for nine years, where he wrote for The Dallas Morning News Washington Bureau and worked in the White House Office of Communications. He was also Associate Editor of The GW Hatchet, his college newspaper at The George Washington University.
Before launching OnMilwaukee.com in 1998 at age 23, he worked in public relations for two Milwaukee firms, most of the time daydreaming about starting his own publication.
Hobbies include running when he finds the time, fixing the rust on his '75 MGB, mowing the lawn at his cottage in the Northwoods, and making an annual pilgrimage to Phoenix for Brewers Spring Training.