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The Ruttle Report - Old school is cool again

Drive-in movies are a blast - which is why I'd love to see them here in Outlook.
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Things come in cycles in life.

We've all seen trends come and go in our society. Remember when fidget spinners were all the rage? Those little paperweight-sized things that spun around with a flick of your fingers? What was that even all about? Who exactly was the target audience with those things?

Well, apparently I was, because I bought a Batman one at a gas station in Davidson years ago and it's sitting beside a computer in my office.

Among those trends in our society is the way that we consume entertainment. Whether you've got cable TV, satellite, or you just stream everything, there are many ways to get your fix if you're looking for a specific show or movie to watch. And of course, there's the movie theater for new releases. I'm happy to see that the COVID pandemic didn't deal the death blow to the movie-theater-going industry that many said it would.

Sure, there are some who might still choose to just stream movies at home, and that's fine, but for me there's nothing that beats the movie-going experience. Because let's be honest here, folks, a movie loses something when you're just at home and in charge of the remote. You can pause it, or maybe you're part of the generation that "listens" to whatever's on TV because you're lost in the dazzling world of your phone.

Staying on that movie-going topic, there's one thing that we still have in our province that I enjoy, although there are a very, very small number of them.

Drive-in movie theaters.

By my count, there are five in the entire province that are still running every spring and summer season, and they're located at Manitou Beach, Kyle, Pilot Butte, Wolseley, and Carlyle. I've been to two of them, the ones at Manitou Beach and Kyle. Folks, I'm telling you, it's a blast going to the drive-in.

The one at Manitou is fun because the owners at the time (it changed over, maybe you remember that whole ordeal between the former owner and the Resort Village of Manitou Beach) used to host retro nights where they would play older movies, with the evening carrying a certain theme or vibe. The one night I went, they played the original 1968 horror classic 'Night of the Living Dead' and the 1978 classic 'Halloween'. The other time I went, they played two back-to-back 'Friday the 13th' movies.

The one down by Kyle, the Clearwater Drive-In, is one that I've frequented a lot in the last decade. I can remember hopping in my SUV with my brother and sometimes even my mom, cruising over to Rosetown first for "supplies", meaning our own snacks and drinks that we'd just grab at the Bargain Shop, and hit the road for Clearwater. I don't know what it was, but every time I ventured down there for a show, the weather was fantastic. It'd be that early summer evening time where the sun was just setting, and it always looked incredible down there in the Cypress Hills valley territory. Every time down there was an enjoyable one, and I still use the steel water bottle that I won from the drive-in in 2018.

My love of the drive-in atmosphere led me to the following idea that I had after watching an episode of Corner Gas Animated recently.

I really loved this show, so much so that I'd actually argue that this cartoon version of the beloved Canadian comedy was a lot more grounded than the live-action original that came first. In one episode that I watched, the gas station hosts an outdoor movie night, with Hank manning the Blu-ray player in the back of his truck and Wanda selling popcorn and drinks.

Watching that, I had the following idea come to mind...

'Outlook Summer Cinema Series'

What is it, Derek?

A five-part series of movies played outdoors in a drive-in movie atmosphere. Each night would see two movies played back-to-back, and content would range from genre to genre. There'd be a comedy night, a classics night, a horror night, you get the idea.

Where is it, then?

The main parking lot of the Jim Kook Rec Plex in Outlook. You drive in, and with the wide and expansive lot of the rink, there's really no such thing as a bad spot. Washroom facilities inside the rink, and of course, a concession is on-site.

OK, smart guy. When is it?

This would be a summertime event, kicking off over the May long weekend, followed by selected Saturday nights in June, July, August, and then wrapping it up over the Labor Day long weekend in September.

Okay, I'm starting to like this. Who's putting this on?

Well, that's where I start to run out of concrete answers because I can't speak for the Town of Outlook's recreation department. However, that said, after I shared this idea on my Facebook page, the town's rec director was enthusiastic and said she'd like to further explore the idea with me. So at least it sounds promising for now!

Why exactly should this be done?

Well......because why not? It could make a few bucks for the rink from concession sales and give folks another entertainment option in the summer months. I love the outdoor movie that's hosted in the performance bowl down in the Outlook regional park, and this could potentially be a way to simply expand on that idea and make it available for anyone who wants to cruise over and catch a flick or two.

If any of this seems like a good idea to you, awesome! Hope to see you out at the movies next summer! In the meantime, I may just spend the next number of months planning out a movie itinerary and seeing what kind of free giveaways the studios might be willing to part with!

See ya at the movies!

For this week, that's been the Ruttle Report.

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