Elm Road Triple Drive-In offers old fashioned movie viewing at old fashioned movie prices.
Friday afternoon and work was done. Jen and I headed out to Youngstown. Saturday is her cousin’s wedding so we planned on staying the weekend at her parents, attending the reception on Saturday afternoon and then coming back home to Canton sometime after church on Sunday.
The drive to Youngstown was uneventful. The kids and the dog fell asleep in the car which gave us a break from 20 questions (and no, we weren’t playing the game). After dinner the options were to watch live TV with the folks (What? No DVR?) or go check out some haunted houses. Jen and I opted for the latter.
As a bonus, we decided to check out a movie we’ve been wanting to see which was playing at the the Elm Road Triple Drive-In. This was my second time at this drive-in and I had a mixed experience. If this night had been my first time I would have left with a poor review. However, a month earlier I had a fantastic time at Elm Road Drive-In with no complaints.
That first visit was over the Labor Day holiday weekend. I hadn’t been to a drive-in theater since high school so I was excited to try it again. I can’t recall having that much fun at a theater in a long time. The theater was offering triple features on two of the three screens. Jen and I saw Orphan, The Perfect Getaway, and The Final Destination.
We popped the trunk of Jen’s teeny-van (or mega-car, whichever), folded down the back seats and reclined on some blankets in the cool summer air. All three movies were enjoyable. I firmly believe the drive-in has the power to make any movie better.
There are very few drive-in theaters left in America and it’s a shame. At it’s peak there were somewhere around 4000 drive-in theaters across the country. Now there are less than 400.
Typical drive-ins offer two first-run movies for the price of one. Like most theaters they rely heavily on concession sales. It’s easy to sneak stuff in so you don’t have to pay concession prices and Elm Road Triple Drive-In knows this. They go out of their way to ask you to patronize their concession stand instead of sneaking food in. Their concessions boast a wide variety of options, including a great pizza dinner deal.
I’m one of those people that likes to make running commentary during movies. I try to talk quietly so only those I’m with can hear me but I’m told I don’t always succeed at it. A few weeks ago in the general theater I stopped into the restroom after the movie ended. While at the urinal some guy walked behind me and said “I hope you pee on yourself.” When I mentioned it to Jen she laughed. She said he was sitting behind us and probably upset that I talked too loud during the movie.
So I guess I’m that guy. Let me just apologize right now for anybody I may have annoyed in the theater. It won’t happen again, I promise.
But that’s what makes drive-ins so cool. I can offer my commentary as loud as I want and nobody cares. You can critique the movie just like you do at home and there is no one there to shush you or tell you that they hope you pee on yourself (other than your family and friends, of course.)
After that first time, I left the Elm Road Triple Drive-In excited about returning again, believing it wouldn’t be until next summer. I was surprised to find out that the theater is still open! Awesome!
Jen and I showed up about five minutes before the movie started. We were one of the first 50 cars to arrive so they gave us a coupon for a free small popcorn, no strings attached. We parked, headed over to the concession stand, got our popcorn and headed back to the car.
The popcorn tasted stale, like it was made the night before. I wondered if the free coupons were just a way to get rid of the old popcorn before drive-in season ends. Jen liked the popcorn, BTW. Apparently I’m a popcorn snob.
My movie viewing experience this time around was not as good as the first time. Let’s put aside the fact that the movie, Zombieland, pretty much blew zombie chunks all over the windshield. No wait, had there been zombie chunks in the movie that would have made it cool. The movie was a cross between Shaun of the Dead (a good, but not great movie) and Adventureland (a really really lame movie) creating what turned out to be a coming-of-age movie set in a zombie world.
But that’s not the theater’s fault. What was their fault was that the sound quality. The radio broadcast was wavy as if it was being piped through a large fan. It was really bad at first but got better after I called the drive-in to complain. But it never did get completely fixed.
We would have stayed for the second movie, but we had a date with a werewolf. (You can read that review later.)
The Elm Road Drive-In has a very large parking lot, three screens and… wait for it… a playground for kids. Between movies the kids can play on all kinds of standard playground equipment which is just under one of the large screens. In fact, the playground here is better than many that I’ve seen at the parks.
The sound is broadcast on a radio signal so you can use your car’s stereo system. If you don’t have one they have the old speakers that you hang in your window, but you won’t get good quality sound out of that.
If you remember enjoying the drive-in theater in long ago, I suggest you get out to one soon, before they are all gone. If you’ve never been to one before, you should. They are a seasonal business and with all the high-tech video and audio experience you get in the traditional theater, fewer people are going to drive-ins. Keeping them open gets harder and harder to do.
Drive-ins are are a dying breed, so get to one while you still can. Movies are way more fun when you have freedom to talk without pissing anybody off. (Yay for the pun!)
More Elm Road Triple Drive-In Info
My Cost: 2 Adults, 2 movies, 1 small popcorn – $14
Hats off: 4/5
Elm Road Triple Drive-In website
Google Reviews and info
1895 Elm Rd NE
Warren, OH 44483