So, you’ve been stuck inside like the rest of us since late March, and you’re stir crazy from watching movies at home on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, or HBO. If you’re like us, you miss seeing movies with dozens of people you don’t know while sipping your Coke and chomping on popcorn. And in the dark, the way movies should be watched.
Of course, the upside of watching movies at home is --well, you’re home in your own comfy chair. And you can stop and start the movie whenever you want. Need a sandwich? No, problem. Just pause, and head into the kitchen. Need a bathroom break? No biggie. Just freeze the action, and go do your thing. Miss a line of dialogue? Just rewind, and listen again, more carefully this time. Or even better: Choose to add the subtitles, and catch all the dialogue right at the bottom of your screen.
But the downside --it’s not the normal way movies were meant to be seen. We need the full-tilt boogie experience: With big sound, spectacular special effects, and ‘coming attractions’. I guess we're a bit ‘old school’ when it comes to going to the movies. I miss that. Sigh.
Several local theaters have taken to recreating that experience, by fashioning a drive-in theater in parking lots, where you can watch a movie from the comfort of your own car. You listen to the movie on your own car radio, while snacking on whatever food you bring from home.
Recently, we packed up popcorn and cans of flavored-seltzer and drove from Flemington to Lambertville to catch a showing of the comedy/drama “JOJO RABBIT”, presented by the ACME Screening Room. We’ve been to the Acme (located at 25 S Union St, in Lambertville) several times in the past, and have always wondered why they’re not more crowded. From Oscar-nominated animated shorts to the independent film comedy “Humor Me” (written and directed by Sam Hoffman, creator of Old Jews Telling Jokes), we've always enjoyed their entertaining and eclectic schedule.
“JOJO RABBIT” is the story of 10-year-old Jojo Betzler (Roman Griffin Davis) who imagines his own personal off-beat Hitler (played humorously by writer/director Taika Waitit), while obsessed with being a Nazi. He’s not an evil little boy at all; he’s actually quite sweet and empathetic. Like “Life is Beautiful”, the Nazi world Jojo lives in is full of unreal whimsy and playful fantasy.
The film's only fault, if any, is it tries too hard to be a political satire and falls short periodically. However, the supporting cast that includes Sam Rockwell as the commandant of a Nazi youth camp and Rebel Wilson as his assistant provide enough laughs to make this a good choice by the Acme for their venture into carpool cinema. The film also stars Scarlett Johansson as his mother, Rosie and Thomasin McKenzie as a Jewish teenage girl named Elsa hiding in his home.
If you’re not from Lambertville, the outdoor drive-in might be a bit hard to find, as it is not completely visible from the listed address at 204 N. Union Street. But, the ACME has a very ambitious drive-in movie schedule, throughout the summer, and deserves to be checked out. Here is their schedule for the remainder of the summer.