We attended our first West Seattle outdoor movie last night, which was great fun. I haven't been to a movie outdoors since, I believe, Indiana, where we enjoyed the last two years of the only drive-in theater I've ever been to, before it shut down. (Actually, enjoy is a strong word, considering the car roasted unless you had the windows down, but then you got feasted on by mosquitoes.)
The first thing I want to make clear — this is for any random internet searcher who happens to be looking for a start time for these things, which they do not advertise well — is that we got there at 6:45 or so (after finding a blog post from two years ago that mentioned a start time of 7 p.m.) and the lot was already quite full. We had to wedge our two chairs into a little spot where two other rows kind of diverged. We probably could have fit in around the edges more easily, but then you're more in the way of foot traffic, and boy was there foot traffic. See, the movie didn't actually start until 9:30. I know! Crazy! And we'd brought a 3-year-old. (To be fair, they say the movie starts at dusk, but I somehow imagined they meant "just dusk" not "full dusk.")
Amanda walked Corin around the Junction for a while to kill time while I guarded the seats, but by 8 most of the stores were closed. There was free popcorn and ice cream and cotton candy (which I believe is not usual, but they were celebrating the 100th anniversary of the building on which we were projecting the film, so they pulled out the stops), as well as handing out free toothbrushes and oral care kits, which fortunately kept Corin entertained for a while. There was some dancing, sponsor plugs, a raffle, a short film. (A really odd choice for a short film — Trip to the Dentist, with W.C. Fields — considering that it makes dentists out to be sadistic self-absorbed pain-inflicters, when the event was partly sponsored by two dentists in the building. Corin was a little freaked out by the short, especially all the fake screaming from the dentist chair, when we're actually trying to get him used to the idea of the dentist as being not scary before he goes in next month. Also, the short was incredibly racist, sexist, and classist — maybe a product of its time, but I'm not quite sure that it warranted public viewing without a disclaimer or some sort.)
Fortunately Corin was being cute and energetic rather than, say, whiny and rambunctious, and lasted not only the whole preamble but the whole movie as well. I was sure we'd have to leave by midpoint (and we probably should have, considering how we threw his bedtime off), but the boy loves "Mamma Mia." He watched it with us on DVD maybe nine months or a year ago and loved it then, and we occasionally launch into a hodge-podge rendition of singing its songs even now. He loves the music video on Youtube of Amanda Seyfried and clips from the movie.
And I'm with him. Before seeing "Mamma Mia" the first time I was an ABBA virgin, and I had enjoyed the songs and therefore the movie quite a bit. But I wasn't prepared for how highly unshakable their songs are. How they worm their way into your brain. How they feel insidiously familiar, as if the universe was born with these tunes hard-wired into its circuitry. Of any band, they're the one I'm most concerned sold themselves to the devil to make universally addictive tunes. This second time around I was surprised at how re-hearing so many of the songs were like visiting old friends. And how exquisitely romantic the filming was, now that my processor-brain was freed up for focus on it. It was all deeply disturbing and delicious.