June 29, 2013: Checking Out the Ennis Drive In

Luciana got me up at seven this morning and Liesl got up around eight.  No sleeping in with these two around.  I had some early morning work to do for the office anyway, nothing major maybe twenty minutes of work.  Actually, that was the plan, it actually turned into a few hours because of other problems.  But not too serious.

Dominica really wanted to try out the drive in theater down in Ennis, Texas this evening.  We’ve been driving past it for years but have never taken the time to stop there and watch anything.  It is nearly an hour away, rather a long drive to go see a movie especially when you need to get there an hour or more before the movie starts and you watch a double feature so that it is quite late before you head back home.  We really miss the Silver Lake Drive In back home, though, and really wanted to go try it out. Tonight Monster’s University was playing and we thought that the girls would like it so we figured that it would be a good chance to go.

We had to leave the house around seven to get down to Ennis in time to be comfortable getting into the theater and getting a decent spot.  The drive wasn’t bad, nearly zero traffic tonight.  We got to the theater which is really in the middle of nowhere but on the frontage road onto Interstate 45 southbound.  It actually looks like it was built behind a junk yard.  A bit surprising.  The upscale drive ins in New York are quite different than what they have down here.  No wonder in New York the drive ins are thriving and in Texas they are dying.  Completely different experience.  The place felt like it was mostly built out of scrap lumber, mostly plywood, mixed in with rusting remains of carnival snack stands.  Quite depressing and a little scary in a way.  The people were friendly but the site itself would put you in mind of actually being in a horror movie.

We got some pizza and popcorn for Dominica and I and cotton candy for the girls.  We had taken the Acadia so we set up the back with blankets and stuff so that the girls could hang out back there.  We didn’t want to face the car backwards in case there were mosquitoes although I don’t think that that would really have been a problem.  The pizza was okay but just grocery store frozen pizzas and the popcorn wasn’t good.  Nothing like the Charcoal Corral. We are really spoiled with having real restaurants that people actually want to eat at even if they are not going to the Drive In.  This food was weak at best and instead of making good food that people might want they instead run a long ad on the screens explaining that they need the money and begging people to buy the awful, overpriced food from the snack bar.  Not a good business strategy.  I was quite a bit less than impressed.  It really didn’t appear that they cared about the place at all.  It might as well have been abandoned from how it looked.

The first movie was Monster’s University which was pretty good.  Nothing special but a good prequel to the 2001 original.  I barely remember the original and probably have not seen it since it was originally in theaters or shortly thereafter.  The girls enjoyed it and just barely managed to stay up for the whole thing.  They had both fallen asleep in the Acadia on the ride down to Ennis, it is just far enough that staying awake is pretty hard for them.  So by the time that this movie was over they were having a tough time keeping it together.  They mostly took turns alternating between Dominica and my laps making it really hard for us to watch the movie and also very hard to stay cool as running the air conditioning for any length of time really was not an option.

Liesl had been super excited about seeing Iron Man 3 which was the second movie but before it came on she asked if she could go in the back and go to bed with Luciana so she never even saw the movie start.  She was out like a light.  Luciana fought sleep for a while and was up probably an hour after Liesl.  She needed to sleep but was delirious and had given herself insomnia so she kept climbing into the front for snuggles.  I didn’t like Iron Man 3 at all.  I kind of liked the first one but this one really felt like the writers were sick of the franchise and had given up.  Really weak and completely boring.  Dominica liked it but I think she likes it for the characters that she knows from the comics and not for the movie itself.  On its own it didn’t even make any sense.

One of the downsides to the drive in being in Ennis that we had not really thought through was that it was about two in the morning when we got out of the movie was we were already exhausted and had a long drive back to Carrollton in bar traffic.  At one point we were literally caught in Dallas gridlock at two thirty in the morning with drunk idiots everywhere.  It was a traffic mess.

It was after three when we finally managed to get to bed.  I don’t know how anxious we will be to go to the drive in again.  I think that the girls enjoyed it but they didn’t have to put up with all of the things that we did nor did they have to pay so much for it.  We are going to be awfully selective of going back there, that is for sure.  Not something that I really want to do again.  If it was just for me, I’d avoid it completely.  But I suspect that Liesl will be asking to go back again.  Hopefully we can make it to the Silver Lake Drive In in Perry enough to keep her happy.

We are constantly amazed that there are not drive ins all over Texas.  It is the perfect thing for Texas weather.

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