(How meta it would’ve been to see this at an actual drive-in; I’ll settle for its DVD debut from Sony Pictures’ Choice Collection, rather than the alternative, which is to never see it at all.)
Like American Graffiti three years before it, the movie follows a select handful of youngsters, mostly teens, over the course of one crazy night. In this case, it’s in an unnamed small town in Texas, where the hip hangouts number two: a suspect-looking skating rink and the Alamo Drive-In.
On this night, the Alamo is premiering Disaster ’76, a movie-within-a-movie parody of the then-in-vogue disaster movies, from The Towering Inferno to various Airport sequels. While I expected these spoofy scenes to be the most interesting part of Drive-In, they’re not; to director Rod Amateau’s credit, I actually cared more about the various love triangles and gang rivalries taking place amid the populace.
While light and by no means laugh-out-loud funny, it is a total charmer. —Rod Lott