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88 Drive-In Theatre is open for business, all is right with the world

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Hot damn, winter is over. It's not the grass shoots sprouting up on lawns, the smell of barbecue in the air, or even the yellow tickets we're finding on our windshields because street sweeping has started up again and we all forgot to move our cars. It's the fact that the 88 Drive-In Theatre is once again open for business, broadcasting whiz-bang summer blockbusters into the night air of Commerce City and declaring once and for all summer is just around the corner.

I can't say enough about the one-of-a-kind wonders of going to the drive-in. The festive open-air vibe of such places, like you're hanging out at a neighborhood block party. The excitement of watching the sun recede below the horizon just as the pre-film trailers get rolling on the screen. The schmaltzy snack bar, reeking of popcorn oil and hot dogs. If I keep going, I'm sure to start humming Bob Seger's "Night Moves," and nobody wants to hear that.

Over the past few years, I've discovered a new drive-in joy as the parent of a young child. With the kiddo asleep in his car seat behind us, the drive-in has been one of the few ways my wife and I have been able to enjoy going out to see a movie without the extra expense of a babysitter.

But these aren't the only reasons I'll be hitting up the 88 Drive-In in Commerce City real soon. I also see it as an obligation. After all, the 88 is the last drive-in theater we have in the Denver area, with all the others having fallen victim to development or declining revenue. If the 88 locks its gates for good as well, it will be a sad day indeed.

Let's not let that happen. Grab some snacks, pack up the car (hell, stuff some freeloaders in your trunk to get a few guests in free) and head on up Interstate 76 tonight. Sure, the movie selection, like usual, isn't spectacular -- Fast Five, anyone? -- but remember, it's less about the movie on the screen, and more about everything else around it.

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Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.