The Greek philosopher Aristotle once said, “Man is by nature a social animal; an individual who is unsocial naturally and not accidentally is either beneath our notice or more than human. Society is something that precedes the individual. Anyone who either cannot lead the common life or is so self-sufficient as not to need to, and therefore does not partake of society, is either a beast or a god.”

Bit of a mind-twister there, but suffice it to say that human beings need the support, love, and interaction of other human beings to feel alive. There are those who opt for a solitary life in the woods, far away from the restrictions and obligations of society, but generally speaking people are social animals. So, if you’re neither beast nor god, you probably need the company of your neighbors to get through the day.

This is what makes our current dilemma so debilitating. In the age of coronavirus we’ve distanced ourselves from the folks whom we look to for conversation, information, entertainment and intrigue. This arrangement is all done to simply maintain the integrity of our physical bodies. It’s a painful trade-off, indeed, for many of us. Remember before COVID first hit? Your first inclination when approaching a fellow human being would be to stick out your hand or move in for a hug. As time wore on, other natural inclinations were subtracted from our lives — dinner dates, sports bars, concerts, parties, flings, gym workouts, ball games, and the list goes on.

And movies. Don’t we miss going to the movies? Who knew we had such a fundamental need to sit in a movie theater with other like-minded people while munching popcorn and slurping Coca Colas? Sure, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, and Hulu are all wonderful platforms in which to indulge our cinema addiction, and we are grateful for their content. But yet and still, the desire to commune with fellow aficionados in a movie theater abides.

So, here’s the good news: Drive-in movies are back!

The drive-in movie experience hit its peak in the 1950s. With over 4,000 drive-in theaters across the US and a car-crazed culture abounding, the drive-in was the place to be on any given night—particularly during the summer months. However, with the advent of digital projection and home movie entertainment, the drive-in went all but extinct by the twenty-first century. In 2019, only 330 locations remained in existence across the fifty states.

However, due to the necessities and mandates of social distancing, drive-ins have been resurrected from the dead! Drive-in movie theaters are introducing a whole new generation to the exquisite pleasure of a shared movie experience. It’s been reported the coronavirus is not as easily spread outdoors, and on top of that, most drive-ins park cars in every other spot to assure physical and social distancing. Oftentimes, attendees order from the snack bar through an App and pick up in a socially distanced queue.

There are a number of awesome drive-in options in the greater Los Angeles area, including the Pacific Theaters Vineland Drive-In which features first-run films; the Paramount Drive-In Movie Theater offers first-run movies as well as classics; and the Mission Tiki in Montclair shows newly released pictures and modern classics. And there are other “pop up” venues in various locations around town, so keep an eye out!

Keep in mind, most of these theaters are finishing up their summer series events, so time is of the essence. But it’s likely the fall and even winter schedules will fill up quickly as demand is great and enthusiasm for the communal movie experience is high.

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