Mahoning Drive-In Theater - Lehighton, PA
Last year, we had the opportunity to see Night Of The Hunter at the Mahoning. I hadn't heard of the movie before the screening was announced, and I deliberately avoided watching the trailer or reading any reviews or descriptions of the plot. The only expectation I had when the film first hit the screen was that Virgil and Rob both called it one of the greatest movies of all time. It's not often that you have the opportunity to go into a movie to see a movie on the big screen that was released before you were born that is just as fresh and new to you as a new release... a movie for which you don't know any spoilers, and haven't seen any memes or parodies or other references. It ended up being one of my favorite nights that I've ever had at the Mahoning.
Last night, I was fortunate enough to have this same experience with another one of the all-time greats that I had never seen nor even heard of before it was put on the Mahoning schedule: the 1973 Terrence Malick classic crime drama, Badlands.
This is a film that definitely lives up to the hype. One of the few things that I had heard about it before seeing it for the first time is that it was the inspiration behind Natural Born Killers, and I can see why. The end of Badlands, particularly the scene with the lighter and the handshake, reminded me quite a bit of the way that Mickey Knox was presented in the 1994 film, especially the part when Woody Harrelson is telling jokes to police and prison staff in the moments before all hell breaks loose.
I'm tiptoeing as best I can without giving away any spoilers because I don't want to risk robbing anyone else of the kind of experience that I had last night. It's not part of any streaming subscription, but it is available to rent on YouTube and from several other providers. If you haven't watched it before, I strongly recommend it.