Oct 9, 2023

You Know What They Call A Quarter Pounder In France?

Tarantino A Go-Go: Volume 3
Mahoning Drive-In Theater - Lehighton, PA
This is the third consecutive year that the Mahoning Drive-In Theater has hosted a three day weekend in celebration of the works of my favorite director, Quentin Tarantino.

Show banner designed by Andrew Kern

We have been in attendance for every night of Tarantino-A-Go-Go in 2021 and 2022.  This year, we weren't able to make it out on Saturday because it took place on the same night as the Dogstar concert in Stroudsburg, but I have it on good authority that two out of three ain't bad.

The poster for Tarantino A-Go-Go Volume 3 was designed by Justin Miller and was available for sale throughout the weekend (or until it sold out) at the Exhumed Films table.

The first movie on Friday night is truly one of my favorite movies of all time: Pulp Fiction.  We got to see this at the Mahoning during the first Tarantino A Go-Go two years ago, but this is one of the few movies that I'll go out to see anytime that it's playing in theaters.

Next up was a true drive-in movie if there ever was one; the 1996 Robert Rodriguez modern classic, From Dusk Till Dawn.  This really is two movies stitched together into one.  The first half is a straight up crime flick starring George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino as a pair of violent brothers who are on the run from the law.  They hijack an ex-minister and his two teenage children and they force the family to smuggle them into Mexico, and they all drive down to a rowdy bar called the Tittie Twister.  As soon as you hear the line "dinner is served", the action crime film is over, but the horror movie has just begun, because this bar is owned and operated by vampires.

I first saw this movie when I rented it shortly after my 16th birthday, and I can think of no better time to experience this flick for the first time, but I never got to see it on the big screen before Friday night.  Check another one off of the bucket list.

The final movie of Friday night was the 1979 prison movie Escape From Alcatraz.  I've only watched this movie one other time, but it is a true classic that stars Clint Eastwood and features Danny Glover's first performance in a major motion picture.  It hits even harder when you consider that the screenplay is based on the true story of the June 1962 escape from the famous prison.

Sunday night started off the 2012 western Django Unchained, which is the last space on my Mahoning bingo card of full-length feature films directed by Quentin Tarantino.  We saw this in theaters when it was first released and was mind blowing, featuring three of the strongest performances I have ever seen from actors Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, and an absolutely batshit crazy performance from the great Leonardo DiCaprio.

There was a secret feature shown on Sunday night.  I usually don't share information about secret features at the Mahoning, but I'm making an exception in this case for two reasons.  First, the film is in the public domain, and second, it's such a clever choice to serve as the second half of a double feature with Django Unchained that it would be a shame to not have it documented somewhere.

There's a scene in Django Unchained where the German bounty hunter Dr. Schultz (Christoph Waltz) tells Django (Jamie Foxx) the story of Siegfried and Brunhilde.  Dr. Schultz sees the spirit of the German folk hero in Django, and he tells him so when he concludes the story by telling him that "when a German meets a real-life Siegfried, it’s kind of a big deal".

Die Nibelungen is a 1924 silent film from Austrian director Fritz Lang that tells the story of Siegfried and Brunhilde.  It's a film that critic Leonard Maltin called an epic masterpiece.

We stayed to watch a little bit of Die Nibelungen, but the movie is nearly five hours long and both my wife and I are fighting off colds that we probably picked up by walking around in the rain at the Bloomsburg Fair and we haven't been getting as much sleep as we should have, so we weren't able to stay for the whole movie.  Still, you have to admire the creativity and the sheer love of the history of cinema to show this as the unannounced second half of a double feature with Django Unchained.

With this season's event in the books, the Mahoning has now screened every full length feature film that was written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, and I can now say that I've been fortunate enough to see all of my favorite director's films on the big screen at the drive-in.

There are a few others movies that QT was involved with which haven't been part of a Tarantino A Go-Go weekend, including movies that he directed a part of such as Four Rooms and Sin City, movies that he wrote for, such as Natural Born Killers, and movies that he has acted in, such as Desperado, Destiny Turns On The Radio, and Planet Terror.  Out of these, I'm hoping to see Planet Terror the most.  Specifically, I'd like to see a 35mm screening of original Grindhouse Double Feature of Planet Terror and Death Proof at the Mahoning, complete with all of the fake trailers included (many of which have become actual movies in the years that followed).  I saw the Grindhouse Double Feature in theaters back in April 2007 when it was first released, and if ever there was an experience that would be enhanced in a drive-in setting, it is this.

There's also a lot of films that could be shown that Mr. Tarantino has cited as influential to his own career or among his personal favorite films.  This year's Tarantino A Go-Go delved into that a bit with Escape From Alcatraz and The Outfit, but he wrote about a lot of other films in Cinema Speculation.  They could also have a Rolling Thunder Pictures night comprised of films that were distributed by Tarantino's company in the 90's with films that include Switchblade Sisters, Detroit 9000The Mighty Peking Man, and Sonatine, among others.  Well... whatever they decide to go with for Tarantino A Go-Go IV next season, I'm sure it's going to be awesome.