This week I got to do something I’ve wanted to do for a while – go to one of the free outdoor movies offered by the town I live in. Friday night, behind the municipal building they showed “Ratatouille” in a grass field on a large inflatable screen. Not a brand new film but “newish” and pretty good to boot! More on that in a moment.

I really enjoyed the outdoor movie experience and was a little disappointed at the same time. First the good – the audience was better than many I’ve shared a pay movie with. Sure, there was talking but I was expecting that. All in all it was MUCH less than I expected. The Kids were very well behaved and really no one acted up. For some reason a kid to my immediate left had some sort of portable lantern that he felt compelled to turn on and off, distracting but I could live with it. The sound I thought was very good with speakers set up around the field so we had true stereo and the picture quality was quite acceptable. We went to Wegmans first (the grocery store of the gods) and got take out. So picnicking during the film was amazing! Cold fried chicken, gazpacho, and pasta salad beats pre-popped popcorn any day!

As for the bad – the movie was projected from a DVD. I was really hoping for real film especially when the film skipped a couple of times. Next week’s film is “The Wizard of Oz” which I’ve seen many many times but never on actual film – always some sort of video. I’m sure it will be on DVD also. As I’ve said the picture quality was good but I was hoping for a much bigger screen. I guess I just have too many 1970s memories of New Jersey drive-Ins.

My biggest problem with the whole thing was not with the film or the environment but with me! What is it that Cassius said? “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars but in ourselves.” While I had a blanket I am just too much of a lard ass to sit on the ground comfortably for a couple of hours. Next time I’m going to bring a chair!

As a film Ratatouille was very good indeed but it would be hard for it not to be with the talent both in front of and behind the camera. Not that there was an actual camera being a CGI film. Any movie that has any combination of the following has to be good:

  • Pixar – Just brilliant! They’ve revolutionized the movie making process. Everything they’ve done has been outstanding.
  • Brad Bird – the director of such films as the Incredibles and the Iron Giant has yet to make a misstep.
  • Patton Oswald – one of my favorite stand up comics lent his voice to the main character.

I’d give this film an A-. I’m knocking off half a point because no matter how well done its still a film about rats cooking in commercial kitchens. Which is just sort of gross.

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