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Tailgating at the Movies

By Brian Cullen
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Bryant Park Movies

Photo Credit: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

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The absolute worst decision I ever made was the 11:45 PM showing of Beerfest on a Sunday night. Yes, that — above all the hospital visits, arrests, funerals, ex-girlfriend drunk dials and confrontations with once-good friends of mine — that single decision was the worst. Reason being, if you’ve never seen Beerfest — Broken Lizard’s other incredible comedy, besides Super Troopers — it is a movie that absolutely begs to be consumed while you’re consuming (800 beers). This was made even worse by the fact that, at the time, I lived in Austin, Texas, home of the Alamo Drafthouse, which is a movie theater that serves beer. And I went to a different movie theater.

Of course, this could have been remedied hundreds of different ways. I could have drunk before. I could have drank after. Hell, I could have done the ol’ pocket flask of despair gin and had a blast during the movie. But no, this was a different time — a time when drinking at 11:45 on a Sunday seemed somehow inappropriate.

Ah, youth.

The point is, drinking and movies go hand in hand. Of course, at this juncture, you may ask, “can tailgating and movies go hand in hand?”

Dear reader, if you’ve made it this far with us, I think by now you know that the answer is yes.

Here are some of our favorite ideas for tailgating at the movies.

Alamo Drafthouse sign

Photo Credit: Bobby L. Warren

The Alamo Drafthouse

Yeah, kinda gave that one away early. For those who aren’t in the know (although, I suppose after that first paragraph you’re all in the know), the Alamo Drafthouse combines all of the best parts of a bar with the best parts of a movie theater. You can eat and drink throughout the show, all the while ordering off of a surprisingly good menu. You’d think it’s all hotdogs and PBR, but no — both the food and beverages are surprisingly good.

Even better, the Drafthouse will frequently alter their menu around their shows. For instance, they’ll serve breakfast cereals while showing Saturday morning cartoons. They have discounted white Russians while showing The Big Lebowski. Hell, I once saw a horror movie about sheep, and everything on the menu was all goat milk and lamb. Here’s a menu for Some Like it Hot, where everything is spicy. HOW COOL IS THAT?

Now for the bad news. As exciting as it sounds, the Alamo Drafthouse is almost exclusively in Texas.

Now for the good news — they are expanding.  Yaaaaaaay! (Please read that last bit like Kermit the Frog.)

Photo Credit: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Photo Credit: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Outdoor Movies

Outdoor movies are a beautiful thing. It takes all the wonders of watching a movie (‘splosions, boobs) and melds them with all the charms of being outdoors (mosquito bites, that weird sewer smell that New York gets when it’s above 60 degrees). But the beauty part is, this makes tailgating before the event all the better.

Now, you could strictly do some kind of bar crawl to the park where your movie in question is showing. Heck, you could even do some kind of theme crawl (e.g. drinking by yourself for Home Alone 2: Lost in New York). The downside, of course, is all that walking. Last I checked, we won the Cold War. How come we don’t have people movers carrying us from bar to bar?

So your other choice is to go all Solid Snake-style and sneak your booze in your pockets. Now, a cursory glance of one outdoor movie schedule in one city doesn’t indicate whether drinking is allowed. But it doesn’t say it’s not allowed, and as Utah v. Brian Cullen showed us in 2004, that’s the kind of defense that’ll hold up in any courtroom west of the Mississippi.

The other added plus is that most of these movies are held in a park. And most parks have public grills, meaning that you could host an actual, honest-to-goodness tailgate before catching your flick. God bless America.

The Big Lebowski

Photo Credit: Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Cult Classics and Midnight Movies

For some reason, there are some movies out there that resonate with the grand, entertaining weirdos on this planet. The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The Room. The Big Lebowski. None of these movies have anything in common, plot-wise. But they all draw quirky people out of the woodwork to see repeat screenings.

Rocky Horror and The Room, in particular, have people showing up in costume, quoting lines in real time with the movie, and even — in some cases — throwing spoons at the screen. Now. Having once thrown myriad silverware at a drive-through in Yonkers, New York (Olde Tyme Cinemae v. Brian Cullen, 1999), I can tell you that this is not an activity that you do without plenty of helpings of a little beverage I like to call “The Tequila Shames.”

The Lebowski fanatics take it one step further, celebrating an annual Lebowski Fest where you can dress like the Dude, drink white Russians and celebrate all things Lebowski. And while I am legitimately heartbroken that I missed this year’s Lebowski Fest in New York — especially since I once worked on a project with Lebowski Fest founder, Bill Green — I’ll be sure to be there next time, dressed as Walter, as I’m known to do.

So how bout it, film buffs? Do you have any favorite cinematic events that lend themselves to the sauce (both barbeque and otherwise)? Hit us up in the comments.

Check out Brian’s Tailgating Top 10s.

Stop in at the Man Cave Daily, where the women are hot and the beer is cold.

Brian Cullen is planning on doing a Warriors pub crawl for his next birthday. Surely that counts, right? Follow his ramblings on Twitter @bucketcullen.

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