The last movie I saw at the Capitol Drive-In in San Jose, CA, was The Black Stallion Returns in 1983. My baby niece and I were sitting in the front seats while my brother and his wife were making out in the backseat. Family values in the 1980s. On Christmas Eve last month, I saw Monster Hunter at the West Wind Capitol Drive-In. As the French would say, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”
Where Did This Parking Lot Come From?
The first thing I noticed when driving into the Capitol Drive-In were the box offices from 40 years ago. They were long gone and no longer at the entrance. The new box offices were set further back, closer to the projection building. A chain link fence marked the perimeter of a parking lot between the entrance and the box offices.
Why does a drive-in theater need a parking lot?
From Wednesday through Sunday, early morning to late afternoon, the drive-in is a public market. Sellers can rent space to sell the stuff they don’t want, and buyers can buy stuff that they don’t need. Both must park somewhere since there’s no street parking in the surrounding area. More information is available on the West Wind Public Market website.
At The Drive-In
Monster Hunter was on Screen 1 to the far-left side of the drive-in. I got there a half-hour before sunset and, being the first one there, parked in the middle. Looking around outside of the car, the entire drive-in looked smaller than I remember. It’s hard to imagine a sea of cars stretching from Screen 1 to Screen 6 at the opposite end. The new parking lot took up a big chunk of the drive-in.
With social distancing rules in place, vehicles must have at least one parking spot on either side. When outside of your vehicle, always wear your mask. The concession stands weren’t open. The restrooms were open but that was one trip down memory lane I didn’t want to take.
Watching The Moving
I’m not going to review Monster Hunter as a movie. If you want me to do a movie review, let me know in the comments below. I also never played the video game that inspired the movie.
The biggest surprise was seeing the Toho logo at the beginning of the movie. If you’re not familiar with Toho, they’re better known for the Godzilla monster movies. The special effects for the monsters were perfect in this movie.
The pole speakers of 40 years ago were long gone. Movie audio comes in on a FM radio station listed on the ticket. Turning on the rear speakers in the car made the movie more immersive than listening to only the front speakers.
The biggest problem with the screen was when the movie was dark at times. Not dark as in the storytelling but in the lighting. Making out the details in the night scenes was like watching a black-and-white TV. The day scenes were clear as day (pun intended).
Would I go see a movie at the Capitol Drive-In again? If there was a movie I wanted to watch, I would. I’m not sure what movie that would be.