"Summer and baseball go hand in hand." That's Barbara Kovacevich's simple explanation for the baseball theme during this year's Addison Lone Star Drive-In, where families walk in (sorry, cars must stay in the lot) and sit in with blankets, lawn chairs and picnics at Addison Circle Park, where a movie will be shown each Saturday from June 11 through July 3. Kovacevich is the special events manager for the town of Addison, which sponsors the Addison part of Lone Star Drive-In, which is produced by Deep Ellum Film, Music, Arts and Noise Inc. (DEFMAN), which uses the series to raise money for The Cancer Relief Fund.
Despite that complicated background, it's true: Summer nights and baseball movies do go together. Baseball movies are schmaltzy, heartstrings-tugging, cliché-ridden. They manipulate the viewers' emotions with music-swelling moments of victory, defeat, teamwork and determination. Being John Malkovich, Brazil, Lost Highway. These are not summer movie fare. You work up a sweat just trying to figure out what the heck is going on. But baseball movies are like lemonade: a little tart, mostly sugary, refreshing and easy to swallow. ("Easy to swallow" also describes Lone Star Drive-In's two-year tradition of ending the series with a Tom Cruise flick. Last year was Top Gun; this year, Days of Thunder. Yes, they know it's not about baseball. And, no, they don't love Cruise more than Katie Holmes and Oprah Winfrey put together.)
Lone Star Drive-In kicks off this weekend with A League of Their Own, which stars Geena Davis, Madonna and Rosie O'Donnell as female baseball players who take up the game when the male players are drafted for World War II. The next week features The Rookie, the based-on-a-true-story tale of Jim Morris, a Texas minor league baseball player-turned-high school coach (played by Dennis Quaid) who tries out for a professional team and finds himself in The Show at almost 40 years old. The epitome of baseball films, Field of Dreams, slides into base the third week. What? No Bull Durham? Major League? The Natural? Sorry, sports fans, Lone Star Drive-In is family-friendly--another reason that the baseball theme was chosen.
The final week departs from both the baseball theme and the 9 p.m. start time, with Days of Thunder starting at 10:30 p.m. because it follows the Fourth of July fireworks extravaganza, Addison Kaboom Town!, which takes place at the park with activities from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and the big show at 9:30 p.m. Having the movie follow the fireworks solved part of the traffic problem at last year's Kaboom Town!, Kovacevich says. Last year, about 500 to 700 people attended the regular nights of Lone Star Drive-In, but the number leaped to 5,000 for the post-fireworks show, which she says helped clear the traffic in record time with several thousand fewer cars staying instead of leaving with everyone else.
In addition to the free movies, the free parking and an excuse to avoid the traffic, Lone Star Drive-In also allows families to bring their own food and drinks, including beer and wine in coolers, plus there will be concessions such as beer, soft drinks and hot dogs from a vending company and candy and popcorn care of DEFMAN for its fund raising. The only thing missing is Mom's apple pie for an all-American grand slam.