Each week the Dude Food guys assess the 'masculinity' of Dallas area dives. The more fried meat and junk on the walls, the better the rating...
Galaxy Drive In Theatre
5301 N. IH 45, Ennis
Dude Factor: 8, or "T-1000," on a scale of 1 ("John Connor played by Nick Stahl") to 10 ("Arnie in the original Terminator")
Preview Guy: In a world where multiplex theaters were hell-bent on the complete destruction of the human race's financial means to enjoy movies--where land prices, VCRs and Daylight Savings conspired to force all but a handful of drive-in theaters out of business--one theater has the guts to stand up against incredible odds.
[cue "Bad To The Bone" guitar riff]
Preview Guy: Galaxy Drive In Theatre. Offering double-feature movie tickets--two current movies, mind you, not scratched-up, second-run, dollar-theater reels--for a mere $6 per adult, $2 per kid age 5-11 and free for under age 5. If that's not insanity enough, check out these snack prices.
[pan concession menu]
Narrator: I scanned the horizon. There had to be an oil pump jack, or fumes rising from a clandestine meth lab, or something--anything--to explain how the place could practically give away the tickets and food. This had to be an oil baron's hobby, or a front for something. That, or they were using rat meat and black-market expired nacho remnants.
You could get a burger or popcorn for $2, or a hot dog for $1.50. Even the miniature golf was cheap, at $3 a round. That was a little more believable, though; the worn-smooth putting surfaces, wooden obstacles and decorative neon-lit palm trees all looked like they hadn't been updated since the invention of the game. But I'd already eaten. The Snack Shack would have to wait until my next trip.
[Flash forward to May 30, 2009]
Narrator: Finally I got my chance when the family went to see Terminator: Salvation, paired with the far less-enticing Angels and Demons. But the line snaked from the rinky-dink snack shack building all the way to the ramshackle mini-golf course, and the sun was setting fast. Would we have time to make it back to our car before the movie started? More importantly, just what were we about to eat?
The line moved slowly but steadily. Comparing the rate of movement and the angle of the sun, I figured we'd get back to the car without a second to spare. My wife went through the shorter separate line for the Dippin' Dots auxiliary snack shack to buy cotton candy, which for some reason never explained came packaged in Chuck E. Cheese bags.
Meanwhile, a kid behind us did the old "If your hand is bigger than your face, you have cancer" gag to his friend, at which the victim's muscle-tee'd dad chuckled and remarked, "Boy, you walked right into that one, dincha?" It was heartwarming to see asshole dude traditions passed down from generation to generation.
After maybe 20 minutes we got inside the shack. I went for a cheeseburger and fries, splurging an extra 50 cents for onion, tomato, lettuce and pickle. My wife made a meal of nachos with jalapenos (an extra 50 cents--always with the upcharge!) and a corny dog, while the kids both got pizzas--personal-sized cheese Freschettas, to be precise.
At the condiment bar, we lost precious seconds when a dude dumped his entire box of popcorn while pumping in artificial butter. We let him mourn the scattered kernels for a moment. But nothing could save them, and the light outside was fading into twilight. We had to move.
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SHOW ME HOW
We jogged back to the car just before dark. The fries were thick-cut, crispy and burning hot, fresh out of the fryer with a clean taste that suggested the shack actually changes the oil once in a while. The burger was perhaps a cut above school cafeteria quality, big enough to satisfy but leave room for a funnel cake later. After the corn dog, the wife couldn't even finish her nachos; by the time I got them, they were cold and soggy. Think that stopped me from polishing them off? Then you haven't met The Human Trash Compactor.
I was licking the cheese off my fingertips as the movie began. Terminator: Salvation turned out to be a damn good action flick, better than Rise of the Machines but not reaching the greatness of the first two. Angels and Demons put everyone to sleep except me. I had to stay awake to see whether I guessed the final plot twist correctly; I did. Yawn.
When I tried to start the car, the starter only clicked. But there's a guy patrolling in a golf cart with a portable charger. Deals with dead batteries on a nightly basis.
Preview guy: Next time, night of the living dead.