Drive-In Double Feature: Mann of the House

The drive-in movie theater – a little over 300 remain in the United States. I grew up going to the drive-in at least once a month. We’d pack the cooler with snacks (Corn Nuts) and drinks (Hi-C), and cozy up for a night at the movies. Always a double feature, and sometimes a triple feature, some of my fondest memories come from the Council Bluffs Drive-In. It was torn down several years ago, and as far as I know, the closest one to me is at least two-and-a-half hours away. As much as I crave that nostalgia, I’m not driving over two hours to watch four hours worth of movies, only to drive over two hours back home.

The double feature has always been a fun go-to for any movie fan that has a free night. Finding just the right movies that will pair together perfectly, as not to outshine each other, but to compliment one another. The second one should be a continuation, of sorts, from the first. With all this in mind, I figured I’d take most Fridays and suggest a double feature for you to enjoy. Every movie (like today’s) won’t necessarily be horror, but they’ll at least be horror-adjacent.

Since this was Hannibal week on the podcast, and Michael Mann’s Manhunter is included in that theme, and he just happens to be one of my favorite director’s of all time, I figured I’d go for a Michael Mann double feature this weekend.

Movie #1 – Manhunter

(1986 / 1h 59m / R)

S: William Petersen, Dennis Farina, Kim Greist, Joan Allen, Brian Cox, Tom Noonan / W: Michael Mann / D: Mann

When we ranked the movies spawned by the Thomas Harris novels this week on the show, we all agreed The Silence of the Lambs was our favorite movie out of the five. We also all agreed that Mann’s Manhunter was an extremely close second. William Petersen could very well be the definitive Will Graham. Dennis Farina is my favorite Jack Crawford. Tom Noonan originated one the creepiest characters in film history. And Brian Cox was the first ever Dr. Hannibal Lecktor (the spelling was changed in the later movies). This is a classic 80s police procedural. I grew up on Miami Vice, Beverly Hills Cop, and Lethal Weapon. As I say frequently for my favorite things: this hits all the bases. And the soundtrack is killer, to boot! (Also, check out a younger Stephen Lang as Freddy Lounds, way before he was The Blind Man in Don’t Breathe!)

Movie #2 – Collateral

(2004 / 2h 0m / R)collateral

S: Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx, Jada Pinkett Smith, Mark Ruffalo / W: Stuart Beattie / D: Mann

Not horror. I know. But neither is Manhunter, so… horror adjacent. This is a movie I have watched countless times and have yet to tire of. In my ever-so humble opinion, this is Tom Cruise’s finest performance. There is something Michael Mann does with these stories that immediately pulls the viewer in. I don’t know what it is, but as I flip through his filmography, I see at least five films where I became emotionally invested in the story and characters almost immediately after sitting down to watch. Collateral is one of them. It’s such an original story. And my favorite thing about storytellers is when they can make the setting a main character. Case in point with this movie. The city of Los Angeles honestly should have top billing behind Cruise and Foxx. I’ve never wanted to live in L.A., but every time I watch this, my mind changes for a couple hours.

Total Time – 3h 59m + 10m break between = 4h 09m

You could easily substitute Heat or Miami Vice (or add one for a TRIPLE feature!) just as easily. If I spent no time thinking about it and just rattled off four names off the top of my head for a Mt. Rushmore of directors, Michael Mann would be up there. (More than likely, even if I spent a week contemplating that, he’d probably make the final cut.) So take some time this weekend and devote it to sitting on your ass for four hours. You worked hard this week, and you deserve it!

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