Drive-in movies are back at the Portland Expo Center, and could be your safest bet for August in-person entertainment.

COURTESY PHOTO: HOLLYWOOD THEATER/EXPO CENTER - Cooler than a laptop, more fun than the couch. Portland Expo Center's PDX Drive-in?Movie?Spectacular runs now through Aug. 28.

With COVID-19 contagion being an on-and-off again thing, it seems like outside is the safest place for entertainment, once more.

In a throwback to early June, when spots like Zidell Yards and OMSI announced they would host programming such as the Blues Festival and the opera Frida, a safe bet for a movie right now is the Portland Expo Center's PDX Drive-in Movie Spectacular.

The movies and projection are handled by the Hollywood Theatre. Shows run now through August 28, with the accent on Gen X nostalgia and classics.

At last week's showing of the Alex Cox classic of low budget, high weirdness Repo Man, tattooed moms and dads sat on lawn chairs in the back of trucks or lounged beside the pizza, beer and ice cream stands.

Each parking spot was clearly marked and had extra space for a few people to sit on the asphalt, if they didn't want to stay in their vehicle on an 80-degree evening. Courteous flaggers with lights saw everyone to their spot from the other side of the giant parking lot, which begins at North Expo Road.

PMG PHOTO: JOSEPH GALLIVAN - When Harry met Emilio: a scene from Repo Man where Emilio Estevez learns form Harry Dean Staton (right) how to repossess a car in 1980s Los Angeles. As shown at Portland Expo Center's PDX Drive-in?Movie?Spectacular runs now through Aug. 28.

Audio was available in-vehicle by radio, and in the open air. The digital projection was also high quality. After the warm-up band, as the July sky turned from amber to indigo behind the 60-foot screen, the crowd of several hundred people of all-ages settled in for a decidedly analog shared screen experience.

What better place to see "The Goonies," "The Princess Bride," "The Empire Strikes Back" or "Monty Python and the Holy Grail  than there? This is comfort food in weird times, and for shorties, the start of their film education.

"We're in a unique position with our 53-acre campus to accommodate events and programming in a Drive-in or Drive-up format,"  said Matthew Rotchford, executive director of the Portland Expo Center.

As the movie ended people clapped and a few honked. As J. Frank Parnell said in Repo Man, Beautiful evening; you can almost see the stars. 

If you go

What: PDX Drive-in Movie Spectacular

Where: Expo Center, 2060 N. Marine Drive When: Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday through August 28.

Cost: $40 per car or $10 per person walk up.


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