The Fairhope Film Festival is moving ahead this year as a drive-in movie festival, shortened but very much alive. Take in a double feature from the comfort and safety of your own car on Nov. 12 and 13 at Oak Hollow Farm, for what will surely be an unforgettable experience. Bring a picnic or hit the Whacked Out Weiner food truck. Sound will be via FM radio in your vehicle. Sit in your car or bring a chair and sit outside with a portable radio.
On Thursday, Nov. 12, the French film “Alice,” winner of last year’s South by Southwest Grand Jury Prize, kicks off the festival. In a breakthrough starring role, Emilie Piponnier gives a nuanced performance as a seemingly happily married Parisian mother whose life is upended when her husband abandons their family, leaving behind a vast debt and the revelation that he had been paying escorts instead of the mortgage.
Despite the harsh realities of the film, critics praise “Alice” for its moments of lightness and its beautiful, authentic Parisian setting. It is described as a serious but enjoyable drama with great performances.
Following an intermission comes a documentary that is sure to appeal to locals: “Sweet Home Monteverde.” As the U.S. prepares to enter the Korean War in 1950, nine Quaker families from rural Fairhope embark on a journey to emigrate to Costa Rica, a country that has just abolished its army.
The film follows them to the mountaintop village they named Monteverde and documents their environmental stewardship, their creation of the largest cloud-forest reserve in Central America, their pioneering work on ecotourism, and their early clarion calls to fight climate change. Their legacy of activism is passed down to succeeding generations.
On Friday, Nov. 13, a block of short films kicks things off. The Fairhope Film Festival selection committee always handpicks the best array of short films you would not see anywhere else, including “Mend,” a tale of community and purpose in the life of a widower stuck in a routine made for two. This fan-favorite is just one of the wide variety of short subjects covered in this one of a kind lineup.
Following the short films, Jude Law and Carrie Coon star in “The Nest,” and their performances in this drama have earned near-universal critical praise. When a married couple moves from Upstate New York to England, their relationship problems between themselves and their kids manifest, and I have rarely read such strongly positive reviews for actors as I did for the stars of this film. It must be extraordinary.
We have all been missing the movies and one another, so this year’s Fairhope Film Festival will surely be a great chance to catch up on these experiences. Gates will open at 5 p.m. each night and admission is $30 per car with four passengers.
Opportunities for outdoor cinema abound as the weather gets perfect. OWA is also offering free movie nights with OWA Island Movie Nights every Saturday night in October at the OWA Island Amphitheater. The shows start at 7 p.m., and guests are encouraged to bring a chair or blanket and enjoy an evening outdoors on the lawn. Oct. 24 will feature “Insidious” and on Halloween night, Oct. 31, the balloon-centric horror flick “IT” will play.
And at the OWA Theater, catch some Halloween classics on Wednesday nights at 7 pm. On Oct. 21, “Winchester” is showing, and on Oct. 28, “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” Tickets are $10 per person.
The City of Gulf Shores is starting the third annual Movies at Meyer Park series, which is scheduled to begin on Oct. 22. Residents and visitors are invited to bring their lawn chairs and blankets and watch a movie under the stars. On Oct. 22, screen “Gremlins,” and on Oct. 29, “The House with a Clock in its Walls,” which I particularly recommend.
In November, enjoy “E.T.” on the 5th, “SCOOB” on the 12th, and the Thanksgiving travel-related masterpiece “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” on the 19th. All Movies at Meyer Park showings are free to the public and begin at 6 p.m. Meyer Park is located in the Waterway Village District at 400 East 22nd Avenue in Gulf Shores. Current COVID-19 regulations will be followed and social distancing will be required.
New This Week:
“On The Rocks”: Sofia Coppola teams up with Bill Murray again, so it has to be good — a blend of an exuberant love letter to New York, a generation-clash comedy and a fun celebration of the complications that bind modern families. Laura (Rashida Jones) thinks she’s happily hitched, but when her husband, Dean (Marlon Wayans), starts logging late hours at the office with a new co-worker, Laura begins to fear the worst. She turns to the one man she suspects may have insight: her charming, impulsive father, Felix (Murray), who insists they investigate the situation. As the two begin prowling New York at night, careening from uptown parties to downtown hotspots, they discover at the heart of their journey lies their own relationship. Crescent Theater.
“The Kid Detective”: A once-celebrated kid detective (Adam Brody), now 31, continues to solve the same trivial mysteries between hangovers and bouts of self-pity. That is until a naive client brings him his first “adult” case: to find out who brutally murdered her boyfriend. That actually sounds pretty funny. All listed multiplex theaters.
“The Empty Man”: Based on the graphic novel of the same name, this is a supernatural horror film about an ex-cop who comes across a secretive group attempting to summon a terrifying supernatural entity while on the trail of a missing girl. All listed multiplex theaters, Nexus Cinema Dining.
“Muscle Shoals”: The Mobile Saenger Theater’s Film Series will show this 2013 documentary about the famed recording studio that is right here in Alabama on Thursday, Oct. 22 at 7 p.m.
“National Lampoon’s Vacation”: The Mobile Saenger Theatre’s Film Series will show this legendary comedy on Sunday, Oct. 25 at 3 p.m. Ticket prices are $6 for adults and $3 for children (12 & under) and seniors (60+). The Saenger Theatre Box Office is currently closed, but movie tickets can be purchased at the Mobile Civic Center Box Office (located at 401 Civic Center Drive; open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). The Saenger Box Office will be open on movie days. Hours will be 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Sundays and 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays. Tickets cannot be purchased online or by phone. Limited concessions, as well as beer and wine, will be available.
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