Thursday’s sold-out Remarkable Theater drive-in showing of “Do the Right Thing” drew a diverse crowd.
The Imperial Avenue parking lot was filled with film buffs, folks eager to revisit Spike Lee’s 1989 film through the lens of 2020 American life, and parents hoping to introduce their kids to a classic movie (or just get out of the house).
Melissa and Paul Levy were there too.
Ever since the drive-in came to town — thanks in part to her friend Stacie Curran — Melissa has been excited. Despite the awful stresses and devastation COVID has wrought, she appreciates the opportunity to step back and appreciate simple but meaningful moments.
“Do the Right Thing” was especially meaningful. The film is the one she and Paul saw on their very first date in September 1989, as Cornell University freshmen.
They were supposed to go with classmates. But when their friends realized that Melissa and Paul liked each other — in the old fashioned, non-Facebook way — they bowed out.
“The movie — relevant at the time, and tremendously so today, gave us a lot to talk about on our first time alone together,” Melissa recalls.
They held hands as they walked down Libe Slope, back to their dorms.
The memories made Melissa think about her own son, heading off to his own freshman year net month.
“I hope he’ll have moments like the ones we had decades ago,” Melissa says. “I hope he can slow down and appreciate a different pace, with time for smaller, more impactful moments — even with a mask on.”
To commemorate that first date 31 years later, on Thursday Melissa surprised Paul with a “date” at Compo Beach. Then they headed to the drive-in.
Their car: a VW convertible. Paul recently bought it (from Stacie’s husband, Jm Curran!) as a reminder of his first VW Cabriolet convertible. He and Melissa would drive around Ithaca together, as he delivered Chinese food.
Melissa says, “In this moment of turmoil on so many levels, the Remarkable Theater drive-ins are just the tonic we need.”