As a recent college graduate desperately attempting to master the art of adulting, I relish every night that I have the opportunity to simply relax and enjoy a film. Now combine that with music, food and a calming sunset, and you've got the Hulu Summer Road Trip. This event, in partnership with Street Food Cinema (which, if you reside in the City of Angels, should ring a bell as a popular way to indulge in nostalgic films and niche food trucks), brought the great people of San Diego together for a screening of an episode of the beloved teen drama The O.C. (Seth and Summer forever, am I right?) and the 1986 classic Top Gun.
Top Gun was the ultimate film choice to get us San Diegans out and about on a Sunday evening. The film takes place in our fair city and a handful of scenes were filmed mere blocks away from the screening site — earning it a special place in our hearts. Immediately upon arrival, all attendees were given their own pair of aviator sunglasses so we could get a hint of what it must've felt like to be a young Tom Cruise, something I strive for every day. Though it was a small gesture, the sentiment made me all the more excited for my first time viewing the film.
Before the screening began, moviegoers took to the massive array of food trucks to keep their stamina up — because cuddling up by the bay for two hours can be an extremely arduous task. It was almost sensory overload, with options inspired by cultures from around the globe. Families were munching on everything from Cuban sandwiches to fresh dumplings. Then you have me, panicked and ordering spicy Cajun gumbo because my taste buds couldn't take anymore decisions. Perhaps I should've alleviated the pressure by simply eating at Kansas City Barbeque, the filming site for the famous piano bar scene.
Following my gumbo adventure I headed to the main stage to stake out a spot for the film, and was met by herds of friends and families relaxing on the grass. It was fascinating to observe the mix of people all here to celebrate a night of cinema; there were giggling children, hipster millennials, middle-aged surfers and spunky elders. Not to mention the sun was beginning to set, so if the waterfront location wasn't beautiful enough, it was feeling very romantic now (the couple sitting next to me was clearly picking up the same vibes).
The shenanigans just kept coming as a local band stepped front and center to play some of the fan-favorite hits from the film — although, I was secretly hoping for an ode to The O.C. with a little Phantom Planet action. Nearly the entire crowd was singing along and, with the possibility of sounding like an utter cheeseball, it truly felt like a tight-knit community indulging in something they all love. "Danger Zone" by Kenny Loggins: Unifying crowds since '86.
Post-screening (yes, I got a kick out of the film, and yes, I deem it worthy of its dedicated fan base) I finished my night right by trekking to the nearby Dunkin' Donuts. Nothing says America like sprinkled sweet treats and high-grossing love stories featuring fighter jets, right? All jokes aside, the event was absolutely perfect for a warm summer night and it seriously took my breath away.
Make sure to check out Top Gun or The O.C. on Hulu now!