How I built my outdoor theater
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Saturday, November 15, 2014

NOW PLAYING: "Iron Man 3"

Shout-out to my Cousin(-in-law) John for hanging out!

And since I was able to get off my butt and show a movie in November, that means I only have December to go until I can claim that I used my outdoor theater at least once EVERY MONTH in 2014 (except for February. Stupid lazy February)!!!

See you in Dec!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

NOW PLAYING: Opening Night of the 2014 NBA Season!!

Dish Network has decided not to carry the Lakers Channel, so the only games I get to see are the handful of "nationally televised" games on TNT and ESPN. Lucky for me, TNT decided to bless us with a Laker game on their very first night of coverage this year!

UNlucky for me (and all Lakers fans), the Lakers will be terrible this year!

But on the bright side, I did get to see them play (and lose badly), AND I snuck in a Hyltoplex showing right at the end of October to been my monthly streak going, AND I even did it on a work night!

Cheer up Kobe, only 81 more games to go!

Saturday, September 12, 2014

NOW PLAYING: "X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)"

I couldn't WAIT to get my hands on this movie, and once again, the X-Men series didn't fail to disappoint! My fave is still "The Wolverine", but I enjoyed this one too.

Saturday, August 9

NOW PLAYING: "Captain Phillips (2013)"

Finally got around to seeing Captain Phillips and I really enjoyed it.

After I watch a movie "based on a true story", I always like to look up info on the original people/events to see how factual the movie was.

As is usually the case, it turns out this movie is a mix of truth and "Hollywood", but I liked it nonetheless.

Friday, July 25, 2014

NOW PLAYING: "The Iceman (2012)"

My co-worker Jose came over again Friday night and we watched "The Iceman" on Netflix. This movie is based on Richard Kuklinski, a real-life professional killer believed to have killed over 200 people.

Pretty good movie about a pretty creepy dude, played by actor Michael Shannon, who often plays the roles of creepy dudes.

When the movie was finished, we searched YouTube for a few clips of "The Iceman Tapes", an HBO documentary on the real man produced in the 90's.


NOW PLAYING: Video Pinball game "Funhouse" on the Wii!

All this time I've been watching movies outside, my setup and takedown times always felt like 30-35 minutes each way. I finally remembered to time myself last weekend and THIS is what I came up with instead! Not only does this "newly discovered info" make me regret all of the weekends I skipped because I was too tired/lazy, now I feel justified setting up on nights that I don't plan on spending hours outside! FOR EXAMPLE...

...like when I drag the Wii outside and play video pinball!

I first discovered the real life version of "Funhouse" in 1995 and I was hooked right away. Since then, I've come across it every few years and played it whenever I had the chance.

BTW, the mannequin head ("Rudy") in the top-right corner of the table trash-talks to you throughout the entire game, his eyes follow the ball wherever it goes, his mouth moves when he speaks, and he reacts to every move!

Last week, I found the Wii game "Pinball Hall of Fame" at a swap meet. Best five bucks I ever spent. Now my 5-year old daughter is hooked! Google says there are only 2 locations in Southern California that still feature a real working version of the game and I've already promised her we'll track them down before summer is over.

When we find them, I'll be sure to take some pics and link them here. In the meantime, here's a video of what appears to be someone playing a German version of the real game. ENJOY:


NOW PLAYING: "Iron Man 2 (2010)"

I hate to say it, but I was pretty underwhelmed by Iron Man 2. The first iron Man movie set the bar really high for me, and this one just couldn't match up IMO.

GOOD NEWS: I'm finally all caught up on Marvel superhero movies, so I can FINALLY watch The Avengers!! Next week maybe?????


NOW PLAYING: "The Incredible Hulk (2008)"

Pretty darn good movie! I never saw the 2003 version that everybody hated so I cant compare the two. But I liked this one!

Does this look like the face of a monster:

OK how about this one:

Jeff and I in the obligatory "Posing in front of the screen" shot:

(One of us is standing on a step)


NOW PLAYING: "The Wolverine (2013)"

Before I got to Wolverine, I watched the very end of Game 2 of the 2014 NHL Stanley Cup Finals. I dont normally follow hockey, but I'll gladly hop on the Kings bandwagon now if they'll have me. Go Kings!!

Once the game ended, I watched The Wolverine. This movie serves as a sequel to the X-Men trilogy, as it picks up a couple years after the last X-Men movie left off.

Great, great movie. I have yet to be let down by any of the movies in the X-Men series.

Hey Alen! How are those infomercial wireless headphones you bought a couple years ago working out for you?


SUNDAY, MAY 25, 2014


In my (seemingly) never-ending quest to someday watch "The Avengers", I'm still working my way through all of their individual superhero movies first. I know I'm the last man on earth who still hasn't seen The Avengers, dont remind me. I'll get there eventually, I promise!

I hate to say it, but I was pretty under-whelmed by Thor. It was "OK" but that's about it. My apologies to the citizens of Asgaard.

Acting was ok, plot was ok, "twist" was ok.

With Thor out of the way, I still need to see Hulk, then Iron Man 2, THEN The Avengers! Stay tuned!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

NOW PLAYING: "STAR TREK (2009)" - w/ Special Guest Jeff!

My around-the-corner neighbor Jeff (who also owns his own backyard theater) stopped by this week. We both really enjoyed this movie, but it probably didn't hurt that we are both "Trekkies". I've also heard good things about the sequel so I'm hoping to see that next weekend. But in the meantime...

Thanks for hanging out, Jeff!

Friday, May 2, 2014


My co-worker Jose ("Tito") graced the ol' Hyltoplex with his presence tonight!
With "The Amazing Spiderman 2" bring released today, we decided it was probably time to watch the first one.

We both agreed we liked the "original" Tobey Maguire version better, mostly because Tobey's Peter Parker was a lot more likeable than this guy:

So-so plot, so-so characters, so-so special effects, but we still had a good time.

Thanks for stopping by, Tito!

Friday, April 18, 2014


I've always been a sports documentary nerd. Tonight I watched an excellent ESPN "30 for 30" documentary about 1980's Dodgers pitcher Fernando Valenzuela. I didnt get too many good pics of the screen however, too busy watching this great documentary

Friday, April 11, 2014


My first WrestleMania was #5, so it's kinda crazy that we're already at #30. And it was a great show too! A nice mix of new school and old school and a bunch of fun stuff in between. I took a million pics and couldn't decide on which ones to post (as usual), so here are some of my faves. Enjoy!


Saturday, March 22, 2014

NOW PLAYING: "Grown Ups 2"

ACTUALLY, I tried to watch "Thor" (the first one, released in 2011) first but I ran into some technical difficulties and only made it about 15 minutes in.

While I was still trying to work out my Thor issue, I cruised Netflix (aka "Hylto-flix") for a minute but couldn't decide on anything there.

Eventually, I made it to Grown Ups 2. Not the classiest movie in the world, but still pretty funny (also pretty dumb).

I also hit up YouTube and watched a clip of "The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon" (that's Jimmy on the right playing Russian president Vladimir Putin). I'm trying to get Jimmy to follow me on Instagram and I hope posting this pic does the trick. I'll keep you posted on how that goes.

(Dont hold your breath)

Friday, March 14, 2014

NOW PLAYING: "Man of Steel" - w/ Special Guests Derek & Kelsey!

My boy Derek and hid girlfriend Kelsey came by to check out the ol' backyard this weekend!

I'd heard nothing but good things about "Man of Steel" since it came out and I'm glad I finally got to see it. It was pretty much everything I thought it would be and more. They made a few subtle (and not so subtle) changes to the original story, but they were all changes for the better IMO.

I used to say that Batman was the only superhero whose costume didnt look silly in live-action movies, but I really liked all the detail & texture they added to Superman's suit here. The darker, muted colors look good too.

Am I the only one who thinks it's funny that nobody recognizes Superman with his glasses on?

"Hey Clark, where'd Superman go???"

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


Happy 2nd anniversary, Hyltoplex! Today marks the 731st consecutive day my screen has been hanging on the back of my house. I can't tell you how glad I am that I chose billboard tarp for my screen material. More on that in a previous blog entry below.

To celebrate, I finally finished my website today! Since you're already here, be sure to use one of those fancy social media buttons below and share us with someone you know. Then share with someone you don't know. They'll appreciate it either way. I promise.

Thanks for checking us out!

Saturday, January 12, 2014

New Year's Resolution: Backyard Theater Edition

My New Year's resolution this year was to use the HyltoPlex at least ONCE every month in 2014. I finally got January in when I broke out the Wii and played Mario Kart with my 5-year old daughter last weekend and again this weekend! She schooled me some, I schooled her some. A good time was had by all.

I set it up while she was eating dinner, then I told her to close her eyes while I took her outside for a "surprise". When I sat her down next to me and uncovered her eyes, she LOST IT. You should've seen her face LIGHT UP when she saw the screen!! I've been putting that off for too long. I'm glad I finally got off my butt and did it. Still kicking myself for not getting my wife or neighbor Jeff to take any pics while we played last weekend, but I got us covered THIS weekend:

I cant tell you how many times I've planned in advance to HyltoPlex (yeah it's a verb now) then I always get lazy at the last minute and change my mind. But the few times I've fought off the laziness and dragged myself outside to set up even if I didn't really feel like it that night, I've never regretted it. Funny how that works.

Shout-out to all my Backyard Theater brothers & sisters on the east coast and anywhere else where it's too cold to BYT. I'll hold down the fort for you guys until it gets warmer where you are.

Oh, I also watched some Justice League Unlimited on Netflix by myself too:

Friday, September 13, 2013

NOW PLAYING: Series Finale of "Burn Notice"
w/ Special guest Trace-Face!

Tracy has been hooked on this show since the beginning. I stopped watching a couple years ago, but I had to catch the finale. Tracy was on the edge of her seat the whole time. I liked it too, but it probably would've meant more to me if I had been following it with her from the beginning.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

NOW PLAYING: "42" (Jackie Robinson movie) + Looney Tunes
w/ Special guest sisters!

Sisters' choice(s). I enjoyed 42, but I was hoping they'd cover more of Jackie's life, not just a few seasons of baseball. Couldn't help but think "That's all we get?" when it ended.

Meanwhile, Bugs is Bugs:

Saturday, August 3, 2013

NOW PLAYING: "X-Men Origins: Wolverine"

I read a lot of not-so-great reviews about this movie, but I really liked it. It's supposed to serve as a prequel to the X-Men trilogy, but it leaves a lot of questions open that don't get answered in the trilogy (unless I wasn't paying attention?). That's the only thing that bothered me about this movie.

Shout-out to Tracy for buying me a couple anti-gravity patio chairs for my early birthday present. Thanks Trace-Face!

Friday, July 12, 2013

NOW PLAYING: "Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame"
w/ Special guest sisters!

Sisters' choice. I had never seen this one before. Heard a couple "adult" jokes I wasn't expecting in a kiddie movie. Nothing too over-the-top, but they still caught me by surprise a little.

The colors in this one looked really awesome on screen. Made the whole backyard glow just like those candles. This pic doesn't do it justice at all.

Friday, May 24, 2013

NOW PLAYING: "Silver Linings Playbook"

Finally got to see it and well worth the wait. Also, the full moon was so bright tonight, it made a tree cast a leafy shadow all over the first half of the movie (bottom-right corner of the screen)! That's never happened before.

It was SO bright in fact, this pic still came out even though my neighbor didn't leave his back porch light on tonight (first time in forever) AND I barely had to touch it up!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

HyltoPlex Outdoor Theater: NOW VISIBLE FROM SPACE!

My screen has been up for 1 year and 1 month (and counting...). Since I put it up, I've been checking Google Maps, Google Earth, and Bing Maps every couple of months, waiting for them to update their satellite imagery and they've been dragging their feet. None of them have done it yet, but Apple Maps (3D mode) has!! FINALLY!

I think the above images were taken sometime in late 2012. Pretty cool, huh??

I'll add more satellite pics once Google & Bing catch up.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Happy 1st Anniversary, HyltoPlex!

My screen has been up for 366 consecutive days (and counting)...

Because I went with billboard tarp for my screen material, I never have to take it down. It's survived sun, wind, rain, sleet, hail, bird poop, and at least one hummingbird collision with ease. When it gets dirty I just hose it off. For anyone out there thinking of building their own backyard theater, I cant recommend billboard tarp enough.


Monday, February 25, 2013

Custom Theatrical Intros

A bunch of folks at BYT.com have set-up full theatrical intros for their movie nights, complete with music, trivia slide shows, and even cartoon "intermission jingles" (remember those??). I'm not too good at any of that stuff, luckily all my friends are smarter than me. A couple of my boys were nice enough to hook me up with the custom intro videos below. Each video takes maybe 15-20 minutes to create, then another 15-20 HOURS for your computer to render. Needless to say I am very grateful. If possible (and if your computer can handle it), be sure to watch them full screen and in HD mode to see how sharp they are.

First one is from nivek:

This one is from my boy tronn4:

Long-time readers of This Very Blog may remember that tronn4 is the guy I originally stole my "hang the screen from the roof" idea. But he's currently in the process of stealing my stolen BYT Box idea, so we'll call it even.

Thanks again guys!!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Backyard Theater Electrical Box: My Favorite Upgrade (so far)

DISCLAIMER:I totally stole this idea from BYT.com member scottw a couple months ago. He permanently installed a re-purposed electrical box under his backyard deck with all of his audio/video connections inside so he wouldn't have to drag his cables in and out of the house every night for every showing.

As soon as I saw it I knew the HyltoPlex needed one too.....

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Saturday, May 12, 2012

I bought a new projector stand, then I MADE a better projector mount

Our buddy tronn4 (of BYT.com fame) picked up one of these projector stands on sale at Fry's. The base swivels 360 degrees AND tilts in every direction. Makes aiming the projector SO MUCH EASIER than having to stuff newspapers and other random objects underneath it like I used to.

But I knew I couldnt leave the PJ on the ground forever. So after a little brain-storming, I came up with.....

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