Join us for our community’s summer tradition: Sunday night movies in the back yard for the family. Each Sunday evening during the summer, we project a film onto a screen hung from the trees. We select films to appeal to the widest possible age group (including the adults) and show a short film before the main feature. The pre-feature short begins at 7:30 p.m. and the main feature at 8 p.m. We will show films until CPS begins, so our final summer film will be on Sunday, 6 September 2015.
Sunday, 6 September 2015: FINAL MOVIE OF THE SUMMER
(Pre-feature short begins at 7:30 p.m.; feature film begins at 8 p.m.; 104 minutes)
Night at the Museum – 2006, PG
This has been requested several times in the last couple of years, so we’ll finish summer 2015 in the museum. If you’d like to spend a real night at the museum, you can do so at the Museum of Science and Industry.
Sunday, 30 August 2015
(Pre-feature short begins at 7:30 p.m.; feature film begins at 8 p.m.; 114 minutes)
The Goonies – 1985, PG
At long last: I promised this film last year–and the year before–but we never got to it. Partly, this was due to my doubts about how “appropriate” it is for the younger filmgoers. A rating of PG in 1985 was much more liberal than a rating of PG thirty years later–a trend about which we should all be concerned. (This is a new obsession of mine and would be yours, too, if you had to choose ten or so movies a year that won’t alienate any of your many neighbors–each of whom have differing ideas about what’s okay to show to kids.) I’m determined to show this movie, however, and like E.T. last year, think it will make a great end-of-summer film–though we have one week remaining.
Sunday, 23 August 2015
(Film is 154 minutes long; there will be no pre-feature short and we will begin feature at 7:30 p.m.)
Superman – 1978, PG
The Avengers, Spiderman, even Ant-Man can’t hope to be as epic as Christopher Reeve’s Kal-El. I won’t even acknowledge Henry Cavill, Tom Welling, Dean Cain or–especially–Brandon Routh in his little boy pajamas. I guess when your father is an alien Marlon Brando in a glow-in-the-dark lab coat, you can’t help but be super.
Sunday, 16 August 2015
NO FILM SCHEDULED
Sunday, 9 August 2015
(Pre-feature short begins at 7:30 p.m.; feature film begins at 8 p.m.; 113 minutes)
The Golden Compass – 2007, PG-13
I’m not really sure why this film received a PG-13 rating. Maybe the MPAA schoolmarms were feeling especially uptight the day they reviewed The Golden Compass. Maybe it was the (bloodless) violence–when the bad guys are killed, they go out in a puff of gold glitter. Or, even better, maybe it has to do with some alleged conspiracy I read about by the Catholic Church to undermine this “godless” film. This isn’t a great movie as plot and development go (as one volume of an epic set of books by Philip Pullman), but it’s beautiful, original and has some good acting by well-known performers (Daniel Craig, Christopher Lee, Nicole Kidman, Ian McKellen, Eva Green) and a couple of child actors (including the voice of Freddie Highmore from the new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Spiderwick Chronicles). Anyhow, anything in which Sam Elliot plays Sam Elliot–which is to say, everything he’s in–has some redeeming value.
Sunday, 2 August 2015
(Pre-feature short begins at 7:30 p.m.; feature film begins at 8 p.m.; 126 minutes)
Hugo – 2011, PG
This film is based on a Caldecott Medal-winning masterpiece by Brian Selznick, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, and directed by Martin Scorsese. I hope that this film–a wonderful movie but poor substitute for the book–will lead the kids to Selznick’s book. Hugo is played by Asa Butterfield who also plays Ender Wiggin in Ender’s Game.
Sunday, 26 July 2015
(Pre-feature short begins at 7:30 p.m.; feature film begins at 8 p.m.; 108 minutes)
Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events – 2004, PG
This is a terrible movie in which awful things happen to good children. No one should be subjected to this wretched story. There is nothing to be found here but dread and misery. Do not watch this film and, under no circumstances, should you ever read the books! Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Sunday, 19 July 2015
NO FILM SCHEDULED
Sunday, 12 July 2015
(Pre-feature short begins at 7:30 p.m.; feature film begins at 8 p.m.; 101 minutes long)
City of Ember – 2008, PG
Another film based on good books, City of Ember, by Jeanne DuPrau, is a great adventure that repeats some of the post-apocalyptic themes that are prevalent in the genre of the last decade or so: underground silos, crumbling infrastructure, toxic surface environment, etc. The film is well done and the acting is good–except by Bill Murray who always seems to be mocking his characters. Anyhow, if you like this, I recommend reading Wool by Hugh Howey. Not only does the book tell a similar story (though a bit more adult), the book itself is a great self-publishing success story.
Sunday, 5 July 2015
(Sunset at 8:29 p.m.; film is 100 minutes long)
The Wizard – 1989, PG
This was fun for the kids, but maybe more so for the parents–most of whom are of “a certain age” and remembered parts of this film. Elton John finally made his appearance, getting eaten by crocodiles after playing “Crocodile Rock” dressed in some ridiculous outfit of feathers and a mirrored skullcap.
Runaways, skate boards, 8-bit Nintendo games, and a red-haired tomboy who grows up to be a pop star–everything a boy could want in a movie. (You should watch this video to see who Jenny Lewis’s friends are.)
Sunday, 28 June 2015
(Sunset at 8:30 p.m.; film is 96 minutes long)
The Spiderwick Chronicles – 2008, PG
We got started a little late–I thought maybe no one was coming except the mosquitoes–so Elton John was missed this week. Luckily, there weren’t many of the younger kids around because even the older boys were a little spooked by Nick Nolte’s ogre.
This is a fairly good movie based on a fairly good series of books. Nick Nolte plays a rather frightening ogre–which seems natural. Freddie Highmore (whose voice we’ll hear later this summer in The Golden Compass) plays twins with very different personalities. Mary-Louise Parker, the dope dealer mom from Weeds, plays basically the same character in this film–only without the drugs. The authors of this multi-volume series of interesting books, Tony DeTerlizzi and Holly Black, have some sort of fascination with eyes, especially ones getting poked out, but also with what and how people see what’s around them. Parts of this film might scare the youngest ones, but the ogre that does all the spooking gets what he deserves in the end.
It’s rumored that a 30-year-old Elton John might make an appearance before the movie.
Sunday, 21 June 2015
(Sunset at 8:29 p.m., film is 98 minutes long)
The Great Muppet Caper – 1981, G
The movie was well-attended by our die-hard crowd as well as grandmothers, neighbors and mosquitoes. Before the film, we saw Underdog save Sweet Polly Purebred from drowning in the vacuum gun holding tank. The rain clouds were busy elsewhere, so it was a beautiful night for a movie.
I underestimated the interest in Muppet Treasure Island in 2013 (which was rained out halfway through and never finished–for which the kids have not forgiven me). I’m going to assume that The Great Muppet Caper will be just as much fun. If you were/are a fan of The Avengers television series, then you’ll be happy to see Diana Rigg in this film–though Lady Holiday is not as sassy or alluring as Emma Peel.
Sunday, 14 June 2015
(Sunset at 8:27 p.m., film is 78 minutes long)
The Jungle Book – 1967, (pre-MPAA)
Thanks to everyone who held out through the rain–we finished the film from windows and porches. As Lou Rawls said before the feature film, it’s good to be around groovy people.
I’ve avoided Disney movies in these last couple of years–not because they’re no good, but because, if you’re a parent, there’s a good chance you’ve seen them a dozen times, already. The Jungle Book, however, we should watch. The music alone is enough to recommend this one. Phil Harris (of The Jack Benny Show) and the great Louis Prima make this movie. And a real bonus: there are no princesses.