Whatever You Like: Summer Film Fests for All Tastes

May 25, 2011


We’re all searching for something in life. At least you can find the free, outdoor film fest to meet your grass-lounging, picnic-snacking needs.

I WANT TO PLAY DRESS UP
“16 Candles”
(June 20, Crystal City)
John Hughes’ 1984 rom-com about an underappreciated birthday girl is a trip down memory lane, with a quick pit stop in Fashion Victimville: Molly Ringwald, above, rocks a paisley jumper and straw fedora like we never quite managed to. Guys can study the effortless style of heartthrob Michael Schoeffling: Just layer a wool vest over a plain T-shirt. Sexy! Itchy!
Suggested snack: A birthday cake with 16 candles. Well, at this point, more like 43 candles.
Suggested reading material: Your high-school yearbook.
Runner-Up:
» “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery” (1997) (July 22, Rosslyn): Velour suits, bell-bottoms, mini-skirts and halter tops, baby.

I WANT TO SPEND AN AFTERNOON IN WISTFUL REFLECTION
“(500) Days of Summer”
(August 22, Crystal City)
Marc Webb’s 2009 sleeper hit wants you to remember the good times with the one who got away. Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) thinks Summer (Zooey Deschanel) is the One (spoiler: She’s not!), and all the beautifully doomed hope will depress you for the rest of the week.
Suggested snack: Saltines for your nervous stomach.
Suggested accessory: A date. Don’t call him/her by your ex’s name.
Runners-Up:
» “Stand by Me” (1986) (June 1, NoMa): Four best friends make a gruesome discovery in the waning twilight of both the 1950s and their own childhood innocence. You will cry; it’s OK.
» “930 F Street” (2004) (July 26, U Street): This hard-to-find doc looks at the salad days of D.C. punk, when hardcore ruled the ’80s underground.

I WANT A FIRST DATE FLICK
“50 First Dates”
(July 11, Crystal City)
Feeling awkward? Peter Segal’s 2004 comedy lets you off the hook as first-date awkwardness plays out (over and over and over) between commitment-phobic Henry (Adam Sandler) and memory-challenged Lucy (Drew Barrymore).
Suggested snack: Waffles, Lucy’s breakfast of choice.
Suggested accessory: Your finest lei.
Runners-Up:
» “Some Like It Hot” (1959) (July 20, noma): Involves cross-dressing, so use it as a barometer of your date’s feelings about normative sexuality.
» “Casablanca” (1942) (May 26, Capitol Riverfront): Sigh dreamily while ill-fated lovers Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman ride out the tumult of World War II in Morocco.

I WANT TO SING AND DANCE WITH WILD ABANDON
“Dirty Dancing”
(June 9, Capitol Riverfront; June 15, Columbia Heights)
In Emile Ardolino’s 1987 classic, Johnny (Patrick Swayze), a working-class dance instructor, captures the attention of Frances (Jennifer Grey), and a summer of self-discovery unfolds. You’ll have the time of your life during the final dance scene — before realizing that no one under 50 knows how to partner-dance anymore.
Suggested snack: Jujubes, which poor, scrappy Johnny subsists on.
Suggested accessory: Hungry eyes.
Runner-Up:
» “A Night at the Roxbury” (1998) (Aug. 19, Rosslyn): Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan are a pair of Yemeni cool-guy brothers who drive around all day blasting Europop and attempting to gain entrance to the exclusive Roxbury nightclub. “What Is Love?” This movie.

I WANT TO GET PUMPED
“Rocky”
(July 29, bethesda)
This film is like “Star Wars”: Even if you haven’t seen it, you think you have. If you haven’t, you must. Director John G. Avildsen’s 1976 hard-hitting (ha!) classic is so much more than Sylvester Stallone, above, yelling “ADRIANNNNNN!” This film will inspire you to get in better shape so you can more easily run up stairs and punch sides of beef, which is a workout program more gyms should look into.
Suggested snack: Deviled eggs, since raw ones will probably kill you.
Suggested attire: Gray sweats.
Runners-Up:
» “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981) (June 2, Capitol Riverfront) and
“Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” (1989) (May 25; NoMa): Break out your pith helmets and bullwhips!

I WANT TO BRING MY KIDS
“The Incredibles”
(Aug. 3, NoMa)
Before “Toy Story 3″ and “Up” were nominated for Best Picture Oscars, director Brad Bird and Pixar showed how good animated films can be with 2004′s “The Incredibles.” This story of a family of superheroes in hiding features the voices of Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter and Sarah Vowell and swoops from silly to nail-biting in a single bound.
Suggested snack: Peanut butter sandwiches and carrot sticks.
Suggested attire: NO CAPES.
Runners-up:
» “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” (2009) (June 28, u street): Admittedly, a little different from the actual museum.
» “Shrek” (2001) (Aug. 26, Rosslyn): Lacks Puss in Boots but has plenty of fart jokes. So, it all evens out.

I WANT TO PLAY A (THEORETICAL) DRINKING GAME
“Shakespeare In Love”
(June 30, Capitol Riverfront)
We would never condone flaunting open-container laws (Don’t do it!). But you could use your brain AND destroy it while taking in John Madden’s 1998 film, starring Joseph Fiennes, above, as young Will Shakespeare. Drink whenever you spot something in the movie that is not from “Romeo and Juliet” (you know, the play). We’ll give you a freebie: The clown contemplating the skull is from “Hamlet.”
Suggested beverage: Mead.
Suggested attire: Dress like the opposite sex. Free your mind!
Runners-up:
» “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” (1969) (June 22, NoMa): Take a drink for every shot fired. You’ll feel ready to leap right off a cliff.
» “Bye Bye Birdie” (1963) (July 27, Bethesda): Take a drink every time you find yourself singing, “We love you, Conrad/Oh, yes, we do.” Eventually, it’ll stop. Or you’ll die.

FESTIVAL DETAILS

» Crystal City
1851 S. Bell St., Arlington; Mondays, June 6-Aug. 29; sundown, free; Crystalcity.org/do/crystal-screen-by-the-numbers. Theme: By the Numbers

» U Street
Harrison Recreation Center, 1330 V St. NW; Tuesdays, May 24, June 28, July 26, Aug. 23, Sept. 20; sundown, free; Movies.ustreet-dc.org. Theme: D.C. in the Movies

» NoMa
L Street between 2nd and 3rd streets, NE; Wednesdays, May 18-Aug. 3; 7 p.m. food and music, 9 p.m. film screening, free; Nomabid.org/noma-summer-screen. Theme: Trains

» Columbia Heights
Tubman Elementary Field, 13th and Kenyon streets NW; Wednesdays, June 8-29;
8:30 p.m., free; Columbiaheightsday.org. Theme: School’s Out

» Capitol Riverfront
Tingey Plaza, 100 Tingey St. SE; Thursdays, May 26-July 28,
8:45 p.m., free; Capitolriverfront.org/calendar/do/front-flicks-outdoor-movies. Theme: Best of the Oscars

» Rosslyn
Gateway Park, 1300 Lee Highway, Arlington; Fridays, April 29-Aug. 26; 8 p.m., free; Rosslynva.org/play/calendar/film-festival. Theme: “SNL” in the Movies

» Bethesda
Norfolk and Auburn avenues, Bethesda; July 26-30, 9 p.m., free; Bethesda.org/bethesda/movies.

Written by Express’ Katie Aberbach, Kristen Page-Kirby and Shauna Miller

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