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The summer heat means a glorious thing in New York City: abundant outdoor movie screenings as far as the eye can see. Whatever your preference, there's sure to be a free/cheap screening that's right up your alley.
HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival
The Locale: Bryant Park @ 5:00 pm
The Dates: Mondays from June 15 - August 10
The Selection: Appears to be Depression-themed, maybe New York-themed as well, with some exceptions: The Sting, Gold Diggers of 1933, Dog Day Afternoon, How Green Was My Valley, The Defiant Ones, Kramer vs. Kramer, and The Magnificent Seven
Best Bet(s): June 22, Breaking Away. The greatest film about a wannabe Italian bike racer stuck in Bloomington, Indiana, ever. Pluses: super-sexy baby Dennis Quaid. Oh yeah!
July 20, Harold and Maude. Any chance to see a Hal Ashby film on the big screen, particularly this sweet and melancholy, life-affirming classic, is a chance you should take. Bring your favorite cougar.
Website Info: www.bryantpark.org
The L Magazine's Summerscreen Series
The Locale: McCarren Park
The Dates: Wednesdays from July 8 - August 12
The Selection: The L Magazine caters to the twenty-something and Brooklyn-y, so think 90s retro with a sprinkling of genre classics: Reality Bites (yes!) Evil Dead 2 (more yes!) Wild at Heart (yes yes yes) 24 Hour Party People (only if you really care about Factory Records, The Buzzcocks, and Steve Coogan) and Fame (which is due for a remake).
Best Bet: August 12, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Some of us think it's a classic, and hey, if you're lucky, maybe Williamsburg-based director Michel Gondry will show up!
Website info: www.summerscreen.org
River Flicks: Free Movie Screenings on the Hudson River
The Locale: Hudson River Park's Pier 46
The Dates: On Wednesdays, the flicks are for grownups (July 8 - August 19), and on Fridays (July 10 - August 21), they're kid-friendly.
The Selection: It ranges from Vicky Cristina Barcelona to Pineapple Express for adults, and the kids get The Wizard of Oz and Kung Fu Panda.
Best Bet: The Dark Knight plays on July 22, and Ghostbusters plays on July 24. Both are great.
Website info: www.hudsonriverpark.org
Bonus: You can vogue along with the men of Paris is Burning, screening in the same location on June 25. Click here for more information.
Brooklyn Bridge Park's Movies With a View
The Locale: Brooklyn Bridge Park
The Dates: Thursdays from July 9 - August 6
The Selection: They're billing it as a Stolen Summer with "capers, thrillers, and heists" and it pretty much rocks: Raising Arizona, The Maltese Falcon, Paper Moon, and The Return of the Pink Panther.
Best Bet: July 30, To Catch a Thief. Make it an impossibly sexy date night with Cary Grant and Grace Kelly in glorious technicolor. Love it.
Website info: www.brooklynbridgepark.org
Narrows Botanical Gardens Outdoor Cinema Series
The Locale: Narrows Botanical Gardens, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn
The Dates: Three Thursdays, July 9 - August 6
The Selection: Toy Story, The Prisoner of Second Avenue.
Best Bet: Thursday, July 9, Wait Until Dark. Even if it's a dark Audrey Hepburn film (she's a blind woman terrorized by robbers, including Alan Arkin), it's worth seeing on the big screen.
Website info: www.narrowsbg.org
Films on the Green: French Culture
The Locale: Washington Square Park and Tompkins Square Park
The Dates: Fridays from June 19 - July 24
The Selection: Think French, with Luc Besson and Eric Rohmer represented: The Big Blue, Love is in the Air, Works, Claire's Knee.
Best Bet: Friday, June 19, Microcosmos. Creepy/beautiful close-ups on the world of insects are quite fitting as you picnic in the park.
Website info: www.frenchculture.org
The Locale: 16 different awesome rooftops all over New York City.
The Dates: Ongoing; something's happening every weekend this summer up until September 20.
The Selection: A wide variety of surprising and brilliant films that fulfill the credo, "underground films outdoors." Expect New York premieres of indies that you should know about, and amazingly curated shorts programs.
Best Bet: We're intrigued by Winnebago Man (Friday, June 19), which is about what happens when a director tracks down an accidental YouTube star, and Lynn Shelton's Humpday (Friday, June 26) looks to be a smart antidote to the bromantic comedies in the multiplexes.
Website info: www.rooftopfilms.com
Central Park Film Festival
The Locale: Rumsey Field, Central Park
The Dates: August 18 - August 22
The Selection: Shaft, Ocean's 11, Twilight, TBA Viewer's Choice (go here to vote for Desperately Seeking Susan, Quintessential New Yorkers).
Best Bet: Let's go with Sex and the City (Thursday, August 20), shall we? Goes very nicely with some snuck-in alcohol. Carrie would approve.
Website info: gonyc.about.com
The Locale: The Prospect Park Bandshell
The Dates: Sunday, June 20; Saturday, August 1; Thursday, August 6
The Selection: Several wonderful music/film events: La Nave De Los Monstruous with a live score by Ethel and Gutbucket, Dean and Britta: 13 Most Beautiful...Songs for Andy Warhol's Screen Tests.
Best Bet: Thursday, August 6. Purple Rain Sing-A-Long. YES.
Website info: www.prospectpark.org