A menacing crop duster. An upside-down cruise liner. A machine threatening a way of life. A time-traveling DeLorean. Sounds like a good mix for the 2015 edition of Screen on the Green, the template and still reigning champ of Washington's vibrant outdoor movie scene.
The series starts on July 20 in a new location on the National Mall, our collective front lawn, in between Fourth and Seventh streets.
Here's the schedule:
July 20: "North by Northwest" (1959).
July 27: "The Poseidon Adventure" (1972).
Aug. 3: "Desk Set" (1957).
Aug. 10: "Back to the Future" (1985).
Upon further reflection, these disparate titles offer a little something for everyone in Washington.
In "North by Northwest," the paranoid types out there can see for themselves that before black helicopters menaced the freedom lovers among us, their progenitors in the crop-dusting aviation industry were doing the same to innocent advertising men. The climatic battle is, where else, at Mount Rushmore, where the country's icons gaze on.
If "The Poseidon Adventure" wasn't tailor-made for CNN, then nothing is. Never mind those run-of-the-mill poop cruises. This sucker turns upside down mid-way across the Atlantic. Can't you just see Anderson Cooper interviewing Gene Hackman and Ernest Borgnine as a wet and wily Shelley Winters screams in the background? This. Is. C-N-N.
"Desk Set" is the least known of these classic flicks. That's too bad, because it's a story we can all relate to: The promise of technology giving way to fear, layoffs and more work for everyone else. Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn make it all go down better, but for anyone freaked out about the Office of Personnel Management computer hack of personal records or struggling with the expensing system (Why submit paper copies of receipts AND file online?), it's a movie for the ages.
And finally, let's head "Back to the Future." Could you imagine how valuable Doc Brown's DeLorean would be in the hands of Congress? If you could head back in time to ensure legislation is phrased to withstand Supreme Court review? Or a senator got that unanimous consent request in before Sens. Ted Cruz or Rand Paul got to the floor? Or if you could lock the portico doors at the White House before some nut-job fence-jumper reaches them? Imagine the possibilities.
Movies start at sun-down. Free. Get there early for prime real estate and to watch the vintage cartoons and HBO dance revelry.
The Return of Screen on the Green
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