Intern in the Know: Free Outdoor Movies Abound in Metro Region

Posted May 29, 2009 at 2:28pm

Welcome to Washington, interns! This week, Roll Call will offer tips and suggestions for making this a fun and budget-friendly summer.

[IMGCAP(1)]Despite the melodrama following HBO’s announcement that it would no longer sponsor the capital city’s beloved summer pastime, Screen on the Green, an intern can still keep a full calendar of free outdoor movies this summer.

In fact, through much of the summer, enthusiasts could go to a different outdoor movie festival almost every night of the week.

Many of the neighborhoods screen similar movies. In 2008, three groups showed James Bond adventures, and this year two — Riverfront Reel and Rosslyn Outdoor Film Festival — will focus on ’80s throwbacks.

A few favorites get a lot of love around the nation’s capital: An obvious example is “Twilight,— the 2008 vampire romance based on the first book in Stephenie Meyer’s series. It will be shown in Rockville, Md., on July 1 and twice in Bethesda, Md., as part of Bethesda Outdoor Movies on July 31 and the Comcast Film Festival on Aug. 1.

Though no group currently plans to pick up Screen on the Green’s particular brand of classic movies, those who prefer older films will find plenty to be happy about. Among the options are the 1972 Diana Ross hit “Lady Sings the Blues— (July 1 at NoMa Summer Screen), the 1978 version of “Superman— (June 8 at Crystal Screen) and the 1952 musical “Singin’ in the Rain— (Aug. 18 at Comcast Film Festival).

Below is a list of free, Metro-accessible film festivals.

Crystal Screen: Superheros

These movies will be shown Mondays at sundown from May 4 to Sept. 21. Go to the courtyard at South Bell Street between 18th and 20th streets across from the Crystal City Metro stop, on the Blue and Yellow lines.

The Crystal City Business Improvement District chose the superheros theme after showing James Bond movies in its second summer film series in 2008. Over 21 Monday nights, audiences can take in six blockbuster film series sequentially. Tonight’s offering is “Hulk 2: The Incredible Hulk— from 2008, following last week’s showing of “The Hulk.— Later series include Superman, X-Men, Fantastic Four and Batman. (Spider Man made his appearances in May.) Click here for a complete schedule.

NoMa Summer Screen: Music in Pictures

Showtimes are Wednesdays at 7 p.m., from June 10 to July 29 on the lot at L Street between Second and Third streets Northeast, one block from the New York Avenue-Florida Avenue-Gallaudet University Metro stop on the Red Line.

The NoMa Business Improvement District will show music-themed movies and documentaries. Among the more recent films being screened, on June 24, is the 2004 biopic “Ray— about blind performer Ray Charles. The two-time Oscar winner is at the opposite end of the spectrum from the 2002 documentary “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart: A Film About Wilco— about the making of the Chicago rock band’s fourth album. It will be shown July 8. Click here for a complete schedule.

Movies on the Square

On Wednesdays at 8:45 p.m. from June 3 to Aug. 12, these movies will be shown at Rockville Town Square, less than half a mile from the Rockville stop on the Red Line.

Movies scheduled to be shown will appeal to viewers of all ages. They span genres and decades, starting with the 2008 tearjerker “Marley & Me— this Wednesday and concluding with 2009’s animated sci-fi offering “Monsters vs. Aliens— on Aug. 12. Among the other films are “Casablanca,— “The Dark Knight,— “Kung Fu Panda— and “He’s Just Not That Into You.— Click here for a full schedule.

Riverfront Reel: Best of the ’80s

These are Thursdays at sundown, from June 4 to Aug. 6 at Tingey Plaza, about a block south of the Navy Yard Metro stop on the green line.

Following its summer movies debut with baseball films last summer — coinciding with the opening of the adjacent Nationals Park — the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District let the viewers pick its theme and then its films in online polls this year.

The first ’80s movie, “Back to the Future,— will be shown Thursday. Each movie is connected with a theme — for example, “Back to the Future— and “The Breakfast Club,— on July 9, come with snap bracelet giveaways. For “Caddyshack— on July 2, moviegoers are instructed to wear their best ’80s golf shirts, and for “Top Gun— on July 23, the audience is instructed to wear sunglasses at night. For more information, call 202-465-7093 or e-mail info@capitolriverfront.org.Click here for a full schedule.

Rosslyn Outdoor Film Festival: I Love the ’80s

Films take place Fridays at dusk from May 1 to Sept. 4 at the Gateway Park in Arlington, Va., two blocks from the Rosslyn Metro stop on the Orange and Blue lines.

This summer, the Rosslyn Business Improvement District will hit the highlights of everybody’s favorite decade, including “The Breakfast Club— on June 12, “Back to the Future— on July 17 and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off— on Sept. 4. Games and prizes precede each show for those who arrive early, and viewers are welcome to bring picnic supplies. A complete schedule is available here.

Bethesda Outdoor Movies: Stars on the Avenue

Films are shown every night from July 28 to Aug. 1 at 9 p.m. at the corner of Norfolk and Auburn avenues in Woodmont Triangle, about a half-mile walk northwest of the Bethesda Metro stop on the Red Line.

For the fifth year, the Bethesda Urban Partnership will host five nights of movies. The group will show “Grease,— “Dial M for Murder,— “American Graffiti,— “Twilight— and “Mamma Mia!— More information is available at bethesda.org.

Comcast Film Festival

Another Bethesda festival is every night Aug. 14-21 at 8:15 p.m. on the grounds of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association headquarters across from the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro stop on the Red Line.

The movies at this weeklong festival are free, and sales from food vendors at the site and nearby restaurants benefit the National Institutes of Health’s charities. Most of the eight movies are relatively recent: They include 2009 Oscar winner “Slumdog Millionaire— on Aug. 20 and nominee “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button— on Aug. 14.

A complete schedule is at filmfestnih.org.