You’ll have to go elsewhere to see Harry Potter melt the killer robot from the future in the fires of Mt. Doom aided by a talking raccoon. Parkside Movies in the Meadow offer some of the best summer movie fun around, but not that kind.
What the Parkside Movies in the Meadow do offer are a perfect mix of excellent setting (on the lawn behind Parkside Lodge) and excellent curation. The 2019 season, with films screened every Friday at dusk for the rest of the summer, kicks off this Friday with Captain Marvel.
As befits a good film franchise, the last installment ended with a bit of a cliffhanger, leaving audiences wondering if the region’s best outdoor film series would return to entertain us again this year. Thankfully, the Parkside Community Association and the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy found their way clear to continuing this long and excellent collaboration.
MITM selections are regularly a cut above those of other outdoor film series in the area because the organizers seem to follow a winning formula, as I wrote last year. Here’s that formula again, updated for 2019:
- A Disney/Pixar film, but one that works for adults as well as kids. This year it’s Incredibles 2. Leave Cars, Ice Age, or Monsters, Inc. to Canalside or the Bisons Family Film Night.
- A quality sci-fi or comic book flick. This year it’s the refreshingly gender-breaking Captain Marvel. Let UB show Avengers: Final Endgame (No, We Really Mean it This Time) VI.
- A couple of classics and favorites, usually one from the studio-system era and one more recent. A pair like North By Northwest and Ghostbusters, or Citizen Kane and The Princess Bride, or The Wizard of Oz and The Natural from previous years. This year there’s Casablanca and A League of Their Own (which wasn’t shown last year due to weather).
- A “grownup” film that kids — especially older ones — can get something out of, or at least follow. Last year it was Marshall (shot partly in Buffalo) and this year it’s Get On Up: The James Brown Story.
About the setting: the backside of Parkside Lodge, a golfball’s shot (in the other direction, fortunately) off the Delaware Park Meadow, in a month when the rain is usually at bay and the dusktime temperatures are just right is about as good as it gets.
And if you’re one of those who believes the journey is as important as the destination, it’s good for that, too. Most attendees, naturally, will come from the Parkside neighborhood, whose curving streets and ample home lots and setbacks were laid out by the same landscape architects who designed the park. In Parkside, you can walk to an Olmstedian park through an Olmstedian neighborhood.
But in Buffalo, with its extensive parkway system reaching into so many corners of the city, folks in many neighborhoods can walk to Movies in the Meadow in an Olmstedian setting. West-siders like me, or Elmwood Villagers, or Allentowners generally live within a few blocks of an Olmsted parkway. One could walk from, say, Symphony Circle all the way to Movies in the Meadow entirely in an Olmsted landscape, as I look forward to doing on Friday. Add to that all the Garden Walk gardens still near their peak, and a walk to MITM really is a walk in the park.
One of the best parts of this walk is the Delaware Park Meadow itself. By the time you reach the near shore of the Meadow, and need to cross the sea of greensward to the movie on the far shore, it’s approaching dusk. So the golfers are getting out of the water, and you can safely swim across without getting bitten by a golf ball or golf cart. After the movie, the return trip across the Meadow in the dark is even more amazing. You can imagine you’re out in the country under the stars…except for the lights and noise of the nearby expressway.
If only that weren’t there…
Note: movie-goers are welcome to bring picnic baskets, chairs, blankets, family and friends. For your convenience, PCA will have refreshments available for purchase including popcorn, candy, and ice water.
The 2019 Movies in the Meadow line-up:
- August 2: Captain Marvel
- August 9: Casablanca
- August 16: Get On Up: The James Brown Story
- August 23: A League of Their Own
- August 30: Incredibles 2