After a year off due to the pandemic, Parkside Movies in the Meadow returns tonight, and the lineup looks as smart as ever.
As I said about MITM in 2019,
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 2021 season, with films screened every Friday at dusk for the rest of the summer, kicks off tonight with Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
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 in 2018. Here’s that formula again, updated for 2021:
An animated film (think Disney/Pixar), but one that works for adults as well as kids.
A quality sci-fi or comic book flick. This year Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (by Sony Pictures) occupies both these categories.
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 Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and The Goonies.
A “grownup” film that kids — especially older ones — can get something out of, or at least follow. In previous years these included Marshall and Get On Up: The James Brown Story. This year it’s On the Basis of Sex (about Ruth Bader Ginsberg).
Don’t let the presence of the word “sex” in the final movie of the series discourage you from bringing children. On the Basis of Sex is about the career of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, to which we should inspire our kids to aspire. Just think: a future woman justice of the Supreme Court could be in the audience!
I’d like to note a personal connection with The Goonies. When I lived in Rochester I was an organizer of the “Chill the Fill” campaign against filling in the old subway tunnel under downtown. As part of that campaign we gave tunnel tours, flashlights in hand, poking into dark corners and cavernous spaces that never saw the light of day, to the accompaniment of spooky sounds like steam pipes venting, passing the occasional bit of graffiti reading, “YOU WILL DIE.”
After one of the tours an email popped up in my inbox reading, “You Goonie!” Having missed the movie when I was a kid I didn’t get the reference, but after seeing it at East Rochester’s version of Parkside’s Movies in the Meadow I sure did. Perhaps the claustrophobia of The Goonies is best enjoyed in a park.
Note: As in years past, movie-goers are welcome to bring picnic baskets, chairs, blankets, family and friends. I was not able to confirm whether PCA will have refreshments available for purchase including popcorn, candy, and ice water this year. For more information about that, contact the PCA directly.
It’s been a while since any outdoor movies have been screened, including Movies in the Meadow. Thankfully, this beloved movie series is back, for the entire community to enjoy.
“For more than ten years, this free series has provided a way for parents to share the classics with their kids, for friends to say all their favorite lines out loud, and for the community to get together and enjoy one of Buffalo’s greatest outdoor gathering spaces.” – PCA
The series is as follows:
- Friday, August 6th: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
- Friday, August 13th: Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse
- Friday, August 20th: The Goonies
- Friday, August 27th: On the Basis of Sex
Films begin at dusk and will be shown on the meadow in front of the Parkside Lodge at Delaware Park.
The Parkside Community Association is Buffalo’s oldest, largest and most active neighborhood association in the City of Buffalo. The Parkside area contains superb examples of such diverse architectural styles such as the American Four Square, Victorian, Colonial Revival, Craftsman, and the Arts & Crafts bungalow. The 1880 through 1930 building period includes design by prominent local architects E.B. Green, Frank Lloyd Wright and William Sydney Wicks. Parkside is adjacent to Frederick Law Olmsted’s Delaware Park, the Buffalo Zoo, and the Main-Amherst business district.