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Originally published Friday, June 27, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Outdoor movies perfect for summer nights

Watching movies while snuggled under a blanket with the moon and stars above is the perfect blend for summertime fun. Presented with a range...

Special to The Seattle Times

Map of outdoor movie locations


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If you go

Every outdoor movie series is different. Consult the Web sites on the accompanying list for complete details.

Start time: Movies start at dusk; arrive early to get a good seat. Spots (first-come, first-served) fill up fast. Some venues provide preshow entertainment in the form of live music, games and interactive fun.

Snacks: Most venues allow for picnic baskets, but will also provide refreshments and a beer/wine garden.

Outside alcohol is not allowed.

Seating: Bring a blanket to ward off late-night chill. Limit your seating to low-back lawn chairs so others can see, too.

Ratings: Check for ratings; most movies are PG-13, but several are R-rated or may contain mature subject matter inappropriate for young viewers.

Weather: Check the Web sites for weather-related cancellations.

Pets: Leave 'em at home, or check with the venue for specific pet policies.

Watching movies while snuggled under a blanket with the moon and stars above is the perfect blend for summertime fun.

Presented with a range of choices on outdoor screens this summer — from comedy classics such as "The Goonies" and "The Princess Bride" to more adult-themed horror films such as "The Shining" and "Cloverfield" — you'll have no trouble choosing a night to suit your tastes.

Vulcan Real Estate, which produces the South Lake Union Cinema on the Lawn, has a high-school-themed series that bridges the best of early-'80s/'90s movies with a contemporary favorite. Its lineup features the snarky wit of "Heathers," the campy cheerleader-battle flick "Bring It On" and then closes out with the coming-of-age teen pregnancy comedy "Juno" (a popular new movie that makes an appearance in four outdoor series around the region this summer).

"This is the first year we picked a theme; in the past we picked a whole range of movies," Lori Mason Curran, spokeswoman for Vulcan Real Estate, said. "Our sponsor, KEXP, had the public choose from three movies on their Web site. It's kind of exciting. We had to get a specific license to show ['Heathers'] outside. Not sure, but it may be the first time it's been shown outside."

By far the most ambitious of the area's series is Fremont's Outdoor Movies. The event, now in its 16th season, is a wild mix of comedy, improv, audience interaction, movie-themed games and, oh yeah, movies. Among Fremont's offerings: "Juno," the hilarious "Superbad" and the not-so-hilarious "An Inconvenient Truth."

Al Gore's climate-change documentary is "not a date movie," said Andrew McMasters, artistic director of Wing-It Productions. But patrons are urged to bring their bikes for a bicycle fashion show.

"In other words, don't drive," said McMasters, adding that the idea was to present a progressive night, but still keep it fun. Proceeds will go to Sustainable Ballard and Sustainable West Seattle.

Fremont also features a trio of "Twisted Flicks": Think '50s-era B-movie rejects, with Jet City Improv providing dialogue, sound effects and music based on audience suggestions.

The Seattle Center's scenic Movies at the Mural is on the sloping lawn of the Mural Amphitheater with the Space Needle looming high above. Its lineup, which starts with standard outdoor fare ("The Princess Bride," "Batman Begins," "The Goonies"), finishes with a midnight showing of the cult-classic "The Rocky Horror Picture Show."

"It's not necessarily programming for young children," said Julia Colson, managing artistic director for Seattle Center Productions, "but we got a lot of requests for 'Rocky Horror,' and with the midnight showing the people who might not like it aren't going to make the effort to come out and see it."

Elsewhere around the region, there are plenty of opportunities to get your moonlit cinema fix. Redhook Ale Brewery in Woodinville holds a six-week series that features several R-rated films, restricted to those 21 and older.

Others include Marymoor Park in Redmond, Liberty Park in Renton, Auburn's Summer Sounds & Cinema Series, Everett's Cinema Under the Stars, Kirkland's Movies at the Beach and Tukwila's Summer Concert and Cinema Series.

Jeff Albertson can be reached at: jalbertson@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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