A FROZEN treat for summer: the blockbuster Disney animation is one of several new movies in the mix, as ShoreFlicks gets pumped up for a new summer season of free films on the inflatable screen, at Riverside Gardens.
There’s the local outdoor debut of two recent animated hits (including the film that could only be called the Last Word in Blockbusters). Comedy and adventure favorites dating from the Seventies to the Noughties — and another in a string of “Shark Week” sightings.
While the all-American drive-in movie has largely gone the way of cars with lights that can be turned off, the outdoor, beach-chairs-and-blankets movie is alive and well — and nowhere more so than Riverside Gardens, where Shore Flicks returns on July 1st with a just-announced slate of free Tuesday evening showings on the big inflatable screen. Arguably the most people-pleasing of area outdoor screening spaces, the downtown setting is described as “just picture perfect…a beautiful backdrop” by T.J. Brustowicz, owner of the company that’s been running the Red Bank series since the summer of 2008 — and whose schedule has since expanded to communities all over Monmouth and Ocean Counties.
“Even if you’ve seen a movie for years on TV, it’s always a treat to watch it on a large screen, with an audience,” says Brustowicz — and when all the stars align, there’s nothing quite like the bigger-than-ever screen and beefed-up sound system; the super sight lines from the sloping lawn and the snack-stand patio, even the nearby hustle and bustle of the Front Street main drag. Throw in those Navesink River sunsets, and you’ve got a family outing that’s simply priceless in every way — and redbankgreen has the exclusive coming attractions on this summer’s sked, right around the bend.
The Red Bank series kicks off with a bang and a boom with Will Smith heading a big cast in Independence Day, the even bigger sci-fi epic that screens on July 1. Then on July 8, ShoreFlicks send it back to Will Ferrell and Steve Carell at the action news desk, for the original Anchorman (the PG-13 release, NOT the “even more potty mouth” unrated version).
It’s a black and white night on July 15, as Gene Wilder inherits a retro castle and mad laboratory (and some even more vintage shtick) in Mel Brooks’ laughingly loving horror homage Young Frankenstein. Things continue to trend retro — if by retro we mean the 1980s and 90s comedies that a generation of parents went to on Date Night — with Macaulay Culkin in the John Hughes original Home Alone (July 22) and Jon Heder in the indie sensation Napoleon Dynamite (July 29).
Then on August 5, it’s everybody-out-of-the-water for Jaws — an annual attraction that’s drawn crowds as large as 1,500 to outdoor screening sites that have included Matawan, scene of the 1916 shark attacks that inspired author Peter Benchley to pen his best-selling novel. The Spielbergian action continues on August 12 with Raiders of the Lost Ark, first and finest of the Indiana Jones travelogues.
All free-of-charge screenings begin just after sundown — and as in previous seasons, ShoreFlicks will be conducting a nightly food drive to benefit the local food banks (including Lunch Break of Red Bank), so be sure to tote those nonperisherables along with the folding chairs and beach towels. Follow Shore Flicks on Facebook or Twitter for up-to-the-minute information on weather-related cancellations or other schedule changes — and check back there for summer schedules in Sea Bright (just announced last week) and other local towns, here on the greater Green and beyond.