Howie Goldklang

Summer Movie Ga Ga

By - Jul 1st, 2008 02:52 pm
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Going to the movies in the summer sucks. It is an over-priced, over-hyped rolling out of films produced for the lowest common denominator of potential audiences, with special effects and cherry-picked corporate soundtracks trumping good scripts and stories. Ugh. You wedge yourself into some mall parking slot, work up swamp-ass on that hot walk to the theater, touch elbows with randoms next to you who will eye your girl and eat your popcorn when you go to the bathroom. And the food and ticket prices? Eff that noise. So yeah, go to a summer movie – it will most likely suck, you’re out a good $60 and you will probably lose your girlfriend.

What you need to do is cut the bullshit, organize your friends and create your own Summer Movie BBQ Series. Once you do, post it on the REEL Milwaukee Blog on all summer long and peep it often for the sweet lowdown on your friends and neighbors. This is totally done in full-on renegade-DIY-not-paying-licensing-fee style, so do what you do and we’ll do what we do. Want in? Yeah, you do. Here’s how to get it together.

Depending on how you feel about taking things from other people, this can get tricky. Without giving away too many places I may or may not have stolen from, I say for the projector, Go Big or Go Home. Drink a few beers (stealing with a buzz is more fun), march your ass into Wal-Mart and take a projector from the back electronics section. An Epson Powerlite should do the trick – fits under your arm and has that red-white-yellow input to easily connect your DVD player. This is key: walk out through the Garden Center (I may or may not be referring to the Wal-Mart on Capital and Holton). You may want to coordinate this with your getaway car. The exits over there are wide and the metal sensors are usually off because employees are constantly fork-lifting and hand-trucking America’s Flowers in and out. As you approach the Garden Center exit (which may or may not be on the opposite side of the parking lot from Holton), pretend to be on your cell phone and have a small, receipt-like piece of paper in your hand. Start talking a lot as you walk by the unassuming exit employees, give a reassuring nod and do not break stride.

Another projector option is slightly more boring than stealing from Wal-Mart, but can still be a bit of a thrill for you and your friend with a real office job. Tell your buddy to take the never-used projector from the meeting room on a Friday night. The projector will be so happy to get lifted from its grey corporate cubicle maze that if it gets wind of your plan it might walk to your friend’s car at lunch. All your directly-deposited friend has to do is stroll into work a bit early on Monday and place the projector on the chair of a rival account executive. It’s a win-win.

This part is relatively simple. For the screen, get some heavy duty electric clamps or tape and a white sheet. Or go on eBay and get high quality, cheapo movie screen material from some punk rocker projectionist who stole old screens from storage at the local art house. Sound is pretty simple and inexpensive too; go to Radio Shack and get stereo cables to connect your stereo to your freshly stolen projector.

At this point you’ve done a quick mental scroll through your cell phone, identifying who can help get this together. You’re stoked, I’m stoked – this is good. Here’s a quick list for your final setup: a small table for projector, a fat orange extension cord and power strip, a cooler, barbecue, beer. Go. Note for the Advanced: you can get mini-generators that plug into your cigarette lighter and power out like an outlet. Be sure to turn on your car every 30 minutes to ensure a safe getaway.

This is the lynchpin of the whole thing. You have to grill out. If you don’t do this, don’t bother. Set up the grill next to the projector so you can run both stations like some Food-TV-Grilling-Out-Projectionist madman. Away you go … and please invite me. Don’t forget to post your screening / BBQ info on our REEL Milwaukee blog at

I’ll hold off on why these films work as a pair – but if you do one double feature show listed below, you’ll feel how summer movies should feel. You’ll just know.

The Big Lebowski + Endless Summer
One Crazy Summer + Dazed and Confused
Rad + Gleaming The Cube
Summer School + The Breakfast Club
Stand By Me + Superbad
Beat Street + Breakin’
Vacation + Fletch + Caddyshack
The Sandlot + The Natural

Tommy Boy + The Song Remains The Same (Zeppelin will rock you. Eat mushrooms when Tommy eats wingy… Not those mushrooms. Shitaki for your burger – get your mind out of the gutter.) VS

Categories: REEL Milwaukee

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