For its 20th season, San Anselmo's wildly popular Film Night in the Park has chosen to reflect back on some of the biggest crowd pleasures in years past. As founder Tom Boss explains, there was a process involved in narrowing down which movies would make the cut.
"We rounded the selection out with some recent films and a few we've been wanting to show for a while. A committee meets at the beginning of the year, and each member brings a list of films."
From that list, the pool is whittled down to around 20 titles, with special care taken to ensure a diversity of genres.
Some may find it hard to believe that the series has reached the 20 year benchmark. Boss remembers when the idea was born by a group of film enthusiasts who created a monthly series called Film Night at Caffee Nuvo. When the crowds grew, that's when the format expanded to include classic and foreign films, and the location moved to .
Now the series is divided into several venues, including a few across the bridge in San Francisco. The city is typically allotted the more "adult" fare, while the Marin settings cater more to family-appropriate selections.
As to how Film Night has lasted so long, Boss sees the series success rooted in the unique experience provided by watching movies outdoors with others.
"There's something special about watching movies under the stars, surrounded by nature, with a large group of people. Film Night is a very communal activity."
Regulars are known to bring picnic dinners, blankets or sleeping bags to sit on and to arrive well in advance of the showtime to score a coveted good spot. There is also a nightly raffle for those who make a donation.
Getting Boss to name which film in the 2011 season he is most looking forward to was an exercise in futility. As a true film buff, there is something about every movie he and the committee selected for this season that appeals to him.
"There's so many good movies, it's hard to say. I'm excited about The Breakfast Club, and the eye-opening documentary Gasland. There's a lot of buzz around Despicable Me, and I expect the bicycle community to come out in force for Breaking Away. We're showing an Elizabeth Taylor classic, National Velvet, that's great for the whole family. I think the closing night film in San Francisco, Top Gun, will be huge!"
All shows at 8 p.m.
Friday, June 10: Fairfax FANTASTIC MR. FOX (EcoFest)
Friday, June 17: Mill Valley HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON
Saturday, June 18: SF - Dolores Park CADDYSHACK
Friday, June 24: San Anselmo BREAKFAST CLUB
Saturday, June 25: San Anselmo NATIONAL VELVET
Friday, July 1: San Anselmo BREAKING AWAY
Saturday, July 2: San Anselmo THE PRINCESS BRIDE
Friday, July 8: San Anselmo A BEATLES MOVIE
Friday, July 15: San Geronimo DESPICABLE ME
Saturday, July 16: SF - Union Square WHEN HARRY MET SALLY
Friday, July 22:San Anselmo DOUBLE INDEMNITY
Saturday, July 23: San Anselmo TRUE GRIT
Friday, July 29: San Anselmo DIRTY DANCING
Saturday, July 30: San Anselmo CASABLANCA
Friday, August 5: San Anselmo GASLAND
Saturday, August 6: San Anselmo TOY STORY 3
Saturday, August 13: SF - Dolores Park JAWS
Friday, August 19: San Anselmo CINEMA PARADISO
Saturday, August 20: San Anselmo TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
Friday, August 26: San Anselmo HAROLD AND MAUDE
Saturday, August 27: San Anselmo MARY POPPINS
Saturday, August 27: SF - Union Square ROMAN HOLIDAY
Friday, September 2: San Anselmo YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN
Saturday, September 3: San Anselmo HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 1
Sunday, September 4: San Anselmo NORTH BY NORTHWEST
Friday, September 9: Mill Valley SOME LIKE IT HOT
Saturday, September 10:SF - Washington Sq. Park DR. STRANGELOVE
Saturday, September 24: SF - Dolores Park TOP GUN
For the fill list of films, showtimes and locations, be sure to visit filmnight.org, and remember that donations are the lifeblood of this local summer tradition.