Sit back, relax and watch a free movie every other weekend – courtesy of the Moab to Monument Valley Film Commission and the Moab City Recreation Department.
The two entities recently teamed up to offer “Movie Nights in Moab” for the community to enjoy at no charge.
The series continues this week with a screening of “Napoleon Dynamite” on Friday, June 23, at 8:30 p.m. at Swanny City Park, 400 N. 100 West.
The Sundance Film Festival favorite turned runaway cult hit tells the tale of a high school misfit in Preston, Idaho, who embarks on a campaign to help a newfound friend become student body president.
“It’s just a goofy movie about this unusual guy and his life, and how he interacts with his family and friends, and tries to fit in,” Moab City Parks, Recreation and Trails Director Tif Miller said. “It’s really lighthearted and makes people forget about what’s going on in their lives.”
On Saturday, July 1, the series continues at 8:30 p.m. with “The Sandlot,” a coming-of-age movie about childhood friendships and baseball that was filmed in and around Salt Lake City.
In a nutshell, a group of young friends get together to play baseball at the back of a sandlot, but when the ball is sent flying over a fence, they set off on a recovery effort to get it back. To do so, they must contend with a neighbor’s dog, known as “The Beast.”
“In their minds, the dog is much bigger than it is in reality,” Miller said.
Unlike other movies in the series, “The Sandlot” will be screening at the Center Street Ballfields, which are located across the street from the Grand County Public Library and the Moab City Center. The time and venue were changed to coincide with the conclusion of the city recreation department’s youth baseball and softball season.
“We figured that it would be a good tie-in with the end of the season,” Miller said.
Movie nights were first introduced to Moab last Halloween weekend, shortly after the Moab City Recreation Department secured its own movie screen. The summer series kicked off on May 19, and according to Miller, the screenings have been well received.
“People seem to enjoy the opportunity to be with their families out in our parks to (watch) the movies,” he said.
Moab to Monument Valley Film Commission Director Bega Metzner agreed.
“We have gotten incredibly positive feedback from everyone who has attended, from ‘It’s so great!’ to ‘(it’s) so fun … thank you for doing this for the community,’” she said.
Metzner said that the overall mission of the movies in the park is to offer family fun in the city’s outdoor areas.
“To be able to sit back and watch a midsummer night’s show, (it) doesn’t get any better than this,” she said.
Complimentary popcorn is provided, but moviegoers are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs or blankets.
New titles will be showcased through October, and most screenings are appropriate for all ages. The recreation department and film commission plan to hold indoor screenings, as well.
Outdoor series continues with “Napoleon Dynamite” on June 23 at Swanny City Park
What: Outdoor movie nights in Moab
When: Friday, June 23, and Saturday, July 1, at 8:30 p.m. New titles will be showcased through October
Where: Varies; most screenings will be held at Swanny City Park, 400 N. 100 West. “The Sandlot” will be shown at the Center Street Ballfields.
To be able to sit back and watch a midsummer night’s show, (it) doesn’t get any better than this.