Movies In The…”Park”??

A couple of weeks ago I took my kids to an outdoor movie. You know, one of those movie showings they do during the summer where you bring a blanket, sit out under the stars, munch on a picnic you’ve brought and enjoy a bottle of wine (or beer) while enjoying an older can’t-find-it-in-theaters-anymore movie.  This venue is a little different though; you get to watch these older films with actors, directors, writers and crew, some who may have worked on the film you’re watching — especially the older films. You don’t get to actually see them though, at least I hope not. You see this venue…it’s a cemetery.

Movies In The…Cemetery?
Cinespia has been showing movies in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery since the early 2000’s. With Paramount Studios behind it, the cemetery is hidden away on Santa Monica Blvd in Hollywood just west of the 101 freeway. Movies are projected onto the white-marble wall of a tomb — Rudolph Valentino’s I believe. Don’t worry, you won’t have throw a blanket over someone’s grave and use a tombstone as a backrest. The viewing area is nice and grassy and there seems to be pretty good sight-lines from everywhere.

Stewardesses selling cupcakes

I’ve been twice now. The first time was to see Beetlejuice, a VERY appropriate movie to see in a cemetery, and more recently to see Airplane with my kids.

Airport sign

Not only was the movie Airplane great, the ambiance they put together was great too! In the line out front before the gates opened they had stewardess† selling cupcakes, and they set-up an airport “this way to the gates” type of sign in the cemetery along the path from the front gate to the viewing area.

Cockpit set from the movie AirplanePerhaps the best part was that they brought in the actual cockpit set that was used in the movie! They took photos in the cockpit of anybody that was willing to stand in line and have their picture taken, then posted some on the Cinespia Facebook website and all the rest on their flickr photostream. Before and after the film, DJ’s played music, and after the film someone had a long, light-up jump rope, and it was great fun watching the slightly intoxicated try to jump-in! (Yes, I did jump a few times as well!) All in all, a great night!

How To Attend
Seeing a film is as easy as showing up…and paying a $10 donation. I highly recommend showing up early though; around 5:30-6:00. A line queues up in the grass out in front of the cemetery where you can have a little picnic — including open containers — but if you show up too late you’ll end up standing in line on Santa Monica Blvd. Once the line starts moving though, it could take a while to get in the gate, so be prepared. Once in the gate, follow the crowd, or the “ushers”, until you get to the viewing area, throw your blankets down to reserve your spot and relax until the movie starts. Oh, and they have a large number of clean, portable restrooms available too! (Check the Cinespia website for more information, including schedules.)

Can I Bring My Kids?
Like I said, I brought my kids to the showing of Airplane. A couple of things that I thought about before bringing them:

  • What movie is playing? Is it age appropriate and do my kids actually want to see it?
  • Are the kids interested in seeing a movie, in the open air…at a cemetery?
  • Am I comfortable having my kids in that environment?

By environment, I’m referring to having your kids around a thousand or more people, many of who are drinking, cussing, and…smoking a variety of different types of cigarettes. As one of the kids in our group commented, “Why are all the people over there sharing one cigarette?” Just so you know what you’re getting into.

Is It Worth It?
In my opinion… ABSOLUTELY! The movies are good. Its fun to watch with the crowd.  And there’s not much better in the summer than sitting in the open air with a beer or two watching a good movie with friends and  bunch of dead people. So get a few blankets, pack a dinner, dress warmly, and enjoy the film!! It might even make a good date!

Ethan Embry and IOh, and you might see a real live star too. I met Ethan Embry, had a nice little chat with him, and even got a photo taken together by who I think was his son. (Yes, that’s me in the photo on the right. Savor it as best you can.)

†Yes, I said stewardess. The movie Airplane was made back when that’s what flight attendants were called.  🙂

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About Fresh Start Dad
Early forties, divorced dad of two teenagers, surviving back in the single world. Here to share stories and any survival skills I pick-up a

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