Last summer one of Thomas Grim’s wishes came true. After chipping at away at a dream for 10 years – to bring an outdoor movie series to Princeton – the co-owner of the Thomas Sweet ice cream and candy stores successfully recreated one of his most cherished childhood memories, going to the drive-in. "I wanted to give people a fun experience to see a movie outdoors under the stars like we used to when we were kids," says Grim. "Kids have no idea these days what it’s like to go to an outside movie. I think it’s bad that kids don’t know that. For adults it’s a throwback to their childhood; they can show their kids what it was like."
Thomas Sweet did this recipe right – the inaugural summer’s mix of flicks were one part nostalgia ("The Philadelphia Story," "Vertigo"), one part comedy ("Caddyshack," "Tootsie"), and one part all-American drama ("On the Waterfront," "Field of Dreams"). Throw in affordable way-better-than-the-mall concessions – Thomas Sweet ice cream, popcorn with real butter, gummy bears, and gourmet jelly beans – and a bucolic setting where Grim sets up a 21-by-12 foot screen and top-notch sound system. There are raffle giveaways of gift certificates and DVDa before each show. Just add crickets and mix. Heaven.
This year, Grim is psyching up for a repeat performance, with a few added improvements: FREE admission, thanks to sponsor Patriot Media, and two midnight shows – one scary, one funny (see schedule below).
If you are an old movie aficionado, you can take in a slew of them, also al fresco, at Mediterra’s Monday night outdoor film series, a slightly more low-key affair than the Thomas Sweet series, but just as enticing. A 10-by-10-foot screen is set up in the plaza just outside the restaurant, and films start at 8 p.m. If you’re wondering whether you can bring a pitcher of sangria to your seat, Mediterra event coordinator Donna M. Lang says: "Unfortunately, our liquor license ends with our patio, but if you time it right, you can have dinner and a little wine or sangria on the patio with a view of the movie – but no alcohol in the plaza." Refreshments are for sale and include sorbet and gelato from the Bent Spoon (very good stuff), and popcorn and Aranciatas and Limonatas (Italian soda) by Mediterra. Bring a lawn chair or blanket and bug spray.
Thomas Sweet Outdoor Cinema
Pettoranello Gardens Amphitheater, 609-924-7222, www.thomassweet.com. 9 p.m. On double feature nights, the second show is at midnight. Free.
Maltese Falcon. Not rated. Friday, June 17.
Whale Rider. Rated PG-13. Saturday, June 18.
Jaws and The Ring. Double feature rated PG. Friday, June 24.
Napoleon Dynamite. Rated PG. Saturday, June 25.
A Fish Called Wanda and The Big Lebowski. Double feature rated R. Friday, July 1.
The Natural. Rated PG. Saturday, July 2.
North by Northwest. Not rated. Friday, July 8.
E.T.. Rated PG. Saturday, July 9.
Green on Palmer Square, 609-924-7222, www.thomassweet.com.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone. In conjunction with Harry Potter book release party at JaZams Toys. Friday, July 15.
Movies in the Plaza. 29 Hulfish, Princeton, 609-252-9680. Bring blanket or chair. Free.
Mediterraneo, 1991. Monday, June 20.
The Odd Couple, 1968. Monday, June 27.
King Kong, 1933. Monday, July 11.
Shane, 1953. Monday, July 18.
Bella Martha, 2001. Monday, July 25.
The African Queen, 1951. Monday, August 1.
Some Like it Hot, 1959. Monday, August 8.
The King and I, 1956. Monday, August 15.
La Strada, 1954. Monday, August 22.
Casablanca, 1942. Monday, August 29.
Out Below :
At Thomas Sweet
Thomas Sweet Cinema Series, all shows begin at 9 p.m. at Petteranello Gardens, Community Park North, Mountain Avenue and Route 206 South. Full schedule and directions available at www.thomassweet.com/cinema.
Friday, June 17 Maltese Falcon
Saturday, June 18 Whale Rider
Friday, June 24 Double feature! Jaws at 9 p.m., The Ring at midnight
Saturday, June 25 Napoleon Dynamite
Friday, July 1 Double feature! A Fish Called Wanda at 9 p.m., The Big Lebowski at midnight
Saturday, July 2, The Natural
Friday, July 8 North by Northwest
Saturday, July 9 E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
Friday, July 15 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (special showing with jaZams Toys in conjunction with Harry Potter book release party on the Green at Palmer Square)
Mediterra Monday Cinema Series. All shows begin at 8 p.m. in the plaza outside the restaurant. Full schedule available at www.terramomo.com/newsevents, click on Mediterra.
June 20 Mediterraneo
June 27 The Odd Couple
July 11 King Kong
July 18 Shane
July 25 Bella Martha
August 1 The African Queen
August 8 Some Like It Hot
August 15 The King and I
August 22 La Strada
August 29 Casablanca