Archive for the ‘Film/Movies’ Category

One of my favorite cheap dates this time of year is to take a blanket and some treats to one of the many outdoor movie screenings that take place all over Philly all through the summer months.  I said it once, and I’ll say it again: There is something undeniably romantic about cuddling up after the sun goes down, sharing some candy and maybe a clandestine bottle of wine or beer, and taking in an outdoor movie on a hot summer night.
And from the looks of this handy-dandy list I’ve prepared − complete with titles and times! – this is a date you can enjoy almost any given night of the summer! Choose from Blockbusters at Penn’s Landing, classic favorites at Schuylkill Banks and Liberty Lands Park, Indie hits at the Piazza, films with local ties at Headhouse Square and more!  There is literally something happening almost every single night, and they are all FREE to attend.
Just BYO blankets and bottles and enjoy the show − and your date!
And if that’s not enough celluloid for you, Bistro La Minette, a quaint french bistro in Queen Village, screens French films every Monday, Thursday, and Friday in its back patio for its “Dinner and a Movie Al Fresco” series.  The shows start at 8:30pm (Fridays at 9:30pm) and reservations are recommended, but you can keep it a cheap date by sharing a pichet of wine or having desert and coffee instead of a full dinner.  There’s a different movie each week. Click here for the roster.

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There is something undeniably romantic about curling up on a blanket, sharing some candy, and maybe a brown-bagged bottle of cold beer, and taking in an outdoor movie on a hot summer night.  Every Wednesday through September 1st, the Headhouse District Indie Film Series screens an independent film in Headhouse Square (2nd street between Pine and Lombard).  All films in the series have a connection to Philly (whether the film was shot in the area or the filmmakers are natives) and the directors are usually on hand to discuss their films or answer questions after the show.  If you don’t want to take a chance on an unknown indie flick, Thursday evenings through August 26, the River Stage at Penn’s Landing (Columbus Boulevard at Chestnut) also hosts a series of “Screenings Under the Stars” featuring popular films, such as Star Trek and, this Thursday July 15th, the Secret Lives of Bees.  Importantly, however, both of these screenings are located within walking distance of the Sweettooth Candy Storeon 4th and Bainbridge, a delightful old-fashioned bulk candy store (reviewed recently by uwishunu), where we had fun assembling a grab bag of treats before the film.

How cheap we talkin’: Per person, $3.50 for candy at Sweettooth. Optional $4.50 for falafel at Maoz and/or $2 beer or beverage.

Why this will impress your date: Because you can bond over your shared love of snowcaps and other obscure confectionaries.

Score extra points: By bringing a couple of cold brews, cleverly disguised, ofcourse, in brown paper bags.

The inside game: If you forget to bring a blanket, Headhouse has thick pillars along both sides to lean up against, which may offer a more comfortable position than indian style on cement.

Next date: Every Wednesday at Headhouse Square through September 1st. Every Thursday (except July 29th) at Penn’s Landing (Through August 26th, 2010).


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Corner stools - best seats in the house

Every Wednesday, the Ritz theaters in Old City reduce rates on all shows to an amazingly affordable $6. The Ritz are good “date-movie” theaters because there is always something interesting/stimulating/artsy/educational/foreign/award-winning showing (i.e. you can generally avoid the cheesy romcoms and lame studio blockbusters which can be date-movie disasters, trust me).

There are 3 Ritz theatres all within walking distance of one another, but the Ritz Five at 214 Walnut Street is the closest to Zahav, a “modern Israeli” restaurant with a comfortable atmosphere, an elegant bar, and an outstanding happy hour from 5-7pm.  Be warned, however; the Lemonnanas at Zahav are so delicious, you may end up ditching the movie and ordering another round instead.

How cheap we talkin’: Admittedly, this date cuts it close, but $15 per person should get you 2 theatre tickets, 2 Lemonnana cocktails, and one order of half-price hummus to share, including tax and tip.  But if your bartender was as nice as ours, you should pony up the extra buck or two and tip handsomely.  I will not stand accused of being a Rachel Ray.

Why this will impress your date: The Ritz Five has history (it has been in operation over 30 years and was one of the first “arthouse” theaters in Philadelaphia), and Zahav has class (afterall, it was reviewed in Gourmet magazine).

The Inside Game: Demonstrate you possess the twin turn-ons of planning and foresight by picking up movie tickets on your way to Zahav. That way you won’t have to wait in line later, and you’re guaranteed a seat.

Score Extra Points: By actually knowing how to find Zahav.

Next Date: Any Wednesday!


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The Trocadero Theatre, located at 1003 Arch street in Chinatown, is probably best known as a live concert venue, but on Monday nights, the balcony plays host to a lively movie night featuring classic B movies or popular flicks such as Zombieland, Purple Rain, Goonies, and – the film we saw – Black Dynamite, a Blaxploitation spoof released in 2008. Without the usual distraction of a band, erratic stage lighting, and a packed house, I was able to appreciate what a beautiful theatre the Troc really is. The ornate gold proscenium arch framing the screen made it almost ironic that we were there to see such a low-brow film. But in a good way.

How cheap we talkin’: $3 admission comes with a coupon for $3 toward a drink. And if you arrive before 7pm (the show generally starts arounds 8pm), you also get a FREE beer and a bag of popcorn. And a raffle ticket.

Why this will impress your date: No armrests in between the seats means you can get your full cuddle on.

The Inside Game: As it gets close to show time, start staking out a place by the balcony doors so you can get in first and snag a good seat.

Score Extra Points: by throwing out this little known fact – the Trocadero is the only 19th century Victorian theater still in operation in the United States. It is listed on the U.S. Register of Historic Places.

Next date: (Almost) every Monday. Check the Troc’s calendar for listings.


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The Secret Cinema presents screenings of unique and rare original 16mm films, (usually) for free, at multiple venues throughout the city, throughout the year.  Their sci-fi series, where we went, is hosted by the Chemical Heritage Foundation museum at 315 Chestnut Street (between 3rd and 4th) in Old City.  Popcorn and sodas are provided, and after the film, a local university professor leads a discussion about the film and its depictions of science.

How cheap we talkin’: Free!

Why this will impress your date: The films are projected from original celluloid!

Score extra points: The movie doesn’t start until 6:30pm, so bring your date a bit early and take in the museum’s well-executed exhibits highlighting everyday applications of chemistry.

The inside game: Bring a sweater. It got a little chilly in there.

Next date: Wednesday, November 10th. Check the Secret Society website for more details.


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