The best thing about summer? Being outside. The best thing about a shitty economy? Getting stuff for free. Luckily, the next few months are crammed with outdoor movie screenings, and most of 'em are free. Grab your blanket, some snacks, and a discreet flask.
The most solid lineup of free movies is at Pioneer Courthouse Square's Flicks on the Bricks series, which begins Friday with Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade before continuing with Dirty Dancing (July 24), Jurassic Park (August 7), and Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (August 14). All movies begin at dusk, and at pioneercourthousesquare.org, you can vote for the film that'll screen on August 21 from a list of candidates like Ghostbusters and The Karate Kid.
There's also the NW Film Center's Top Down: Rooftop Films series, which shows films atop downtown's Hotel deLuxe. Top Down's films also start at dusk, but it'll cost you to get in ($5-8), and you can't bring any food or drink. Still, all screenings are preceded by live music, and you can buy beer from Bridgeport Brewing. Highlights include The Wild One (July 23), The Secret of NIMH (July 30), and Son of Frankenstein (August 20). Top Down's complete listing is at nwfilm.org.
But the big one is Portland Parks & Recreation's Movies in the Park series, with a ton of free screenings in various parks all summer long. Films begin at dark, and the complete listing is at portlandonline.com, but the highlights: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (July 23, Holly Farm Park), Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (July 30 at Argay Park, August 2 at Sellwood Park, August 29 at Laurelhurst Park), Ferris Bueller's Day Off (August 6, Brooklyn Park), Coraline (August 8, Dickinson Park), Casablanca (August 10 at Laurelhurst Park, September 1 at DeNorval Unthank Park), Iron Man (August 15 at Lents Park, August 21 at Irving Park), and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (August 27, Hazeltine Park). Almost all of Portland Parks' screenings kick off with live music at 6:30 pm, but the only performance/screening that seems unmissable is School of Rock (August 15, Sewallcrest Park), which'll be preceded by sets from the Portland School of Rock Allstars and the Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls.