‘Dirty Dancing’ screens tonight as summer cinema series continues at courthouse
From the coming-of-age story “Dirty Dancing” to the ultimate cliffhanger, “Thelma & Louise,” cinematic adventures are again gracing the screen this summer at the Sunken Gardens.
UCSB Arts & Lectures, which presented its summer movies last year at the West Wind Drive-in in Goleta, has returned to the Santa Barbara County Courthouse for its free movie series, “Hot Fun in the Summertime.”
The series takes place at 8:30 p.m. Fridays, and crowds are bringing their blankets, chairs and picnic baskets to the courthouse.
“It’s a cool landmark,” said Meghan Bush, deputy director of UCSB Arts & Lectures. “It almost doesn’t matter what the movie is. People love coming out with a picnic basket and their friends.”
Ms. Bush told the News-Press that this summer’s series is inspired by summertime, friendship, comedy and adventures, with an emphasis on diversity in casts.
The series opened last Friday to a large audience watching “American Graffiti.”
Tonight, it’s “Dirty Dancing.”
“For me, it’s 100% the music,” Ms. Bush told the News-Press about the movie. “The minute the music comes on, you want to start dancing.”
The 1987 film’s soundtrack is famous for its song “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life,” a duet featuring Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes. It’s performed while Baby Houseman (Jennifer Grey) and her instructor Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze) dance on stage at a Catskills, N.Y., resort.
Directed by Emile Ardolino and rated PG-13, the coming-of-age movie is set in the summer of 1963.
On July 22, buckle up for the ride of your life with “Thelma & Louise.”
The movie gives a whole new meaning to cinematic car chases as housewife Thelma (Geena Davis) and her friend Louise (Susan Sarandon), an independent waitress, flee from the police. That’s after Louise shoots and kills a man who assaults Thelma at a bar.
Ridley Scott directed this R-rated, 1991 movie, which also features Brad Pitt as a young thief and Harvey Keitel as Detective Slocumb, who’s trying to get Thelma and Louise to surrender.
Ms. Bush said she likes the movie for its themes about sisterhood and friendship.
“It’s all about two women a) striking out on their own and b) looking out for one another,” Ms. Bush said.
On July 29, fans will watch a cult classic, “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.”
Drag queen Anthony (Hugo Weaving) takes his act on the road, and fellow performers Adam (Guy Pearce) and Bernadette (Terence Stamp) go with him in their bus named Priscilla. They travel across the Australian desert to perform for crowds who love them and skeptical locals. This R-rated, 1994 movie is directed by Stephan Elliott.
On Aug. 12, it’s back to the 1960s — the summer of 1965, to be exact, on an island off the New England coast — for “Moonrise Kingdom.”
Directed by Wes Anderson, the 2012 movie is about two 12-year-olds (Jared Gilman as Sam and Kara Hayward as Suzy), who fall in love, make a secret pact and run away together into the wilderness. As authorities try to find them, a violent storm is brewing.
“I’m a huge Wes Anderson fan,” Ms. Bush said, praising the director for his visual tableau. “Every scene is a feast for the eyes.
“There are complex characters and beautiful cinematography,” she said. “We were looking at summertime. What’s better than a movie about a Boy Scout troop, even if the Boy Scout camp is not where they spend the bulk of their time?”
The cast features Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray and Frances McDormand. The movie is rated PG-13.
On Aug. 19, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Karen Gillan, Jack Black and Kevin Hart star in “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.”
They play the video game avatars for four teenagers trapped inside a video game: the jungle world of Jumanji. To get out of the game, they have to complete a scary adventure, and they only get so many lives.
“It’s a buddy adventure,” Ms. Bush said. “We take four unlikely friends. They learn to work together and rely on each other. There’s a little intrigue at the end when it’s not quite over.
“It’s very funny, very cheeky,” Ms. Bush said.
On Aug. 26, the courthouse crowd will experience the acting, singing and dancing of “In the Heights.”
Jon M. Chu directed this 2021 adaptation of the Broadway musical about Usnavi (Anthony Ramos), a bodega owner who yearns to return to his native Dominican Republic. In the meantime, he spends his time in a small neighborhood in Washington Heights pining after Vanessa (Melissa Barrera), who works at the beauty salon. He’s also looking after Abuela Claudia (Olga Merediz), the next-door Cuban woman who raised him.
One day, Usnavi’s childhood friend Nina Rosario (Leslie Grace) comes back from college with a secret.
The cast also includes Jimmy Smits, who plays Kevin Rosario.
The musical was written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who plays Piraguero in the film, and the screenplay adaptation is by Quiara Alegria Hudes.
The movie, rated PG-13, is set in the summertime in Queens.
“Lin-Manuel Miranda’s writing is so clever,” Ms. Bush said. “He makes a good story and ties it up with a nice bow.”