By Melissa Garcia
You enjoy special privileges down here in the tropics. You wear flip-flops year round, you've never shoveled snow, and, when most of the rest of the country is in a deep freeze, you and your baby can grab a blanket and a bottle of wine and catch a movie al fresco. From antique drive-ins to quirky themed screenings to family fare in the park, South Florida's outdoor offerings are just the ticket for film fans who want a change from the multiplex.
The Fort Lauderdale Swap Shop: Gigantic flea market and swap shop by day, self-anointed "world's largest drive-in" by night. The Swap Shop drive-in complex, with a mind-bending 14 screens, has been around since the 1960s and remains one of the area's most unusual attractions. The slate of new releases and blockbusters changes weekly, so call or check the Web site for show times. Adults pay $5, children from ages five to 11 pay just $1 and children under five are free.
3291 West Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954-791-7927
Upper Eastside Garden: From classic to contemporary, foreign to independent, the Garden shows eclectic films in themed series. $7 admission buys gets you a bag of popcorn, a cold drink and use of a picnic mat or seat. Back to back features play every Thursday at 8pm and 10pm; check the Garden's Web site for current offerings.
7244 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami; 305-984-3231. Visit www.uppereastsidegarden.com to find movie schedule.
Movies on the Green at Bay Harbor Island: Every second Saturday of the month, hundreds of people gather on the green at sunset to watch foreign and independent films by starlight. The BHI Art & Culture Foundation also sponsors guest musicians and speakers in keeping with the movie theme. Bay Harbor Island residents pay only $6, non-residents pay $8. The 2007 screening season starts October 20, 2007 until the end of May.
1177 Kane Concourse at 96th St. and W. Bay Harbor Drive, Bay Harbor Islands; Call 786-355-7785 or 786-285-9230 for information.
Foreign Films at Hollywood Anniversary Park: The City of Hollywood shows foreign films on second Friday of every month. Each screening shows a film from a different country, and recent films have showcased directors from Sweden, France, China, Argentina and Israel, to name a few. The reels start rolling at sunset, and, blessed be, admission is free. The monthly screenings will move to the Hollywood Art and Cultural Center in April 2008 during the rainy season, but will continue outside once the hurricane season ends, so you may want to call ahead to see which venue is being used.
Hollywood Anniversary Park is at Hollywood Blvd and 20th Street; Hollywood Art and Cultural Center is at 1650 Harrison St., Hollywood, 954-921-3274
Maroone Moonlight Movies at Huizenga Plaza: Return to the golden age of celluloid with Classics Under the Stars, a movie series sponsored by the South Florida car dealer. Get some air and watch some golden oldies such as Gentleman Prefer Blondes, The African Queen and Invasion of the Body Snatchers, free of charge. Films start at sunset, and the next screening season begins on October 28, 2008.
Andrews Ave. and Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954-463-6574
Maroone Moonlight Movies at Weston Regionl Park: Saturday nights are for families in the City of Weston, where family-friendly flicks are shown for free at 7:30 during the cooler months. Bring blankets and chairs and enjoy animated and classic children's films out in the open. The next season begins on October 21, 2008 and lasts into late April 2009.
Weston Regional Park, 20200 Saddle Club Road; 954-389-4321 or visit www.westonfl.org for listings.
Andiamo Brick Oven Pizza: This 1960s retro joint has a projection-screen TV where diners can watch whatever's on the boob tube. In the spirit of the building's humble beginnings, you can also get your car washed and detailed while you wait. Always a popular date spot, cute couples flocks here for pizza pie under the sky and catch whatever movie is thrown into the projector, so they can get their dinner and a movie experience without having to swing the $20 for tickets. So what if they make them watch "Robin Hood: Men in Tights"? At least it gets folks out in the fresh air and cuddled up with their main squeeze.
5600 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; (305) 762-5751