1. Watching movies outside
A few years ago I saw Troy sitting under the stars in a comfortable lawn chair, wearing baggy shorts and flip-flops and nursing a beer. The movie couldn’t start until the sky was completely dark, which meant that it was almost 10 p.m. before the local kids stopped goofing around under the screen and the first reel came up. I was in heaven. All movies are a bit more fabulous when viewed outside, be it at a drive-in, town square, or with the screen set up on the back porch. Suggested viewing: Green Lantern (June 17) and Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow (Aug. 10). (Note: All suggestions are random and hopefully do not compete with my new film, Larry Crowne, out July 1.)
2. Four movies in one day!
Years ago on a miserably rainy day in Manhattan, my wife, Rita, and I planned out a perfect quartet of films to take in, all playing at theaters within walking distance. We started at 10:30 a.m. with Hello Again and ended 12 hours later with The Princess Bride. This included lunch, Less Than Zero, a snack, Baby Boom, and dinner. If you have a day to call your own and/or the weather is lousy, take in a fantastic four of your own. Suggested viewing if it rains on, say, July 22, and these films are still in theaters: Cave of Forgotten Dreams (out now), Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (July 15), Super 8 (June 10), and Captain America: The First Avenger (July 22).
3. Books, books, books
I still carry a bag of books around all summer, as I am not enamored with the tactile experience of reading books on Kindles or iPads. (Magazines, scripts, and newspapers, sure, but my policy on books is: Buy, Read, Keep.) Waiting for a plane? Book it. Kids frolicking safely in the surf? Check on them as you turn the page. Fried clams taking forever to hit the table? Finish a chapter. If you haven’t read Tina Fey’s Bossypants, you will, and whatever you are drinking will come out of your nose due to laughter. I have Stephen King’s Dark Tower looming on the horizon, as well as Achilles in Vietnam by Jonathan Shay, The Cairo Trilogy by Naguib Mahfouz, and Five Flights Up by Toni Schlesinger. That guy under the clock, reading some book? That’s me, and it should be you, too.
4. Very little TV
Sorry, but the weather is nice and some friends are coming over. Maybe a ball game on occasion, but Mad Men is still a long way away, so I’ll probably leave the TV off. Come Labor Day, the remote batteries will be dead.
5. That music you hear playing too loud from my car…
(the windows are down and it is summer, you know?) will be the Dandy Warhols’ Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia, Eilen Jewell’s Heartache Boulevard, and the Stax Instrumentals by Booker T. & the MG’s. All either new music to me or blood-stirring classics, on shuffle mode…