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Outdoor cinema

An outdoor cinema crowd from last summer.

When it's summer in western Montana, people want to do everything outside, even watch movies.

For the past 16 years, Missoula Outdoor Cinema has aided in this endeavor with its popular summer series.

On Saturday nights, the North Missoula Community Development Corp. sets up its analog projector and 12-by-16-foot screen at Head Start School and begins showing a movie as soon as dusk allows.

Each year, the nonprofit runs a Facebook poll, talks with its board and other Outdoor Cinema fans to gather ideas. The committee whittles it down to nine, according to organizer Rachael Caldwell.

"Our goal is to show a variety of movies so that there's a little something for everyone — from artistic indie flicks to mainstream action-adventure," Caldwell wrote in an email.

"There is usually one category with an abundance of movies we love, so we usually try to get that list down to our top three and put another poll out to our Facebook fans to choose their favorite. This year's Facebook Fan Favorite is 'Empire Records,' which was up against 'Planes, Trains, and Automobiles,' and 'Galaxy Quest,' " Caldwell wrote.

"Empire Records" starts the season this Saturday. Later this summer, you can watch an adaptation of Graham Greene's mystery novel, "The Third Man," starring Orson Welles. Or get dystopian with the Wachowskis' "V is for Vendetta," an adaption of a graphic novel by Alan Moore ("Watchmen"), with Natalie Portman as lead.

Did you prefer the version of "Jumanji" with Robin Williams instead of The Rock? The original 1995 adaptation of the puzzle game will screen this summer.

Marvel fans have spoken, and they want a very funny-yet-heartwarming comic book movie, i.e. "Guardians of the Galaxy."

Sports and outdoors are represented as well, in the form of Kevin Costner's beloved baseball film, "Field of Dreams." If your love of fly-fishing verges on the religious, go see "A River Runs Through It." The Normal Maclean adaptation was scheduled to show last year until wildfire smoke forced a cancellation.

"Depending on rain/smoke conditions, we've averaged around 2,000-2,500 people total (for the full summer of shows), and participation on any given night depends on the popularity of the movie and the weather conditions. We expect upwards of 300 people for shows like 'Guardians of the Galaxy' and 'A River Runs Through It,' " Caldwell wrote.

The event is free with a suggested donation of $5 per person or $10 for a family. Caldwell said the donations and concession sales go toward the community advocacy organization's programs, including funding for the new Lee Gordon Place affordable housing project on East Front Street; the Burns Street Kids Club after-school program, and "Community Real Meals" nights, where residents can have a free healthy meal and take a cooking workshop.

No dogs or alcohol are allowed.

Movies are screened at the Head Start playground at 1001 Worden Ave.

Here's the schedule and estimated start times:

June 30: "Empire Records," (Facebook fan favorite). PG-13. 9:30 p.m.

July 7: "The Third Man." Not rated. 9:30 p.m.

July 14: "Coco" PG. 9:30 p.m.

July 21: "Grease." PG-13. 9:20 p.m.

July 28: "Jumanji." (Original). PG. 9:20 p.m.

Aug. 4: "Guardians of the Galaxy." PG-13. 9 p.m.

Aug. 11: "Willow." PG-13. 8:50 p.m.

Aug. 18: "V is for Vendetta." R. 8:50 p.m.

Aug. 25: "Field of Dreams." PG. 8:30 p.m.

Sept. 2: No movies on Labor Day weekend.

Sept. 8: "A River Runs Through It." PG. 8 p.m.

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