It’s a fixture of summer in the metro Denver area—Film on the Rocks. The Denver Film Society shows popular movies on the stage at the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheater at sundown one weeknight a week, all summer long. You can bring a picnic supper and meet your friends after work (bringing something to sit on and foul weather gear, just in case) to see one of those movies you know by heart. While we all eat and wait for the sun to go down, a local band gives a brief concert. It’s incredible to see them approach this world-renowned stage, on which the most famous acts of the last 50 years have played.
As the sun goes down, the lights of the city come up. It’s not at all unusual to see lightning dance across the city. When it’s dark, the movie starts. I’ve seen all kinds of things at Film on the Rocks, over the years: “From Here to Eternity,” “The Wizard of Oz” simulcast with Pink Floyd’s “The Wall,” “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert,” “The Lost Boys,” “Office Space” (replete with a reenactment of the famous printer beating onstage, and again in the parking lot afterward), “Iron Man,” and more. If it’s the sort of thing that people know and love, they’ll yell out the lines together as if they were at an extra-large reenactment of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
I only make it to about one film a year, but it’s nice— for a little more than the cost of a first-run film, you can enjoy a movie you know and love (or have always wanted to see), bring the snacks that make you happy, and have a memorable summer evening with friends. The only downside, beyond the “rain or shine” nature of the shows, is the trek to and from the car (truly not for the faint of lungs or people who haven’t acclimated to the altitude of my hometown), and the line to exit the park afterward. It makes for a short night’s sleep, and isn’t great if you have early meetings, but it’s very much worth it.
Honestly, Film on the Rocks has gotten more corporate over the years, with party buses and corporate sponsorship, but I think it’s well worth it. I know that the Denver Film Society has struggled over the years, and Film on the Rocks was very much at risk.Ticket prices have more than doubled over the years, but my position is that, as long as they allow picnic suppers, it’s still a more than affordable way to make great memories every summer.