2018 Movies on the Roof

Movies on the Roof is a private movie festival run by Laura Lanford and Thomas Rammer. We screen classic American cinema Tuesday evenings during summer on a rooftop in Printer's Row.

Movies on the Roof 2018, Week 8: THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY

Our final movie of this season is also the final movie of Sergio Leone’s “Man with No Name” trilogy: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

Made on the cheap in Spain with actors from many different nationalities (many of whom spoke no English), Leone used a novel technique for ‘wide-screen’ filming without expensive specialty equipment.

Unlike the decade of John Wayne-eque westerns that proceeded it, this movie subverts the idealized American cowboy into a darker and more nuanced character.  

This ‘spaghetti western’ beautifully showcases Leone’s eye for unique landscapes and unique faces, and its culminating scene inspired suspense editing for the next 50 years.

The weather forecast is unclear - you can assume we'll be on the roof unless you see otherwise here or on our facebook page. As always, we recommend a hoodie or jacket just in case.

The show will start at 7:40, though half the fun is hanging out beforehand! Please join us on the roof anytime after 5:30pm.

Movies on the Roof, Week 7: A FEW GOOD MEN

Hello Moviegoers!

This week's screening of A Few Good Men showcases a powerhouse of talent! It's based on a play written by Aaron Sorkin, ported to the screen by Sorkin with input from William Goldman, and directed by Rob Reiner. It boasts a stellar cast lineup that's rarely been equalled, and features career defining performances from Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, and Demi Moore.

The story, based loosely on a true story experienced by Aaron Sorkin sister, is about a JAG officer defending soldiers who killed a fellow marine in Guantanamo bay. The movie takes us through the fascinating (and dramatic!) detective story of how to build a defense for a case that looks unwinnable using research, manipulation, and charisma.

The weather forecast looks good. We always recommend a hoodie or jacket in case it gets chilly after dark.

The show will start at 8:20, though half the fun is hanging out beforehand! Please join us on the roof anytime after 5:30pm.

Movies on the Roof 2018, Week 6: VERTIGO

Please join us this Tuesday, August 14th, for the movie that displaced Citizen Kane as the Best Movie of All Time: Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo.

In one of the darker roles of his career, Jimmy Stewart is an acrophobic detective who becomes obsessed with the woman he's been hired to tail. When his fear of heights prevents him from following her up a tower to save her from plunging to her death, he starts descending into madness. This is just the first half of the movie! When he begins molding his next girlfriend into the vision of his previous obsession, things really start getting weird.

There are only three movies left in the 2018 season! The weather forecasts are fickle, but you can assume we'll be on the roof unless you see otherwise here or on our facebook page. As always, we recommend a hoodie or jacket just in case.

The show will start at 8:20, though half the fun is hanging out beforehand! Please join us on the roof anytime after 5:30pm.

We're thinking MotC this evening, but never fear!

Weather predictions are being quite coquettish today, with the current storm blowing through anytime between 4pm and 9pm.  

Right now we're leaning towards another MotC in our spacious yet dry condo downstairs, making sure the popcorn, eclectic beer mix, and custom sodas come in with us!

We'll post again if the storm blows through on the early end and clears up for the show.

MotR 2018, Week 5: INHERIT THE WIND

Though ostensibly about the Scopes Monkey Trials, "Inherit the Wind" was understood in its day to be a political commentary of the 1950s era anti-intellectualism. Adapted from an extremely popular (and also politically charged) play of the same name, director Stanley Kramer pointedly chose two 'blacklisted' screenwriters for the project.

The opportunity to play a character based on Clarence Darrow, one of the ACLU's greatest orators, showcases Spencer Tracy's talent splendidly, and Gene Kelly (who doesn't dance at all in this movie) takes an unexpected role as a judgmental, brilliant reporter modeled after the real life H. L. Mencken. The acting is superb, the political commentary cutting, and the heated courtroom suspense palpable.

Nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay, this is a movie to have in your viewing repertoire!


Hello Moviegoers!

Here at Movies on the Roof, we strive to provide both cinematic education and entertainment. This week, nestled in with the Top Movies on All Time, is a delightful gem of a movie that doesn't get nearly as much credit it deserves. It's one of our favorite comedies, and a perfect move to watch with a happy crowd.

Con artist Lawrence Jamieson (Michael Caine) is a longtime resident of a luxurious coastal resort, where he enjoys the fruits of his deceptions -- that is, until a competitor, Freddy Benson (Steve Martin), shows up. When the new guy's lowbrow tactics impinge on his own work, Jamieson resolves to get rid of him. Confident of his own duplicitous talents, Jamieson challenges Benson to a winner-takes-all competition: whoever swindles their latest mark first can stay, while the other must leave town.

The weather has been vacillating between beautiful and a touch thunderstorm-y, but we're assuming the best and will keep an eye on the weather. If it doesn't cooperate, Movies on the Roof always has the option of transitioning to Movies on the Couch - keep an eye on the website to stay informed!

Movies on the Roof 2018, Week 3: CITIZEN KANE

Hello Moviegoers!

After nine seasons, Movies on the Roof is finally presenting: CITIZEN KANE.

When a reporter is assigned to decipher newspaper magnate Charles Foster Kane's (Orson Welles) dying words, his investigation gradually reveals the fascinating portrait of a complex man who rose from obscurity to staggering heights. Though Kane's friend and colleague Jedediah Leland (Joseph Cotten), and his mistress, Susan Alexander (Dorothy Comingore), shed fragments of light on Kane's life, the reporter fears he may never penetrate the mystery of the elusive man’s final word, "Rosebud."

Tuesday is your chance to see it on the big screen, and find out what all of the fuss is about!   Co-written, produced, directed, and starring the 24-year old Orson Welles, Citizen Kane is a vibrant, youthful, and still relevant film about failure, regret, and the cruelty of time. Technically unrivaled, and endlessly entertaining, this legendary film has been rightly called a shallow masterpiece, a hatchet job, and the greatest film ever made.

The weather for tomorrow is looking clear and beautiful, though it might get a touch chilly after sundown. Consider bringing a hoodie or blanket!

Movies on the Roof 2018, Week 2: AFTER THE THIN MAN

Hello Moviegoers!

Please join us this coming Tuesday for an utterly charming American classic, the 1936 lighthearted murder mystery After the Thin Man.

We're complete besotted with the recurring characters Nick & Nora Charles, the brilliant, fun-loving, seldom sober detective couple from The Thin Man, which we screened during our 2015 season. The glorious Myrna Loy returns to our screen as Nora Charles, while William Powell (Nick Charles) joins MotR  for a third appearance.

If ever there was a silver screen couple we aspire to be, the Charleses are undeniably it!

The weather for Tuesday is looking clear and beautiful, though it might get a touch chilly after sundown. Consider bringing a hoodie or blanket!

Movies on the Roof 2018, Week 1: DIRTY HARRY

Hello Moviegoers!

The 2018 Movies on the Roof season kicks off TOMORROW with Don Siegel's 1971 classic, Dirty Harry!

Dirty Harry sets the template for every rouge cop movie we've seen for the past 45 years. A deranged killer called Scorpio (inspired by the real-life Zodiac Killer who had murdered five people in and around San Francisco in the late 1960s) is murdering and kidnapping residents apparently at random. With casualties mounting up, and the city's mayor more interested in paying Scorpio off with ransom money than putting a stop to his murderous exploits, "Dirty" Harry Callahan ultimately concludes that bullets are the best solution to the problem

The weather for tomorrow is looking clear, warm, and beautiful.  Perfect for the season kickoff!

See you on The Roof!

The 2018 Movies On The Roof Schedule!

Hello Friends and Neighbors!  We are thrilled to announce the 2018 Movies on the Roof Season!!

This season features movies spanning 70 years of American cinema, and we invite you to judge for yourself if Clint Eastwood is better as an outlaw or a cop, or if you could keep up with Nick and Nora, or how you'd fare as a con artist!

This year offers a special challenge, and we welcome your vote: Is Citizen Kane or Vertigo the greatest movie of all time?!

Without further ado:

  • July 10  -  Dirty Harry (1971)
  • July 17  -  After the Thin Man (1936)
  • July 24  -  Citizen Kane (1941)
  • July 31  -  Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)
  • August 7  -  Inherit the Wind (1960)
  • August 14  -  Vertigo (1958)
  • August 21  -  A Few Good Men (1992)
  • August 28  -  The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly (1966)

Movies on the Roof is a private movie festival run by Laura Lanford and Thomas Rammer.   

We screen classic American cinema Tuesday evenings during the summer on a rooftop in Printer's Row.  After sunset we start our pre-show and presentation, giving our audience the mood and cultural context for the feature presentation.

Good stuff we're keeping from past years:

  • Curated pre-show with newsreels, shorts, cartoons and/or commercials from the year the movie debuted.
  • The offer to join us anytime after 5:30pm to enjoy the rooftop deck and a playlist of the top hits of the appropriate year.
  • Ice chest and grill available for those who would like to bring grillables or drinkables.
  • A chance to appreciate (and donate, if you feel like it) to our themed charity for each movie.

Movies on the Roof is absolutely free to attend. This is a labor of love: nothing is required beyond your invite and a willingness to have a good time!

Hope to see you soon,

Ramford House

WEEK 7: Advise and Consent

“Advise and Consent” is based on a wildly popular novel of the same name. The movie expertly pulls back the layers of drama arising from what should be a mundane political appointment. 

The director, Otto Preminger, is a Hollywood outsider and so has no qualms about writing a stinging indictment of the nasty backstabbing in Washington DC.

Though its perspective on political mechanisms may not be as shocking today, given our current atmosphere, it was an unusually cynical and biting commentary when released.

Week 6: State of the Union

With a plot that starts much like “All the King’s Men”, Frank Capra's “State of the Union” stars Spencer Tracy as a socially popular businessman who is courted by the Republican political machine as a candidate.  As a political candidate, his advisers attempt to balance his relationships with his savvy, results-oriented mistress (Angela Lansbury) and his wide-eyed, all-American young wife (played by his real-life mistress Katharine Hepburn).

A light, refreshing palette cleanser after the rich, dark scheming of “The Lion in Winter” and the depression rise and fall of a populist in “All the King’s Men”,  “State of the Union” is an optimistic take on a man’s ability to find his integrity in the face of the siren call of political power.

Sunset is at 7:50 PM, and the weather looks promising.

Week 5: The Lion in Winter

With an truly awe-inspiring cast, The Lion in Winter is a dramatic look into the royal politics that underlay in the now familiar characters of King Richard the Lionhearted and Prince John.  

Katharine Hepburn is exquisite as the acerbic, razor-sharp Eleanor of Aquitaine, the first wife of King Henry II. Once a year, for Christmas, Henry brings her out of solitary confinement to celebrate with their three contentious sons.

This is one of Tom’s absolute favorite films, and one that’s been on the MotR short list for years.  We’re delighted that its theme of political machinations fits so smoothly into this season.

Week 4: All the King's Men

If Robin Hood was the most obvious of our political movies this year, All the King’s Men may be the most unsettling: a populist politician with the good intentions of an idealist is transformed by the realities of power and politics.

All the King’s Men has a highly decorated history: the novel it’s based on, by the same name, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1947. The movie was nominated for seven Academy Awards, winning three of them: Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role, and Best Actress in a Supporting Role.  In addition, it also won five Golden Globes, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Leading), and Best Actress (Supporting). 

For those who’ve wondered if power would corrupt us, watching ambition supersede belief for both our main characters may serve as a warning. In an environment steeped in power struggles, money, and secrets, both perspective and morality can become skewed.  

All the King’s Men is a complex and rich movie, weaving interactions of multiple characters into a narrative that is earnest, gritty, and real. There are redemptions and damnations, love and loss, arrogance and despondency.  

You want political noir?  We got political noir.

Hope to see you there!

Week 3: Robin Hood

Although ostensibly a children’s cartoon, Robin Hood’s ‘steal from the corrupt rich and give to the oppressed poor’ ideology might be the most politically pointed of our movies this season.  

The traditional story of Robin Hood references a real political battle between the sons of King Henry II.  While King Richard was gone to the Crusades, his younger brother Prince John was ruling in this absence.  In fact, you can join us on August 8th for a more dramatic view of Henry and his sons when we screen The Lion in Winter.

It’s only the second of Disney’s movies with no human characters -- the first was Bambi -- and you may notice some familiar songs (notably, the fight songs from USC and Wisconsin, along with a slower version of this)

The weather tomorrow looks perfect; and the show will start after sunset at 8:16PM.  We look forward to seeing you!


We look forward to seeing you tomorrow night, Tuesday, July 18, for Sidney Lumet's Cold War classic: Fail Safe.

For a movie that features an entire act of two people on the telephone, this ascetic, taut thriller is both fascinating and terrifying.  In the context of the Cold War, the movie centers around an error that inadvertently kicks off the countdown to Mutually Assured Destruction between the US and Russia.

Ignore the nonsensical tagline (“Fail Safe Will Have You Sitting on the Brink of Eternity!”) — this is smart, elegant, all-too-close-to-home thriller about just how quickly international politics can go terribly wrong.

Its popularity suffered from the release of Stanley Kubrick’s “Dr. Strangelove” in the same year, in which nuclear war is played for laughs.  The gravity of “Fail Safe” failed to resonate with an audience looking to dismiss the fears of the previous generation with flippant pomposity.

The weather looks perfect!  Sunset is at 8:22 PM

Thanks for a fanatastic premier!

Thank you so much to everyone who made it out to The Great Dictator on Tuesday! It was a wonderful way to kick off our season. Be sure to come early next week for Fail Safe - probably the most exciting, suspenseful, and thrilling film of our season. You DON'T want to miss it!!


Hey Moviegoers,

The Condo Board vote was tonight and we have great news:  MotR will continue!  

However, because of upcoming improvements (read: remodeling) of our roof, the 2017 season schedule will likely be shifted.  We will let you know via email, Facebook, and the website when we lock in dates for the movies, but for now they should be considered To Be Determined.  As soon as we can confirm the dates, we will let you know.

We’d also like to take the opportunity to express our love and gratitude to the many fellow residents who voiced their enthusiastic support for Movies on the Roof.  Without your help, we could not continue.  We are thrilled that our building has chosen to continue welcoming Movies on the Roof, and we’re beyond excited for the upcoming renovation.

See you (soon) on the Roof!

Laura & Tom

MotR 2018