MotR

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 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.
  • FRESH FREE POPCORN!

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!

Week 2: FAIL SAFE

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!!

VICTORY!

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!

Cheers,
Laura & Tom

Email announcement

The mailing list announcement went out this morning (6/25, ~9:40am).  

We're trying out MailChimp for the first time this year. If you've previously been on the mailing list but didn't receive the announcement, please let us know!  If it ended up in your junk or spam folder you can add 'admin@moviesontheroof.com' to identify future emails.

We hope to see you this summer!

Welcome (hopefully!) to the MotR 2017 Season!

Hello Moviegoers,

Welcome (hopefully) to the eighth year of Ramford House's Movies on the Roof! 

This year’s season is contingent on a vote by our condo board on July 5th.  We hope it will be in our favor, but please keep an eye on this website and Facebook page in case we’re forced to find another venue or (!) cancel this season.

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.

This year's movies will explore the themes of politics, love, and leadership. Here is the summer's scheduled line-up for 2017!

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.
  • FRESH FREE POPCORN!

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

Out with a Bang!

What an absolutely wonderful final night!

We are so lucky, with you as our amazing group of friends.

THANK YOU for coming, participating, drinking, dancing and generally being amazing people. For bringing your friends, contributing to our charities, and making new friends!

LOVE LOVE LOVE.

Until next year!

Week 7 Update

The weather is teasing today, predicting scattered storms into the early evening.

We have every intention of celebrating our Season 7 finale on the roof tonight, if at all possible!  We may move the pre-party to our indoor location (Unit 508) then move upstairs when the rain passes. 
 
If it doesn't pass, the Ramford 1 screen is fired up and available if the screening must be inside. 

Either way, consider the movie tonight to be a Mission From God - come rain or come shine!

Week 7: THE BLUES BROTHERS

Tomorrow night is the final screening of our 2016 season, and we're going out with a bang!  After years of impassioned requests from MotR regulars, The Blues Brothers will finally be on our big screen!

On the superslim chance that you don't know every line by heart, this is the quintessential Chicago movie. Opening at Joliet prison, this romping musical is chock full of rock and roll cameos, fantastic music, and plenty of in-jokes to share with the rest of the roof!
 

To get you pumped, please enjoy this Lego version of the chase through Dixie Square Mall.

Week 6: SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS

We always like to include at least one 'hidden gem' classic, and "Sullivan's Travels" has been a contender for several years now.  Number 61 on the American Film Institutes "100 Years" Best Movies, this film was a source of inspiration for many contemporary directors, including the Coen Brothers and Robert Zemeckis.

The title was informed by Jonathan Swift's classic sorry "Gulliver's Travels", and the narrative takes a similarly wry look at a man's journey of self-discovery.

Writer and director Preston Sturges, a native Chicagoan, made seven movies in four years (!), including "Sullivan's Travels". At one point he was the third highest paid man in America for his work in Hollywood and enjoyed significant creative control over his movies.  However, ongoing disagreements with studio executives -- including the inclusion of Veronica Lake in Sullivan's Travels -- eventually undermined his career.

Week 5: GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER

"Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" is the most well-known and positive portrayal of interracial relationships at a time when many states (mostly Southern) still had "anti-miscegenation" laws on the books.  With an amazing cast, wickedly satisfying interactions, and gleeful social commentary, this dramatic comedy is a quintessential classic.

Though in this film the prejudice is race-based, the discussion of the generational transition away from bigotry is relevant to other biases.  Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy (in his final role) play liberal parents who have to come to terms with the uncomfortable hypocrisy of parents who succeed in raising a child with the values they taught but hadn't internalized.  Hepburn's real-life niece, Katharine Houghton, plays her daughter, alongside Sidney Portier as her too-perfect-to-have-any-problem-with-unless-you're-a-bigot fiance.

The film was nominated for an impressive 10 Academy Awards, winning in Best Leading Actress (Katharine Hepburn) and Best Screenplay Written Directory for the Screen (William Rose)
 

Week 4: THE GENERAL

The 1926 silent film "The General" is both the earliest film MotR has shown and one of the greatest silent comedies.  Based on a real incident from the Civil War, the railroad agreed to let Mr. Keaton use the locomotive from the original incident...until they found out the movie would be a comedy. The real incident -- in which Union soldiers sabotaged Confederate rails -- was not considered comedic material by the depot in Tennessee where the locomotive was kept.

Though not a critical or box-office success when released, it is now #18 on the The American Film Institutes "100 Years...100 Movies" greatest films list.

MotR Fun fact: Keaton's "The General" won out over Chaplin's "The Great Dictator" to avoid hitting too close to home this election year.
 

MotR 2018