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  • Eli Nadler

‘Iconic’ Movies Only

The last few days of Summer 2022 are coming to a close and the nostalgia that's been brewing settles in.

A trip to the Rooftop Cinema Club marks one of those evenings for me. ‘The self-proclaimed ‘Ultimate Open-Air Film Experience,’ located in Midtown, sets itself apart from other theaters by way of its curated selection. It’s a simple concept that originates from the 1950s drive-ins, where the fresh air and summer night ambiance enhances the movie experience. Further setting themselves apart, the Rooftop Cinema Club doesn’t follow the traditional line-up of seasonal releases, instead opting for timeless New York rom coms from the 90s to early 2000s. Many are rom-coms and, to keep it close to home, set in New York. Playing a good balance of cult classics and the occasional new release, The Rooftop Cinema Club offers a prime opportunity to revisit movies that remain timeless.

Their selection of self-proclaimed ‘Iconic movies’ acts as their North Star, which puts them in the perfect position to capture the attention of TikTok and foster an audience of millennials and Gen Z, myself included. Eager to re-watch classics on the big screen, I headed to the Rooftop Cinema Club to see 13 Going on 30, a 2004 rom-com starring Jennifer Garner. The last time I saw 13 Going on 30, I must have been in middle school. While I was familiar with the film, it wasn’t in recent memory. This made the movie going experience that much more exciting–– and on the big screen no less!

What gives a film weight and meaning is how it affects an audience emotionally. The movies we grow up with hold emotion for us because of how we remember feeling at the time of watching (and rewatching) when we were young and in ‘simpler’ times. Are these throwbacks all great films? Probably not. They surprise us as adults, when we can now identify problematic Hollywood cliches and attitudes. This in itself is why re-watching a film is so compelling. Realizing what has changed since we first saw the film and identifying what would be justifiably different today. But nostalgia, for better or worse, sometimes puts us in the mindset to unconditionally love something that would be disturbing to watch as a brand new release in 2022.

Being a part of an audience, on a relaxed patio furniture with a distinct backyard vibe - you feel a stronger audience connection to those around you than you do when in a pitch black theater. A full dinner menu, movie-watching snacks and a summer sunset pair extremely well with a throwback. It’s almost like a kickback, and TikTok’s made around the experience at the theater definitely picked up on the good vibes.

Now that you know which theater to head to for something familiar that you know you’ll enjoy, you’re ready to indulge in the experience of the Rooftop Cinema Club. I hope you can catch at least one more flick before our rooftops are covered in snow and our movie nights become an individual and indoor affair.


Art by Seb Torrens


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