So, the summer movie season has been a dud. With the steady diet of warmed-over remakes Hollywood's been serving, it's no wonder the public's lost its appetite. That's why we're so excited for tonight's kickoff of the Chicago Outdoor Film Festival, featuring honest-to-goodness screen gems with--gasp!--the original stars. But if you need a way to punch up your picnic, recast the popcorn with one of these stand-ins.
Flick pick: "E.T. The Extra- Terrestrial," 8:39 p.m. Aug. 2
Pair with: The Hershey Company
If an alien loves 'em, shouldn't you? Sure, you could grab a bag of Reese's Pieces almost anywhere, but why not try out this just-opened shop, where there's an entire lounge dedicated to the peanut buttery buttons ($2.95 for a 12- to 14-ounce bag)? Or, indulge in fresh-baked cupcakes or brownies to go, but don't eat too many. If you're sitting in Grant Park, moaning from a sweet tooth-induced stomachache, there won't be any extra-terrestrial to point his finger and cure what ails you.
Flick pick: "The Hustler," 8:20 p.m. Aug. 16
Pair with: G Cue Billiards and Restaurant
Chances are, Paul Newman can rack 'em up better than you. And even if you've got a leg up on the screen legend's skills with a cue, well, he's still Paul Newman. But don't be a hater; honor the man before watching him on the big screen by picking up a meal and playing some 8-ball at this West Loop pool hall/eatery. Recommended carry-out items include the fried zucchini, mushrooms and cauliflower basket ($7.25), or chicken fingers ($6.45).
Flick pick: "Star Wars," 8:09 p.m. Aug. 23
Pair with: Cereality
Chocolate may not be part of a balanced breakfast--but, hey, this is dinner! And thanks to this blockbuster franchise's heavy handed cross-promotion for "Revenge of the Sith," nothing says "Use the force" like a big helping of M&M's--right? OK, it's a stretch, but we won't look down on you for turning to the Dark Side by adding M&Ms to the already-chocolatey "Devil Made Me Do It" blend ($4.39) from Cereality, whose breakfast-cereal-all-the-time concept is as groundbreaking as this intergalactic saga.
Matt Pais is a metromix intern.
Originally published July 11, 2005.