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Bacchus Summer Film Series starts 'Big'

Where is the most visually pleasing outdoor spot to watch a movie in Buffalo? In the summer months, I think that answer is an easy one: the back patio at Bacchus. The Chippewa Street restaurant is a long-established Queen City favorite, and over the years the Bacchus Summer Film Series has developed a dedicated audience for its Wednesday and Thursday screenings.

It is no wonder. The back patio is a fine place to dine during the warmer days of summer, and the area is ideally suited to film presentation.

Also ideal for such a series is the lineup, a reliably crowd-pleasing mix. Unlike many of the other summer film series in Western New York, it skews adult — ahem, “Magic Mike” (July 24) — but like most, it tends to stick with iconic favorites, such as “Dirty Dancing” (June 19) and “Airplane” (Sept. 10).

The first film of the 2014 series could not be a better selection: the Coen Bros.’ “The Big Lebowski” on June 11. Sure, you have likely seen the story of the Dude, his rug and some Nihilists 100 or so times over the last decade-plus, but who can resist re-watching, White Russian in hand?

In some ways, it is an odd collection; I’m not sure anyone cares to see “The Change-Up” (Aug. 14) again, let alone while dining, and calling “The Break-Up” (June 25) or “The Blind Side” (Aug. 21) iconic is a real stretch.

But with two Belushis (“National Lampoon’s Animal House” on June 18 and “The Blues Brothers” on Aug. 6), some Tarantino (“Pulp Fiction” on July 23), a dash of Python (“Monty Python and the Holy Grail” on Aug. 13), and films from David O. Russell (“Silver Linings Playbook” on Sept. 11) and Danny Boyle (“Slumdog Millionaire” on Sept. 24), there is certainly something here for most viewers.

It is also nice to see how late the series runs — the final film, “When Harry Met Sally,” is Sept. 25. If it’s a typical Buffalo fall, outdoor viewing will still be optimal.

Buffalo may still be waiting on an Alamo Drafthouse-style dine-and-watch theater, but in the meantime, we have the back patio at Bacchus. And that’s nothing to take for granted, especially since they are showing one of my guilty pleasures, the Ryan Gosling-Emma Stone-Steve Carell comedy “Crazy Stupid Love,” on July 31. How did they know?

For the full schedule, visit the events section of Bacchus’ website

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