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What to Watch for Backyard Movie Night

Make memories (and popcorn) for a movie viewing you’ll never forget!

Maria Bailey and Sarah Burns



It's officially summer — and the first order of business: hosting an outdoor movie night in the neighborhood! We can't think of a better way to enjoy a warm summer evening's hang with the neighbors. Picking the right movie, of course, plays a huge role in everyone's enjoyment — and the following crowd-pleasers are a guaranteed win for a big, multi-generational audience. 

Raya and the Last Dragon

No one will be able to take their eyes off Raya and The Last Dragon, a delightful Disney animated film centered around a warrior princess on a quest for unity. Raya must find the elusive "last dragon" to save the world. However, she comes to realize it's going to take more than just Sisu the dragon to restore her fractured land — it will take trust and teamwork between the kingdom's five districts. Follow Raya on her adventure through the kingdom.

Pokémon Detective Pikachu

Everyone's favorite little yellow cat-like-thing made the leap from the small screen to the big screen in 2018's Pokemon Detective Pikachu! When ace detective Harry Goodman mysteriously goes missing, his 21-year-old son, Tim, goes on a mission to find out what happened to him — but not without help. He is joined by his dad's former partner, the cheeky but adorable Detective Pikachu, voiced by Ryan Reynolds. The two join forces to untangle the mystery — join them! 

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark

You can never go wrong with the classics, and Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark is the ultimate family favorite that has stood the test of time. It's an epic tale that follows an archeologist who tries to beat a group of Nazis to a unique religious relic that is central to world domination. Indiana Jones, played by the one and only Harrison Ford, has won over audiences for generations — making him the perfect leading man for a neighborhood movie night.

The Sandlot

If you have a baseball diamond in your neighborhood, there's perhaps no better place to set up your outdoor movie night! The Sandlot celebrates two all-American pastimes: baseball, and kids misunderstanding grownups. The plot centers around a bunch of neighborhood kids who must contend with a grumpy old man who lives near the sandlot where they play ball. Get your team together to watch this ultimate summer flick.

Spirited Away

There's a reason this movie has remained a family favorite for nearly 20 years. As one of the most critically acclaimed films of all time, Spirited Away is an enchanting fantasy adventure created by one of the most notable filmmakers in animation history, Hayao Miyazaki. The story begins when Chihiro, a ten-year-old girl, moves with her parents to the Japanese countryside. But when they decide to stop on the way to explore an abandoned village, her parents undergo a mysterious transformation. Chihiro is thrust into a world of fantastic spirits ruled over by the sorceress Yubaba and must use all her wits to survive and escape.

Night at the Museum

Any outdoor movie night is made even better with a Night at the Museum! Ever wonder what goes on behind closed doors after-hours at the museum? Well, imagine if the exhibits come to life — which is exactly what happens in this action-packed adventure that will have everyone's imaginations running wild. 

Jurassic Park

Be warned — you might just start hearing things rustling in the bushes as you watch this thrilling blockbuster hit. Whether it's your imagination or something else, we'll never know, but in Jurassic Park, it can only mean one thing: dinosaurs. Find out what happens when three scientists show up at a theme park of cloned dinosaurs, only to discover what disaster awaits. 

The Mitchells vs. The Machines

When Katie and her quirky family embark on a road trip, it doesn't go exactly to plan. Why not? Well, the world's electronic devices come to life to stage an uprising, and The Mitchells end up being humanity's (unlikeliest) last hope. Will they save the world? Find out in The Mitchells vs. The Machines on Netflix.


Meet Joe — a jazz man who teaches music to middle schoolers for a living, but it doesn't light up his soul. Joe wants nothing more than to be a professional jazz musician, but he doesn't know it yet. It's not until he travels to another realm to help someone find their passion that he finds his — discovering what it truly means to have Soul

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

The older folks will probably be more familiar with the 1995 original starring Robin Williams, but this all-time classic hit has been recreated into a comedy-infused adventure with a twist! In Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, starring Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, and Kevin Hart, players are sucked into a magical video game (not a board game) and must work together to get out.