Library of Congress screens ‘Shrek,’ Toy Story’ for Summer Movies on the Lawn

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews Summer Movies on the Lawn (Part 1)

Do you miss the old tradition of “Screen on the Green” down on the National Mall?

You can still enjoy outdoor movies as the Library of Congress hosts its fourth annual “Summer Movies on the Lawn,” a weekly series that kicks off Thursday evening.

“This is very exciting, especially after the past 15 months,” Chief Communications Officer Roswell Encina told WTOP. “You can’t beat it. We started this four years ago. You see the sun setting behind the Capitol. … It can’t be any more Washington D.C. than that. You get to sit with your family and friends with a blanket and a nice little picnic and watch a movie.

The free series will showcase movies from the Library’s National Film Registry.

“For more than 30 years, the Library of Congress has been announcing a National Film Registry,” Encina said. “We have 800 films already on the registry and we’re picking the movies from that selection. These are films that the library and library experts have deemed worth preserving because they are a reflection of film history in this country.”

Here’s the lineup of five weekly screenings:

July 8: “The Princess Bride” (1987) – Class of 2016

“Everybody loves this movie,” Encina said. “I know people who can actually quote this movie verbatim the entire length of the movie. Whether it’s ‘as you wish’ or ‘inconceivable,’ people are going to be reciting this movie along with Westley and Princess Buttercup.”

July 15: “Shrek” (2001) – Class of 2020

“We just added this last December,” Encina said. “‘Shrek’ started this trend of this new kind of animation which helped put DreamWorks on the map. Other movies from DreamWorks kept coming as huge successes at the box office, including ‘Kung Fu Panda’ and ‘How to Train Your Dragon,’ but ‘Shrek’ started it all. … Who doesn’t love that big green monster?”

July 22: “Toy Story” (1995) – Class of 2005

“You can watch that first ‘Toy Story’ again and go back thinking, ‘This is just pure genius,'” Encina said. “[Woody and Buzz Lightyear] are almost like the odd couple of animated movies. Tim Allen and Tom Hanks really embodied those characters. … I bet it’s going to be ranked as one of the best animated movies of all time side by side with ‘Snow White.'”

July 29: “The Sound of Music” (1965) – Class of 2001

“There’s a reason we’re doing it as a sing-along because everybody knows the songs,” Encina said. “The Library of Congress has the Rodgers & Hammerstein collection. … The original title of ‘My Favorite Things’ was ‘The Things That I Like.’ … They were trying to rhyme with ‘like,’ but they realize three pages later that doesn’t sound as cool as ‘things.'”

Aug. 5: “Jurassic Park” (1993) – Class of 2018

“This is a juggernaut of a movie,” Encina said. “This is the ‘King Kong’ of a new generation. People remember where they were when they saw ‘Jurassic Park’ for the first time. They remember looking at the screen like ‘Oh my gosh!’ The computer graphics for what those dinosaurs looked like was like nothing we’d ever seen before.”

Screenings start on Thursday evenings at sundown between July 8 and Aug. 5 on the north lawn of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building across from the U.S. Capitol.

No tickets are required, but capacity will be limited for social distancing purposes. Each group will be assigned a seating location at least 6 feet apart from other groups.

Vaccinated attendees are not required to wear masks, but the Library of Congress still recommends that attendees wear masks when they are unable to maintain social distance.

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews Summer Movies on the Lawn (Part 2)

Listen to our full conversation here.

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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