Free: Front Porch Cinema at Santa Monica Pier

Sit on the "front porch of the Pacific" and enjoy great films over four fall Friday nights.

Movies that feature characters watching the surf in contemplation, as a seagull soars dramatically in the background?

There are plenty of those in the historical cinevaults. But how about movies where characters sit near the surf as they watch another movie, for free, at one of the world's most recognizable piers?

Those are rather rarer, if they even exist at all. But you can play out that particular film plot in real life by attending Front Porch Cinema, the free, fall-time film series that unspools after sundown at Santa Monica Pier.

Eat|See|Hear is behind the autumn-only extravaganza, which invites film lovers to cozy up on a blanket or "an old-timey lawn chair," which are available for rent.

The four-film run opens on Friday, Sept. 29 with "La La Land," and while the recently released flick didn't use the Santa Monica Pier in its story, you will see Hermosa Beach Pier on the screen, which is just a fairly short jaunt to the south.

"The Princess Bride" follows on Friday, Oct. 6 — it's inconceivable that it is the 30th anniversary of this gem's release, and yet it is — while the great "Hidden Figures" is set for Friday, Oct. 13 (ponder the moving themes of the film, which spotlights a pioneering trio of African-American women creating mathematics greatness at NASA, as you ponder the stars above before the film).

Rounding it all out? "Beauty and the Beast" waltzes into the film series on Friday, Oct. 20.

As is tradition with Eat|See|Hear, there's always a little something extra with each screening, and it is often tied into the film's plot or touchstones in some way.

Need a clearer picture? Arrive early, before "La La Land," and take part in a free ballroom dance lesson.

Also, the on-site Cinema Lounge opens at 6 o'clock, for guests 21 and over, so pick up your adult beverage and small snacks there, if that's your hankering.

Perhaps a movie featuring people watching a movie, near the ocean, isn't all that compelling, so, yeah: We may never see that on the big screen.

But watching a film, for free, at the beach, is a pleasure so nice it doesn't even need to be fictionalized, nor does it need to go through a dozen rewrites. It's pretty perfect, as is.

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