Let's get our priorities straight: You want to spend your cash on important stuff, like cocktails. And you want to drink a lot of them. It's death-ray hot out, and science tells us quite clearly that If you don't chug margaritas like an aspiring sorority pledge, you will die of dehydration. We like you alive, and a little tipsy. Save that bar money by watching free movies. Here are five great free screenings this week in Dallas. Monday, July 16: The Turandot Project at Studio Movie Grill (11170 N. Central Expressway) This is a joint project organized by the Dallas Film Society and the Dallas Opera and it looks stunning. The documentary features Zhang Yimou on a mission: His goal is to bring the largest, most gilded production ever performed of Puccini's Turandot to China. The set is elaborate. The extras range into the hundreds. Props and costumes are based around the Ming Dynasty. Zhang really wants this thing to happen. Thunderstorms, riled-up local officials and the challenges that emerge from organizing a cast the size of a small town all stand as obstacles. Will the Italian opera be a hit in China? Will the fat lady sing? Will there even be a fat lady? You'll have to go to find out. This event has limited seating, so RSVP here. (If you get a kickback email telling you it's full, but live near the theater I would just go anyway. People RSVPed for this thing ages ago and many will either A.) forget or B.) blow it off at the last minute. It never hurts to pop in.Tuesday, July 17: The Oily Maniac at Texas Theatre
Tuesday Night Trash is always free, so it makes a greatalternative date night
. It's also one of the only spots in town to celebrate the scummy underbelly of rare and/or VHS Or Bust cinema. This week's pick is halfThe Blob
, half(Evil) Toxic Avenger
, mixed around in a stagnant pond of demonic sweat and summoned to the screen. Here'sTNT's
summary ofThe Oily Maniac
(1976): "A nerd uses witchcraft to turn himself into an invincible rubber monster suit and exact revenge on his enemies." Rad. It's in Mandarin but subtitled in English and begins at 9 p.m. in the smaller upstairs screening area. The downstairs bar is open, so you can drink until the plot makes sense.
Thursday, July 19: The Store at the Dallas Museum of Art's Horchow Auditorium (Only half free) Every Thursday through August 16 the Dallas Film Society and Dallas Museum of Art dust off cinematic artifacts rooted right here in our own caliche soil. This week's pick is The Store, a movie about the history of Dallas' flagship Neiman Marcus. There will be an introduction by historian Jackie McElhaney. If you're a member of the DMA, DFS or Preservation Dallas, just walk right in; everyone else will pay museum entry and get the film on the house. It starts at 7 p.m.
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Poolside screening of A Streetcar Named Desire at the Belmont Bring bug spray and a blanket or pop in early to snag a lawn chair for this relaxing, outdoor screening. I'll take any excuse to perch under the stars at the Belmont, but watching this 1951 Vivien Leigh/Marlon Brando classic for free makes it feel extra special. The bar is open during these biweekly summer offerings, so you'll chill with a cocktail and a killer panoramic view of the skyline as you absorb the drama. People start trickling in at 7 p.m. and the film begins at dusk.
Friday, July 20:The Artist in the Nasher Sculpture Garden A combination effort between those buffs at Dallas Film Society and the Nasher, The Artist is this month's pick for the museum's Late Nights Summer Film Series. You are so freaking lucky. Every third Friday the Crow Collection, Dallas Museum of Art and the Nasher get together and throw a big art party with activities, scavenger hunts and films like this. You're even luckier because the Nasher completely covers your entry to this one, so you can finally watch the film that swept last year's Oscars, surrounded by Picasso, Hepworth and Calder masterpieces. Make it the perfect date and reserve a Wolfgang Puck picnic basket for two. Catch a live performance with Mon Julien at 7 p.m. if you want to add free music to your night, or just show up for the film at 9 p.m.
Bonus: Breaking Bad Sundays at the Sundown It isn't a film, it's an addiction. The final season of this drug-dealing drama is properly celebrated each Sunday at Sundown at the Granada. Chill on the rooftop with a crystal meth-inspired cocktail as you watch Walter White untangle this trap of his own design.
Are you putting on a great film or event and want it featured in one of our guides? Email Calendar@DallasObserver.com and let us know about it.