around the world with bash, please: hollywood

Greetings, Design*Spongers! Now that summer has officially arrived, it’s time to indulge in one of our favorite pastimes: the outdoor movie screening. These events, usually held on rooftops or in an old cemetery (Hollywood’s most popular), are a fun, cheap way to gather friends and enjoy the warm summer nights. But who wants to deal with hundreds of strangers talking over your favorite flick? Not us! We decided to skip the crowds and created our own version of the drive-in in our backyard. And what could be more Hollywood than a screening of Mommie Dearest? Grab your sweetie, pop some corn and tie up a sheet, ’cause it’s time to host a backyard fete that will leave your guests nostalgic for those hot, summer nights (with no wire hangers)! — Bash, Please [Photos by Brandon Kidd, Rentals from Found Rentals]

The full party continues after the jump…

Before guests arrived, our couple picked through a cartload of quilts and pillows perfect for cuddling up and laid them out. We grabbed some throw pillows and box crates to create an outdoor living room. It’s so easy to craft an outdoor smorgasbord by bringing out your indoor coffee table or stacking shipping crates to create tables. Even a sturdy cardboard box turned upside down and covered with a tablecloth can act as a table in a pinch.

Homemade popcorn seasonings are sure to appeal to even the pickiest popcorn eaters. With flavor profiles like sweet, salty, spicy and savory, your guests will love refilling their popcorn bags.

Here are a few combinations we like:

  • Savory: Fresh Rosemary & Sea Salt
  • Salty: Sea Salt & Pepper
  • Sweet: Sugar + Cinnamon + Salt
  • Spicy: Cayenne Pepper + Salt + Paprika

Nothing like a frosty beer, chilled glass of Rosé or ice-cold soda pop to wet your guests’ whistles.

For those with a sweeter tooth, try some homemade cracker jack. It’s delightfully easy to whip up a batch and wickedly delicious (just like Joan Crawford herself)!

The Bash, Please version:


  • 1/2 cup unpopped popcorn (use your popcorn machine’s instructions to pop) or 3/4 bag of store-bought, air-popped corn
  • 1/2 cup shelled peanuts
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup light agave
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, combine popped corn and peanuts.

3. For caramel, heat the butter, brown sugar, agave, molasses and salt in a pan on the stove until the butter is melted and the sugar is smooth.

4. Pour caramel mixture over the popcorn and peanuts, stirring well. Pour it all onto a cookie sheet and place in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring once or twice.

5. Stir occasionally and let air dry until crisp, then store in an airtight container until movie time.

As for dessert, nothing reminds us of long summer evenings more than homemade popsicles. Fresh strawberries & cream and root beer float were our flavors of choice, but the combinations are endless.

This is what we did:

For the cream filling

  • 7 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup cold heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat egg whites on high until foamy. With mixer on medium, gradually add 3/4 cup sugar. Increase speed to high and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form, approximately 3 minutes. In a medium-sized bowl, beat the cream and vanilla on high until stiff peaks form, about 1 to 2 minutes. With a rubber spatula, gently fold the whipped cream into the egg-white mixture.

For the strawberry puree

  • 1 carton of strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 3/4 cup sugar

1. Blend strawberries and sugar in a blender until smooth.

2. Layer your popsicle molds with the strawberry puree and cream mixture, freezing each layer before adding the next.

Other tasty popsicle options:

  • 50/50 (Orange Soda & Cream Filling)
  • Peaches & Cream
  • RazzMaTazz (Raspberry & Cream)

Our friends at Found Rentals brought oodles of vintage goodies to furnish our fete. We wanted our guests to feel at home, so for each seating arrangement (be it quilts and pillows or cozy beach chairs), a little side table is most handy. A few overturned crates make a perfect place for drinks and snacks as well as candles and flowers.

In true Hollywood fashion, we knew we had to be dramatic with our film choice. With its over-the-top acting and melodramatic storyline, we knew Mommie Dearest would keep our audience in stitches. We also like:

  • Midnight Cowboy
  • The Party
  • Heathers
  • Carrie
  • The Goonies

Don’t have a movie screen laying around? No worries; neither did we, but here’s how we did it:


  • two buckets filled with rocks or gravel (we poured cement in ours)
  • three 6 ft long 2 x 4s
  • one twin-size flat sheet
  • staple gun
  • extra fabric and twine to cover the buckets

1. Lay your sheet flat on the ground. Staple each side to a 2 x 4, circling the fabric around each board once. Once secure, lay your third 2 x 4 across the top, perpendicular to the two stapled boards. Nail/screw into the boards.

2. Place the bottom end of each board into a bucket, making sure there is enough weight in each bucket so the screen doesn’t topple over.

3. Cover each bucket with fabric and tie with twine, ribbon or extra fabric.

Tada! Your very own movie screen!

  1. Tonnye says:

    We’ve done several outdoor movie parties by attaching a large flat sheet to our front porch, and putting the projector behind so it’s protected from dew/trippings/etc. We take our stereo out for sound and it’s awesome — we’ve done the Harry Potter movies this way, and hosted a couple of birthday parties for a young friend where we played Shrek for one and Land Before Time for the other. Be sure to have insect repellent on hand if you’re in a buggy area, as we are in SE NC. . . .I’m wanting to do another movie night this summer. . . we’ll see if I fit it in. . . it’s always great fun!

  2. Maricela says:

    Great idea for a get together!!!

  3. Cathryn says:

    Love this idea and have thought about doing it several times over the past many years. The problem is, I don’t have a projector. Do you own yours or rent one? Wild love to do this this summer! Thank you for the wonderful ideas and such a great sight!

  4. Brittany says:

    I know how you made your movie screen, but how did you get the movie to play on it? Did you use a projector, or just a laptop?


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