Miss watching movies together? Here are three ways to recreate the experience with theaters currently shuttered.
No one has really adjusted to our new normal, but we’re all learning what’s important and what we truly miss.
I miss seeing movies alongside an audience, but you won’t see me wearing a stupid Guy Fawkes mask and standing outside of the Statehouse to demand that Gov. Mike DeWine reopen theaters. (Although I may bust out my “V for Vendetta” DVD, since I still own DVDs.)
I’ve realized I miss that live reaction. I’m even starting to miss people yelling at others for being on their damn phones.
But I also just miss watching the same movie at the same time as other human beings.
Even if “Tiger King” weirdly recreated the equivalent of a world-of-mouth blockbuster with a (pardon the term) captive audience, there’s still something to be said for even a virtually shared experience.You can also enjoy the shared experience of getting Alive delivered to your inbox at the exact same time as thousands of other readers when you sign up for our daily newsletter.
Fortunately, there are some options.
Last week, I watched “Coachella: 20 Years in the Desert,” a YouTube original documentary that dropped the same day and time that the festival would have opened its gates. (This year’s fest was postponed until October, although even that seems optimistic right now.)
It’s a fascinating documentary, perhaps getting some extra points for my own love of the festival experience, along with the fact that, for the first time in as long as I can remember, I am not likely to attend one this year.
It’s also still available to stream, and I recommend it. But I also watched it live because it felt like a normal screening. A movie I was watching at the exact same time as other people.
Here are three ways we can still do that now.
AFI Movie Club
The American Film Institute announced via no less than Steven Spielberg that it would be launching the AFI Movie Club early during “stay at home” orders.
Dubbed a “global, virtual gathering of those who love the movies,” a different movie is featured nightly with fun facts, trivia and virtual discussion around the hashtag #AFIMovieClub.
The series shares some true classics, kicking off with “The Wizard of Oz” and then including more recent movies like “Wonder Woman.”
Here’s the catch: The webpage can only show you where these movies are available to stream, and most involve rentals. Remember renting movies? How quaint!
This one was just announced this week, and it's free.
For the next four Fridays, Jamie Lee Curtis will host a live stream of a movie from the studio’s stable, starting with “The Hunger Games” (April 17) and followed by “Dirty Dancing” (April 24), “La La Land” (May 1) and “John Wick” (May 8).
The movies will stream on the YouTube pages of both Lionsgate and Fandango, and will also serve as fundraisers for The Will Rogers Foundation, which is trying to provide some financial assistance to theater employees who are now furloughed.
This relatively simple Google Chrome browser extension was developed back in 2015, but it’s definitely having its moment in 2020.
This is not the “watching a movie with friends” experience we wanted, but it is surprisingly enjoyable.
All you have to do is download and install the extension on your home computer. Have your friends do the same, and then log on to your Netflix account and send them invites.
The host will start the movie (everyone needs their own Netflix account), and the extension will then display a chat window where everyone can go full “Mystery Science Theater 3000,” engaging in live commentary. Obviously it’s best to watch a movie worth discussing.
I did not think that watching a movie on my laptop with a live chat would feel good, but this is where we are, folks.
Make the most of it.