5 Tips for Hosting The Best Movie Night Ever
One of my favorite things about my group of friends is how much everyone loves watching (and discussing!) good movies together. So for any of you other movie lovers out there who have thought about inviting some friends over to watch a flick together, our film pro Sarah is here today to offer some great tips for how to host an award-winning movie night that everyone will remember.
I’m on a quest. A quest to perfect The Art of Hosting Movie Nights. I am still early on my journey, but here are a few things I’ve learned so far.
1. Choose your film wisely
Your movie night is going to live or die on the strength of your cinematic selection. So be smart and be bold. Put some forethought into your program. Who’s the audience? Is this a girls’ night, a family gathering, or an evening for might-as-well-be-film-critics? Brainstorm some obvious choices first, then try for a twist. If you usually go for rom-coms with your girls, why not pick a rom-com/action mash-up like 2005’s Mr. and Mrs Smith ? (Directed by the recent Edge of Tomorrow‘s Doug Liman.) If you’ve got kids in the room, why not revisit one of your childhood favorites (E.T.? Newsies? Wizard of Oz?) instead of a more recent family flick?
This week, I invited women from my church over to watch Zero Dark Thirty. The fictionalized account of the search for Bin Laden may not be the first film you’d think of for a faith-based ladies’ event, but it was actually great: female director, female lead, and all kinds of weighty moral topics to debate afterward.
2. Read the room
Even if you’ve carefully evaluated your audience and found The Perfect Choice, know when to switch things up at the last minute. The other night, I had a random group of friends over, and we were committed to watching either Nebraska or Philomena from last year’s Oscar race. We even had an e-mail vote beforehand to pick those two finalists. And then the night came, and we were all feeling a bit silly. We joked around over popcorn for way too long and finally wound our way around to movie time…wherein we ditched everything and went for A League of Their Own. It was just a there’s-no-crying-in-baseball kind of night. Speaking of popcorn…
3. Make popcorn
So what if it’s cliché? It’s what The People want. Make more than you think anybody will ever eat (because they will), and make it right. Stove-popped. Coconut oil. Salt. Nooch. And then make some more.
4. Keep it cushy
You don’t have to have rows of luxe recliners to keep your guests comfortable. Just make sure you have a stack of floor pillows and blankets on hand. It doesn’t matter if you buy ‘em, borrow ‘em, or make ‘em—just have something to make sure the floor-sitters feel loved.
5. Plan for talk time
The very best part of movie nights (OK, aside from the popcorn), is the discussion after the show. Remember to start your movie early enough that people will have time to stick around when it’s over. Turn the lights on, bring the snacks back out, refill people’s drinks, and dive right in. If you’re nervous about keeping the conversation going, you can write down some starter questions beforehand. (A very general, but reliable, two-parter for eliciting different views: “What do you think the director was trying to do? Did she succeed?”) Or you can just blurt out a Very Strong Opinion—one of my friends recently started a movie discussion with “Four words: They did it wrong”—and see if somebody takes the bait.