Design

Would You Start a Movie Club?

the white tiger movie

I’ve always loved a good club — an articles club, a documentary club, a cooking club, a soup group — so during quarantine, I was thrilled when my friend Ameer suggested a movie club…

movie club

Here’s how it works: First, gather a group of 8-10 friends. Take turns choosing a weekly movie, and all watch it separately. Then get together on Zoom to chat about the movie every week — for us, it’s Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. And, yes, you can wear pajamas.

We’ve watched and discussed these movies so far:
Harold & Maude
The White Tiger (I loved this)
Mank
Three Days of the Condor
Sense & Sensibility
Judas and The Black Messiah
Defending Your Life
Purple Noon (the 1960 version of The Talented Mr. Ripley)

During the club, I’ve been continually surprised by how differently people interpret movies — I love hearing friends’ hot takes and debates — and some of the movies are split down the middle in terms of people loving or hating them. Also, Harold & Maude used to be one of my favorite movies — I even took Alex to see it on one of our early dates — but this time around, I found it sort of cloying. So fascinating how your tastes can change!

What about you? Would you start a movie club? Do you have one already? What movies have you enjoyed lately? I can’t wait to see Minari.

P.S. The best family movies, and what are your three favorite movies?

  1. Hi Joanna Goddard!
    Thanks for sharing such a great idea of spending quality time with f&f.
    We are so busy and frustrated that most of the time we forget to enjoy our breath. It’s really an amazing idea.
    It makes me feel great.

  2. Okay THIS is awesome and I totally need to do it! It’s always so fun hearing other people’s opinions and thoughts about movies!! Thanks for sharing this!

  3. Sarah A. says...

    Very early on in quarantine (almost a year ago!) we set up a virtual movie night with a group of about 10 friends. We agreed on a movie and all got on our friend slack together and started a new thread just to chat about the movie. We did a countdown together and all hit play. Whenever someone needed to take a break, we’d count down to pause. There was constant chatter, sometimes like Mystery Science Theater, sometimes more like fun facts people were reading about as we watched. We’ve been doing this every single weekend since. We even have a spreadsheet full of ideas and votes that breaks movies down by genre, whether they are a legit good movie or so bad it’s good, how you can stream them… No matter what the week is like or how the news is looking about the pandemic, we have our weekend ritual to anticipate.

  4. Tina says...

    We’ve been doing this with my husband’s family during Covid and have really been enjoying it! It gives us something else to talk about besides the pandemic and like you said, it’s so interesting hearing other people’s perspectives. I even started a little movie discussion on my Instagram page @motels_and_diners of movies that include motels and yes, you guessed it, diners. It’s a lot of fun rewatching old movies you haven’t seen in years and seeing how your own perspective has changed.

  5. Emily says...

    My husband and I have a rotating “movie chain” with two other friends—each pick has to connect to the previous movie through an actor or director. It’s been great to see classics we hadn’t gotten around to (Escape from Alcatraz, Casablanca, Out of Africa, etc.), and find new favorites (Station Agent, The Conversation, Brigsby Bear, among others). We’ll hop on a call every so often to rate and review the last batch together—we even had 2020 awards for our favorites! We all agree The Chain will remain unbroken even after the pandemic. <3

  6. Sara-Lynn says...

    A few years back, we hosted a weekly 80s education movie night with a bunch of millennials (I’m on the cusp of Gen Z). They had not grown up with all those great classics and it was so fun to introduce them to them.

    • Fiona says...

      I moved to the states for my last two years of high school then left again till I was in my early 30s, so I didn’t grow up with a lot of the movies that are a critical part of the youth and adolescence of most of my peers. My husband and friends have been doing these “education” events pretty regularly, I’m now in love with Star Wars, I enjoy Buffy, and last week we watched the original Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (for the first time for me). It’s been really fun to see what “holds up” and what was a passing fad. Hilariously I want to watch Gremlins but my husband, who watched it far too young refuses because its too scary even though its PG!

  7. Sequoia says...

    Everyone has such lovely friends! I really need to work on that part of my life right now.

  8. Amanda says...

    About a month in to COVID we started a movie club with three other couples. We each take turns suggesting a movie, then we have a zoom pre-movie chat, watch the movie and text each other throughout and finally we zoom again to discuss. We’ve watched such an eclectic blend too! Everything from an Agnes Varda documentary (she’s amazing!) to Nicholas Cage flicks. It’s been such a comfort the over the last year and a wonderful escape. Plus our little movie club often has long text convos about other random things too, like “what album has the best opening song?” I truly live this little club and hope we continue it into the future.

  9. Denise says...

    My quarantine pod is my movie club! Before the pandemic, we’d get together at a friend’s house (giant TV with lots of comfy seating) once a month or so, and watch two movies with a theme. Think My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Mama Mia (Greek) or Steel Magnolias and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (our faves). We bring themed food and drinks for a buffet too. The Godfather trilogy was epic! We also try to watch all the Oscar nominated movies (including the shorts and animation) and then have an Oscar party with voting. We’ve Zoomed a little too much and are taking a break right now, but this is one of the things I miss the most, and can’t wait to get back to!

  10. Rebecca Andersen says...

    If anyone watches White Tiger, I encourage you to first read some of the critical analysis about how it showcases a caste privileged POV and “validates and glorifies ingrained casteism” (words from the amazing advocate @seemahari ). As @seemahari writes, “in the first act the writer tries to erase caste oppression…which is ginormously false and a narrative only pushed by upper-caste privileged folks who want to deny casteism and remove any affirmative actions that caste oppressed people get…It is like if a white man wrote a book on racism and in teh first act itself says “there is no racism anymore only rich and poor.” The movie is based on a book written by an upper-caste individual and has an upper-caste producer and stars.

    @seemahari is also an advocate to end colorism and offers a critical view of Priyanka Chopra that is well worth a read; since becoming educated I have looked skeptically at anything Priyanka Chopra is involved in. She is notorious for promoting and profiting off of color discrimination (being involved in white beauty ads and products for bleaching skin) and has made other questionable racist acts (which are in direct opposition to the anti-racist image/brand she has adopted in the USA).

    BTW, @seemahari would make an AMAZING profile here. Would be great to amplify her voice around these topics!!

    • Steph R says...

      Rebecca, thank you for this comment – I did not know this!

  11. Amanda says...

    We’re doing a movie club at the library I work for! We have subscriptions to some streaming movie databases that have some good indie films and we’re putting up polls on our social media to decide the film. One of the fun things we’re doing during COVID is sending little movie care packages to people who register, with popcorn and candy and the like. (Thank God for our Sam’s Club membership.)

  12. LH says...

    My cousins and I have a virtual movie club of sorts! We take turns picking bad movies and watching them TOGETHER on zoom and making fun of the movie, MST3K style, either aloud or we type it into the chat. We think we are hilarious and it makes me forget about everything else for a brief time.

    • Tess Williams says...

      I did the same thing with my cousins, and we watched the Lord of the Rings trilogy! And with my husband’s siblings, we watched all the Harry Potter movies! The key is to find movies that everyone has already seen many times and doesn’t mind talking/hearing other people talk during it.

  13. Diana K says...

    I’m in a movie club! Such a good way to see classics, discover hidden gem comedies, but mostly to force your friends into participating in your interests. My friend and I take turns choosing the movie, and its such a good way to glimpse into each other’s perspectives on things, especially during a time when there’s nothing to talk about. We’re movie nerds so we like to do blocks of the same directors. Early Scorcese was such a different vibe, go watch After Hours.

  14. Jessi says...

    We don’t have a movie club (love that idea) but we are just starting a cocktail club!

    We have a rather large front yard and each week we are hosting 1-2 people to sit distanced in our yard and sip on a cocktail made by my husband. Each week we will host a different person/couple. It’s just a quick happy hour, post work setup, so we can interact with teeny tiny groups of people and still try and be as safe as possible. My husband is amazing at making drinks and we just bought the “How to Cocktail” book Jordan Ferney posted about a while back. Our goal is to spend some time together in the kitchen making a majority of our ingredients and mixers from scratch. We just thought it would be a fun way for us to experiment together and see people’s faces in-person, even if it is from 20 feet away behind a mask.

    I’ve been looking for ways to be more creative during this down time and we decided to go all in on making it feel like a genuine club that is something extra special to be a part of. My husband is a graphic designer/letterpress printer so we brainstormed and came up with a “This or That” survey each guest will fill out so we know their preferences on what to make next time. He is making coasters for each couple to use and we even had little pins made that look like cocktail club badges to give to everyone when they leave.

    Our first cocktail club is tonight and we are making Japanese whiskey lemonades with Meyer lemons we picked ourselves from a u-pick grove that is close to where we live.

    • Kamaile says...

      This is such a wonderful idea. I love that you two are putting so much thought into the details.

    • Kate says...

      Oh. my. god. This is so charming – I wanna be friends with you!

    • Juliet says...

      On our street in London during the spring/summer lockdown (the first of many!) our street hosted “Gin by the Bin” where everyone stood in their front garden of our little terraced street and chatted to their neighbors/yelled across the road to the people opposite or went for a little wander down the middle of the street saying hi to everyone. Was one v happy memory of lockdown #1

    • Sage says...

      Very cool. :) We don’t drink but that’s such a nice, pleasant, non-gratuitous way to do it. Lucky friends!

  15. Laura says...

    Before the pandemic, I started a “no book book club.” I always loved the idea of a book club (and also the articles club I read about here), but somehow I ended up in groups where we just ended up gabbing and drinking wine, which was the really fun part. So I cut to the chase – come over for pizza and wine and conversation. I can’t wait for this to end so I can host again.

  16. Kamina says...

    My best friend and I live in different cities and we like to watch a TV show together and text about it. On really special occasions we even watch an episode while we’re on the phone. We call it “video club” in reference to a moment from Buffy when they’re talking about ways to cheer somebody up, decide a book club is too much, and somebody suggests “video club.” (Buffy was our first “video club” show so it’s fitting.)

    I believe Kendra Adachi (@thelazygenius on instagram) talks about “show club” on one of her podcasts. I’m pretty sure she and a group of friends get together to watch TV shows weekly and discuss? I think this is a GREAT idea and I’d love to get one started.

  17. Vanessa says...

    We started something similar a few months back with some very close friends who are very far away. First we each picked 5 movies – any 5 movies – we loved. Now we’re working our way through categories where we’ll each select two movies per category. “Classics you’ve never seen but know you should,” “period piece,” “children’s movie,” etc. Up next is “Western or Samurai.” My tech-savvy partner even wrote an algorithm to randomly select a movie from the list to watch each week and built a website to track everything. We use Teleparty to chat while we watch. It’s such a fun thing to look forward to each week, and makes it feel like they’re a bit closer than 3,000 miles away.

  18. S says...

    How fun! I recently loved The Dig on Netflix.

  19. Chelsea K says...

    Keep an eye out for international film festivals too!

    Most are doing online programs which is a great way to break out of that endless scroll (Oh god, sweet husband, do you have to “stocktake” every new item on every streaming service) streaming rut :)

  20. We started a movie club week 3 of the pandemic…and have been going ever since! Everyone’s thoughtfulness and different perspective has completely changed the way I consume a film. I believe we are on week 46 or so (took a few weeks off here and there for holidays, etc) but it has been a saving grace! We have 5 couples, and each person takes a turn nominating 4-5 films each week. Everyone submits their votes early in the week (we use a rank choice voting system which sparks delightful confusion and has been the fodder for many jokes along the way). The range of movies has been *insane* but every week we are always so surprised and delighted by a persons vast array of choices. We’ve even gotten the kids involved and done a kids week, where we invite them to provide commentary as well! There are so many great movies that we haven’t even gotten to a year in, it really makes you realize how much amazing content is out there.

    We meet at 5pm on Sunday nights over a cocktail and welcome the background of kids floating throughout. It’s a welcome start to the week, and more than once a couple has had to leave something early “to get to movie club” to which eager individuals ask…”Wait, a movie club? I want in!” but to date…we’re still exclusive :) Our one final goal is to for one of us to find a way to have one of the directors / actors / screenwriters of one of our films drop in for a visit and surprise everyone! Just the thought of it! Agh! Movie clubs are just the best. Nomadland is up this week!
    (I should also note we were a group of friends that has always eagerly watched and discussed movies–last year before the shut down we even did an “Oscars fantasy draft” where we all draft picks. It’s SO fun and makes every single award at the Oscars double-y exciting).

  21. Janey says...

    We started a family movie night way back last March where my husband and I and our 3 teenagers take turns to choose a movie on Friday night and I make a couple big sharing boards with delicious cheeses, prosciutto, olives nice bottle of wine and fancy drinks for the younger boys.
    We’d never normally all watch a movie together – teenagers would be hanging out with friends or on their own screens in their own rooms. So it’s actually been really lovely. I mean don’t get me wrong, I’ve had to watch way more basketball related movies than I’d ideally want to! But my 13 year old said he’s going to miss family movie night when lockdown is over so I hope it’s something we keep doing

  22. Loren says...

    I belong to a pandemic movie group that meets on Sunday nights. We watch together on Zoom, someone downloads the film and shares it on his screen, and we socialize before and after. I had never seen any of the Harry Potter or LOTR movies and we have watched them all, along with a few classics like An American in Paris and Bringing Up Baby. It’s been so much fun!

  23. Hali says...

    Pre pandemic, my husband and I hosted many a “bad movie night.” We splurged on a big projector, rearranged furniture inside or outside, provide way more alcohol than would be expected at a normal movie viewing, and invited all our friends who appreciate the worst of the worst movies. I was in it for the drinks, friends, boisterous commentary, and snacks… but most of our friends go nuts for bad movies. The Room (of course), Miami Connection, Elves, Samurai Cop, Troll 2, and so many more absolutely horrible films that I can’t remember. I never thought to do this digitally! Actually, I think you gave me material for a decent distant surprise party! (Hopefully the last damn zoom party for a long, long time.)

  24. Callie says...

    My husband and our friends do this as a sort of “finer things club” (I join if I am interested in the movie, otherwise I just join for the chat). It started last March and is still going strong. They will choose a category (movie from the year you were born; movies with numbers in the title; best picture winners; etc) and then each pick a title. I love the tradition :)

  25. Laura says...

    I love the idea of meeting to discuss a movie, but you can also watch the movie at the same time using things like Netflix Party, Groupwatch, and other programs- that way you can literally pause it for everyone and make sure you’re synced up!

  26. L says...

    We’ve done this a few times recently and it def helps to have a designated topic like this to make zoom hangouts more enjoyable. Ours was initially inspired by the awesome podcast How Did This Get Made but not everybody in our group was familiar with it and one friend who is a film maker was kind of put off by the idea of talking smack about other people’s movies so we tried to explain that it’s just for fun and done with love (usually ha). And there are so many bad movies and it can be so fun to talk about their ridiculousness! Anyway, highly recommend the podcast and doing your own version with friends

  27. Love this idea. Also, I was thinking a podcast club would be fun as I can’t 100% commit to finishing the book on time right now for a book club. So a movie club is right up my alley, too! Side note: has anyone watched Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar?

  28. Can we do a cup of jo movie club?!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s a fun idea!! would we watch together and do Stories (with polls, questions, etc.) on instagram?

  29. Elise says...

    Yes! And please everyone watch BabyTeeth on Netflix… but oh my gosh have the tissues ready…

  30. Jess says...

    Never heard “cloying” before…loved the movie group concept and learning a new word :)

    • Danielle says...

      I had to look it up as well. Going to try and work it into conversation this week:)

  31. Hanna T Gregor says...

    Last week some friends and I all watched Jennifer’s Body by Diablo Cody for the first time, and we had so much fun we are doing a weekly film night! Next is A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night by Ana Lily Amirpour, keeping with our theme of vampire flicks by female directors. Whoever has the best wifi connection shares their screen on zoom, and we chat in the comments. Would love more recommendations for films (by female directors, not necessarily vampire themed)!

    • Nigerian Girl says...

      Promising Young Woman. It’s good.

    • A says...

      Three cheers for Jennifer’s Body! Love that movie! (Also, I second Promising Young Woman, what a film!)

    • Sarah says...

      Near Dark—Kathryn Bigelow’s directorial debut was a vampire film with Western elements. Opinions may be mixed on how well the film holds up, but I found it pretty scary and it fits your theme so well. Also, I very much want to join a “vampire flicks by female directors” film club.

    • Sara S says...

      Into the Forest directed by Patricia Rozema. It stars Evan Rachel Wood and Ellen Page and is so good.

    • diana k. says...

      A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night is an AMAZING movie. Romance, mystery, kitsch. I listen to the soundtrack often.

  32. Diana says...

    I just checked the trailer for The Sun. Wow! Looks so good! Thank you for the recommendation.

  33. Kristen says...

    I seem to only watch YouTube clips of late night TV shows these days and have the idea that I can’t make time for a non-kid movie, so I felt totally busted when I watched the clip of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler at the Golden Globes joking about the difference between TV and movies: “TV is the one that I watch 5 hours straight, but a movie is the one that I don’t turn on because it’s 2 hours.”

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahaha so true!

    • Maria says...

      I laughed out loud at that part of the Golden globes. Totally busted 😅

    • Emie says...

      OMG!!! This is SO me! I’ve been trying to figure why this is?

  34. AJ says...

    I joined a movie club a few weeks ago. It’s the same idea as this – except they’re all total strangers I’ve never met in real life. One of the best things about being single long enough to start really valuing it, is how resourceful you can get in terms of meeting new people and just giving things a go with strangers. Sometimes you strike gold, sometimes you just fill some time. I’m so here for that!

  35. Hilary says...

    We have a “parents of very small children” version of this! It’s a little tech-y, but it works:
    1. Gather friends, including little people, into one zoom room. Gotta have the zoom pro, needless to say.
    2. As the host, update your share settings to share audio and click optimize for video.
    3. Play movie from Netflix or whatever streaming service you choose. With the shared screen, everyone else can watch the movie you’re showing!
    4. If you have bluetooth or Airplay on a mac, you can screencast what’s on your laptop up to your big screen! Then you can minimize the movie on your laptop and just see faces.

    We have watched many Pixar movies this way with friends and cousins who we can’t see in-person. The kids get to watch the movie on the big screen, and then they can turn to the laptop for chatting and giggling with their little buddies. It’s pretty cute :)

    Also, there is zero reason this is limited to small children, ha! If you wanted to pour some vino and all watch The Bachelor or whatever movie together with friends, you could also do that :) It’s very fun to be able to watch something and chat at the same time, like the good old days!

  36. Ray says...

    Oh, what a wonderful idea! Discuss movies in pajamas and with friends with wine included!

    I have some movies that create good conversations:
    1- “Floride” (2015) directed by Philippe Le Guay is a film with a difficult and painful theme, but everything is treated lightly and gracefully. It portrays the reality of the person who suffers from memory loss. Frenchman Claude Lherminier (Jean Rochefort) turned 80 years old and forgetting comes with age. His eldest daughter, Carole (Sandrine Kiberlain), struggles to deal with him and it all gets worse when the father makes the decision to travel to Florida.

    2 – Amour – 2012
    Georges and Anne, are retired music teachers, in their eighties, they like to attend musical shows. Accomplices, the house is the paradigm of their lives, organized, full of culture and very pleasant. However, everything changes when from one moment to the next Anne stops recognizing Georges and goes into a coma. Shortly thereafter, he wakes up and doesn’t remember anything.

    3 – Achter de Wolken – 2016 directed by Cecilia Verheyden is a passionate film that portrays love in maturity, discoveries, indecision, taboos and delights, romance in old age is a little explored subject in cinema and this gains strength by the open and sincere.
    Emma (Chris Lomme), after her husband’s death, continues her life with her daughter and granddaughter. Soon he finds an old love, the writer Gerard (Jo De Meyere), with whom he had no news for 50 years and falls in love again. She has to face the acceptance of her daughter and granddaughter, and even herself, whether or not she should love again.

    I really want to read what can result from these good club meetings. Thank You

  37. Amanda says...

    Surprised that no one has mentioned the Teleparty (formerly Netflix Party) extension on Google. I think there’s a similar service with Amazon Prime Video. It allows you to watch a movie simultaneously with a group all together and talk about it live in a chat. I’ve been doing this every Monday during quarantine with a friend and all of her friends. It’s a blast. Kind of funny, too, that I’ve never met anyone but that friend.

    • amber says...

      Probably because google is unethical with private info like your image and other bio-metrics, home interior and viewing content. Sucks all the fun out of “sharing with friends”. Other platforms allow vpn and other digital protections. I’m not an expert though so do your own research – maybe there are ways now to protect yourself from google’s data extraction strategies.

  38. à la femme qui a couché avec mon âme sœur la nuit dernière:
    Les Roses de Saadi is one of the most known works of Marceline Desbordes-Valmore and was published posthumously in 1860. Short, sweet, and somewhat nostalgic, it is up to the reader to decide if it is a love poem or not, or if should be taken for its obvious interpretation or to look for hidden meanings.

    Desbordes-Valmore, however, is known for her straightforward poems laced with melancholy and sorrowful mourning.

  39. Lauren says...

    My SILs and I do this but we watch the movies together at the same time using the teleparty extension on netflix! The best ones are movies like twilight that we’ve all seen but the running commentary is hilarious:)

  40. Geri says...

    My friend and I have been doing our “FaceTime Film Series” since 2015. We FaceTime each other and watch a movie together (and gab a lot during the movie) from our separate living rooms. For years, we just chose a favorite actor and watched one of their movies once a month. Once the pandemic hit, we moved it to every other week and brought in a third friend, and it feels extra nice to have my friends watching movies with me in my living room, even if it’s only digital.

  41. Irina says...

    My husband and I hosted a live movie club of sorts prior to COVID, many years ago. I forget the frequency now, it may have been every two weeks or once a month, but we’d pick a specific night to watch a Russian movie (with English subtitles for our non-Russian speaking friends) and invite people to come over and join us. We provided a few snacks and drinks, or dessert, and people could contribute additional food/drinks if they wished. Some nights it ended up just being the two of us, other nights it was a full house. One time my husband was away and I invited a bunch of female friends to watch an old Soviet “chick flick.” We stayed up late watching and discussing the movie and one friend ended up sleeping over. Fun memories!

  42. celeste says...

    No time for a weekly movie with two kids but I will write down some of these recommendations!

  43. K says...

    A Sun ( on Taiwanese movie) on Netflix is really good, if you liked White Tiger!

    I’ve been so out of touch with movies this past year, been watching a ton of old ones though on Netflix and Prime. I still need to see Portrait of a Lady…

    anyone have favorite movies from 2020?

    • b says...

      It’s from this year but Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom was excellent. It’s on Netflix.

    • Whitney says...

      I really enjoyed Autumn deWilde’s adaptation of Emma. Little Women is on my list of to-watch -my sister loved it!

    • Lisa says...

      I highly recommend Nomadland. But I adore Frances McDormand and could easily watch her reading the back of a Mylanta bottle for two hours and be entertained.

  44. Ceridwen says...

    My friend and I started a Movie Club in 2019 to kick of 2020. Our plan was to go to the cinema once per month. Of course, we only got a couple in then lockdown. But we zoomed during that. Now, in Australia, we can go again. We take turns choosing. I love it. We also found because we call it a club it gets locked in! No changing plans (unless lockdown!). We have had a few funny mishaps like arriving on the wrong date and seeing movie anyway with no tickets and walking into the wrong cinema part way through. Took us to the end we hadn’t just missed the very start but about 3/4s. Out of practise being out!

  45. Chris says...

    We’ve done this for more than 10 years. 122 movies so far!! We do it on a monthly basis and before COVID, would meet at someone’s house for a potluck to discuss the chosen movie. I must say that zoom just doesn’t cut it so hopefully we can meet in person again soon. We’ve gone beyond the do we like or dislike a movie. There’s been some pretty deep discussion about politics, religion, family issues and also realizing that some movies have great soundtracks.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      wow, 122 movies! that’s amazing.

  46. Susan says...

    Yes! My friends and I started one last March. It started originally as a way to gather virtually for my birthday since we couldn’t gather in person. We take turns picking the movies and it’s been fun to explore such a variety – many that I have loved but would never have picked for myself. We don’t zoom, we just have a group comment going. It’s less distracting than Zoom. It’s almost more fun than going to a theater as we couldn’t share comments real time in a theater.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh! so you watch the movie at the same time and live text? xo

    • Christine says...

      Joanna – not sure if this is what Susan is doing, but many of the streaming services have plug-ins that allow multiple viewers to chat within the platform. (Netflix uses Teleparty, for example.) So as you’re watching with friends, you’re instant messaging your real-time commentary in a chat window next to the movie–so much easier than texting, IMO. Highly recommended for re-watches of movies, light romcoms, etc. where you don’t have to really pay attention. My friends and I started doing this at the onset of the pandemic, and it has been such a balm and fun way to end each week. We’ll call out things that didn’t age well, ridiculous lines, outfit choices, tropes from the 80s, 90s etc. (and play the fun game of ‘how old was such-and-such actor’ at the time of the movie?’). In some ways, it’s better than watching while physically together because, like Susan mentioned, it’s not exactly socially acceptable to chat while watching–whereas this makes it totally possible to get in your running commentary.

    • Megan says...

      LOVE these tips!! Going to set one up soon! Earlier in the pandemic we got some friends to turn on Parasite at the same time and had a blast texting each other during it. Recommend for scarier movies too to add some levity.

    • Susan Tseng says...

      Exactly. We watch together and live text. Who would have thought we would still be watching a year later. I have a list of what we’ve watched and who chose it. It will be a pandemic memento.

    • Nanaka says...

      Hahahahaha, exactly what I do with two girlfriends! We use TeleParty to watch together on Netflix. Works like a charm!
      So far, we watched Bridgerton, some silly romantic comedies, some Korean series, … It’s really fun! :-)
      Also, it helps that everyone may play/pause the video (which is then synchronized with everyone else), which helps to get drink refills and not miss anything. Highly recommend!

  47. Reg says...

    Sweet idea! I heard a podcast interview with Esther Perel and she was talking her own movie club with friends from all over.

  48. Emily says...

    Hi Jo! My friends started a movie club at the beginning of the pandemic and it’s been such a joy to see them every other week! We actually have kept in better touch through our movie club than we used to in regular times. After we chat about the movie sometimes we play games virtually. We discovered this really fun version of online scateggories: https://really.boring.website/

    Some of the Movies we watched:
    Portrait of a Lady on Fire
    Pulp Fiction
    The Shining
    Jo Jo Rabbit
    Apocalypse Now* (We all disliked this supposed classic:))
    The Farewell
    Hamlet 2

  49. Cat says...

    We started Bad Movie Club with two other couples at the start of quarantine and also meet Wednesday at 8:30! We actually watch the movies together over zoom so we can see each other’s reactions in live time and chat over slack during the films. We’ve watched all kinds of awful movies from Road House and The Wickerman to New York Minute and Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole. The only rules are that the movie must get under 50% on Rotten Tomatoes and the person who picks has to make a themed drinking game to go with it. It’s been so hilarious and an awesome way to stay connected to friends.

    • Megan says...

      This is amazing!!

    • Emily says...

      This is great! Do you know about the podcast “how did this get made?” its some hilarious improv comics and actors talking about terrible movies (it would be a good list to pull from and fun to listen to the corresponding episode)

  50. Hannah says...

    We’ve been doing this with family, and actually watched Harold and Maude this past month! Still unsure what score out of five I would give it, though we loved the Cat Stevens soundtrack.
    So far we’ve seen Moonstruck, Citizen Kane, True Lies, Casablanca, When Harry Met Sally, Papillon (1973), and The Lost City. We watch one per month and Zoom at the end of the month to discuss and give our rating.

    • Wait, are you in my movie club?? Haha, we’ve watched most of these, too! Our most hotly debated one to date, though was actually…wait for it… Die Hard! “Is Die Hard a Christmas movie?” has kept us hotly debating at odd times through the week for months after that movie was watched by the group :)

  51. Cooper says...

    Yes! My college friends and I had a movie discussion club for years after college – we tried to watch movies with some sort of dilemma or central theme that would spark discussion and debate. One of the most memorable was our discussion following Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and whether it was moral/ethical to voluntarily erase your own memories.

  52. Quyen says...

    Ok, first, how do I find 8-10 friends?

    • Maryn says...

      This is my problem too. 😅

    • b says...

      So much this. I watch movies with my parents, but we have vastly different tastes in all things media so it can be tough to find something we’ll agree on (and that won’t leave my father bored five minutes in – he starts reading the internet and assumes my mom and I also would like a play by play of the internet).

    • Sequoia says...

      I know right!

  53. Katrina says...

    Solidarity with the loud spouses, Joanna. Mine DEAFENS me with his projected Zoom voice 😂

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahahaha

  54. Amirah says...

    My husband and I started a “coloring club” with my nieces who live in a different state. Its a fun way for us to unwind after a long day of work and hear about their day and have a chance to bond while we all color in a page or two from our respective coloring books!

    • Amirah says...

      Over facetime (I should have mentioned)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      so sweet!

  55. Emily says...

    Love this! As parents of small kids we have a hard time watching a movie (we are usually too tired by 9:45 on any night to start a full film) but I have been getting together with friends on zoom and we ask music questions:
    – If you were a famous musician playing to a huge concert, what song would you cover?
    – what’s a song that transports you to a specific place/time in your 20s
    – what is a song from the best concert you’ve been to?
    – if you could only listen to one song for a whole year what would it be?
    the questions bring out new stories and parts of each other we didn’t know even after years of friendship
    The best part is that while we chat, someone makes a spotify list of what we say, then I get to spend the week listening to our songs

  56. emily says...

    I live in Florence, Italy. I am an American. Almost a year ago, when we went into a serious lockdown/quarantine, a group of us started a Film Chat Zoom group, with a focus on classic Italian cinema. Since then – we meet every Thursday evening – we have watched and learned so much about Italian cinema, and in the process we have continued to learn more about Italian culture and history. Each week one person is the “moderator” and presents a bit of background about the film, the director and the actors. Some of us have lived here for decades. I only moved here 9 years ago. A couple of us are now “stuck” in the States, because that’s the way things have worked out. I think we would all say that this group – around 10 of us – has been one of the best things about these trying times. We have watched and discussed over 50 films. It’s been a delight!! We do look forward to continuing to meet
    face-to-face at some magical time in the future! We are hoping perhaps in the fall of this year. Fingers crossed!

    • ragazza americana says...

      Former Florentine ex-pat here, lived there for 5 years, now back in the US for 15 years already! I miss the Odeon <3 and the amazing outdoor cinemas in the summer (Italians don't love AC and think theatres are too hot in the summer, so they move outdoors to the piazzas). If I recall we had one English film every two weeks at the Odeon which I lived for — no streaming back then!

  57. Harold and Maude is a good October movie, I think! I am currently working my way through the Before Sunrise trilogy (just finished the first one!) and I am surprised at how much I enjoyed it, even though I am almost 10 years older than the characters, married, with a baby! It certainly captures a dreaminess of travel and infatuation.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oooh I loved the before sunrise trilogy! so curious to hear what you think of the next two. xo

    • Cat says...

      My husband took three weeks where we watched one of the movies from that trilogy each Friday night. It was SO wonderful to look forward to diving back into the story at the end of each busy week. Some of the best movies I’ve ever seen!

  58. Agnès says...

    I find it so hard to watch movies and read fiction, since march! Why?

    • J says...

      Me too!! And I used to find refuge in fiction.

  59. y says...

    Recently watched Minari and it was amazing! US-based viewers can screen here: https://screeningroom.a24films.com/

    Also loved Nomadland – sweeping and haunting in its quiet depth.

    • K says...

      Minari was so good! Lovely movie. Have to check out Nomadland!

  60. Caitlin says...

    Love this idea. Me and a group of friends do exactly the same thing. It is a fun way to get together and our movies follow a monthly theme for the extra challenge. These are a few that generated some great discussion:
    Baby teeth
    V for vendetta
    Pride
    Blood Quantum
    The death of Stalin

  61. Claire says...

    That sounds so fun! I would love this! Inquiring minds want to know, though, why are you and Alex in different rooms??

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahaha it’s because Alex talks SO LOUDLY on zoom that I had to banish him to our living room while I stayed in our bedroom. (he says his co-workers would agree.)

    • nadine says...

      Haha i do the same with my boyfriend when we do zoom games. I feel it’s actually more inclusive with the other people on the call, especially those that live alone. :)

  62. Louisa says...

    I cannot watch movies anymore. Is this a parents-of-young-kids thing (90 uninterrupted minutes!?) or a too-much-time-on-the-internet thing (90 minutes on one topic?!)? So cannot do the movie club.

    However: My friends started a power-point club. We each give a 5 minute zoom lecture (with power point slides!) on a topic we know well. Some are work related, some are celebrity crushes, some are bizarre trivia, some are “why my child is secretly a genius.” This is do-able!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, that is such a fun idea, Louisa!!!

    • court says...

      I have two toddlers and it’s pretty rare for me to sit down and watch a movie (that isn’t Disney LOL). So maybe it’s the small children thing, but also, these lists of movies sound SO serious and I want to use my teeny tiny amount of free time to consume lighter media, so that might be it too.

      I will say, at some point during quarantine, we watched Knives Out and it was fabulous.

  63. Beth says...

    Minari was amazing!!! Luckily a local indie theater had it on a one-week run and I caught it thanks to your rec. HIGHLY recommended!