Making it Reel: How to Start Your Own Movie Club

movieA number of years ago a friend suggested that we start a movie club.  I had been a member of a book club in the past but sometimes had trouble finishing books in time for the meetings, particularly if I didn’t enjoy a book.  With a movie club there is little to do in advance as members watch the feature together and then discuss what they watched afterwards.  It also helps that I’m a film fanatic and love watching movies of all genres and from all eras!

The movie club that I belong to just had its ten year anniversary (hard to believe!) and we’re still going strong!  In terms of starting a movie club, there is no right or wrong way to begin.  However, I’ll fill you in on ways that we’ve run our movie club over the last ten years:

Number of participants.  We have 6 members in our movie club mostly because 6 people can sit comfortably in all of our homes (we rotate hosting duties).  In the past we would get together for both dinner and a movie which could be difficult with additional members.  However, if you’re comfortable with more members, go for it!

Food.  When we first began the movie club, it was more like a dinner/indian foodmovie club, where the host would serve dinner first and then we’d watch a movie.  We did this for the first 6 years or so, until people wanted it to be a bit more low-key and serve snacks only.  Dinner and a movie can be kind of fun as you can then cook a meal that matches your movie in some way.  For instance, you could show the movie Monsoon Wedding and serve an Indian feast.  Or you could show a British movie and cook shepherd’s pie and trifle.  The possibilities as to how you can pair movies and food are endless!  We even once paired an activity with a movie where the host picked The Big Lebowski, and we went out for pizza and bowling first to set the tone!

mildredWhich movies?  Over the years, the host has typically selected the movie and could pick any movie at all.  It didn’t matter whether the host had seen the movie previously or not.  Sometimes I picked old favorites, sometimes I selected movies that were on my ‘to-view’ list.  I’ve picked Mildred Pierce, Belle de Jour, Diabolique, Lost Highway (among others) and other film club members have selected titles such as Capturing the Friedmans, The Virgin Spring, Network and Faces.  We had many lively discussions about the movies afterwards, but often the host would do a bit of research on their selected movie prior to movie club.  There are many great books to consult for movie ideas and information on those picks.

Last year, we decided to change the format a bit.  Every member of the moviecult club takes a turn picking a theme, and then for the next 6 months all the movie selections have to fit that theme.  The first theme we did was Canadian movies, and we watched some interesting movies that I might otherwise not have seen (such as Guy Maddin’s Brand Upon the Brain). Currently, the theme that we’re doing is cult movies.  When it was my turn to host I showed a double feature with Rock’n Roll High School and John Water’s Polyester.  Another movie club member recently showed Withnail and I as her selection.  The library has several great books on cult film that provided us with discussion ideas as well as ideas for movies to show.  500 Essential Cult Movies, 101 Cult Movies You Must See Before You Die and the classic Cult Films  were books that I looked through when picking my films.

If you’re interested in movies and want to start your own film club, I hope I’ve given you some ideas about how to go about starting one.  If you’re interested in the idea of a club, but not so keen to start your own, the library also has a film club that you can attend!  The NFB (National Film Board) film club takes place at several WPL locations- check out our newsletter for more information!

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