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How to Start a 'Memory Lane' Movie Club

July 22, 2020

It's like book club, but for your favorite movies.

After months of quarantine, the loneliness quotient is spiking across every demographic. We miss the connection of friends and family, the closeness of long conversations and making new memories. Time apart does not mean that we have to grow distant. The Memory Lane Movie Club can help you build connections and conversations during dark times. Consider the club a new type of virtual social event to bond over movies that make our lives happier and celebrate the themes that endure over the years.

The Memory Lane Movie Club is a chance to get to know your "squad" even better. Do you know the name of your grandmother's favorite movie? Or the movie that prompted dad to propose? Movies mean so much to us, and this is an opportunity to share the ones that have shaped us. As we search for new ways to build connections and combat loneliness, movies can offer a platform for deeper connection and understanding. Here are the steps to launch your movie club:

Think Big Tent When Inviting Members

Identify your club members: Select friends and family members to join in the fun. Think broadly and inclusively: Who might need a boost? Do you know anyone living alone who would especially enjoy a weekly conversation? Rather than just “the usual suspects," consider a wide range of ages and from across your social sphere. Inclusiveness will make the club — and conversations — more rewarding.

Set a Time and Platform to View and Discuss

Club meetings can take shape in many different ways, thanks to technology. Offer your club accessible options like weekly video chats, or on-going conversations via Facebook groups, WhatsApp or a blog. New browser extensions and in-app features now offer real-time “watch party" chats for YouTube, Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime.

Create a Customized Club Watch List

Now that you have your movie squad convened, the next step is to decide what films to watch. Following are category prompts to encourage a compelling queue and accompanying questions to ensure meaningful conversations. But you should follow this golden rule: No judgments, complaints or criticisms of club members' suggestions. The goal is to foster connection, not criticism.

Choose a Movie That Defined your Generation

Start with an easy prompt. Club members will know the exact movies that captured their generation's zeitgeist. Are your folks children of the 1960s? Perhaps they would pick  The Graduate (Hulu). If your club's cohort consists of '80s kids, they might recall Fast Times at Ridgemont High (Cox On Demand) or The Breakfast Club (STARZ) as the epitome of their youth on the silver screen. Regardless of age, have fun going down memory lane together!

Questions to explore:

  • What has changed since you watched as a younger person?
  • What are your thoughts about the clothes, mindset and challenges of the era?
  • What was your fondest memory of that time?

Choose a Movie or Character Tied to a Personal Experience

Did a movie ever “just get you"? Use this open-ended prompt to garner a wide range of answers and start insightful conversations. Be especially kind and encouraging to responses from this category. 

The movie selections can reveal a surprising depth and powerful conversations will ensue. If Jerry Maguire (Cox On Demand) reminds a nephew of the challenges of starting a new solo venture, or Boyhood (Cox On Demand) evokes memories of family life — ask if there is a specific scene or monologue that epitomizes the experience. Take the opportunity to learn more about your friends and family through the magic of film.

Questions to explore:

  • What about this movie — or character — speaks to you?
  • How has that connection evolved since your first viewing?
  • What would you say to the main character, with lessons from today?
  • What is your favorite scene or plot point?

Choose a Movie That Marked a Memorable Time in Life

Films can mark important moments in our lives, and this conversation starter will help you access memories that might otherwise go uncovered. How else would you learn that Singles brings back memories of grunge and bold life choices for Mom? Or discover that grandma's first movie date as a teen was seeing Charade starring Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant? Get a peek into the past and explore the memories a theme song can evoke.

Questions to explore:

  • What is the strongest memory of this movie?
  • What was happening in your life when you first watched this movie?
  • What did you think of the film at the time?
  • How does this film stand the test of time?

What's Your All-Time Favorite Film?

Everyone has watched their most beloved movie a few dozen or more times over the years. We view stories again and again for comfort and support — sometimes for sheer joy. This category explores the movies that sustain us, from modern pop-culture classics like Dirty Dancing (Amazon), The Secret Life of Bees (STARZ), Poetic Justice (Cox On Demand) and Titanic (Cox On Demand) to hyper-personal fan-favorites. Regardless of genre and era, the all-time favorite prompt shines a light on what matters most to the viewer.

Questions to explore:

  • What do you love most about this film?
  • What aspects move you to watch it again and again?
  • How has it shaped you over the years?

Harness the Power of Movie to Bring Us Together

During this challenging time, we're all seeking ways to brighten our days and affirm a sense of community. Your Memory Lane Movie Club can spark that connection through movies and create personal, honest conversations and make memories of a shared experience that will last a lifetime.

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