So what to watch?

Well ultimately that is up to you, but I always like to play into the crowd. If your guest list mostly consists of film buffs then I like to play the classics, but if your friends are more of a sci-fi crowd then pick something that they will enjoy. Here are a few movie suggestions to get you started.

I am a sucker for the classics so trying to pick my top five was a bust. How about my top seven favorite classics instead?

  • The Godfather: Part 1 (1972) & II (1974)
  • Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
  • Casablanca (1942)
  • Psycho (1960)
  • Rear Window (1954)
  • Citizen Kane (1941)
  • The Wizard of Oz (1939)

I love Disney movies and my favorites for a movie night are The Lion King (classic), Wall-E, Finding Nemo (two of my favorite Pixar flicks) and one of the newer ones, Inside Out.

 For a mystery movie it depends on what kind of tone you want to set for the night. If you want more fantasy go with Inception. If it feels like a sci-fi night then check out Interstellar. If you want your mystery to involve some drama then go for Gone Girl or for something more crime-based pop in The Secret in Their Eyes.

If you love drama films as much as I do, the list of options can be daunting. Aside from the go-to films (like There Will Be Blood or One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest) there are a lot of choices. If you like biography I suggest The Wolf of Wall Street or Into the Wild. If your guests want a drama but you want a romance check out A Beautiful Mind. Looking for a night of action and adventure? Look into Saving Private Ryan, Apocalypse Now or The Grand Budapest Hotel. The Dark Knight, Pulp Fiction, Goodfellas, The Silence of the Lambs, Fargo and Memento are great if you are drawn to crime dramas. For more of a thrill check out The Revenant, The Dark Knight Rises, The Imitation Game, Scarface and Kill Bill: Vol. 1.

If fantasy and sci-fi are more your thing then check out dramas like Lord of the Rings or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Or if you want something lighter try Back to the Future. For a night packed with action I suggest Terminator, The Matrix and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Interested in a sci-fi crime film? Watch A Clockwork Orange.

For scary movies I suggest The Shining, The Sixth Sense, Shutter Island, Jaws and The Ring.

I hope this gives you guys a few ideas on what to show at your next movie night!

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Decor

movie_set_upMake sure that you projector, screen and speakers are the focal point of the space. This can be as simple as a white sheet on an old clothesline or taping a large sheet of white butcher paper or foam core to the garage door or fence.

When it comes to seating, you have options. I like to provide director’s chairs, lawn chairs and bean bags for my guests. If you only have a few, ask your friends to bring some.

Instantly make the whole space feel classier with a large rug. Set this down as a sort of guide of where guests should sit. If you do not want to move your big living room rug, use an old bedspread. Not only will this add to the atmosphere but it will keep your guests (and your stuff) off of the grass.

I like to have a basket of quilts for guests to keep cozy and tons of pillows.  The big floor pillows are great to sit / lay on and the average sofa pillows are perfect for stacking behind your head.

If you feel like the space is missing something, use a vintage reel, clapboard or a megaphone as accents. If you want something simpler use vintage globe string lights to add a soft glow to your party and have a few sparklers and/or glow sticks laying around. But do not keep the area too lit up because the darker the space the brighter the screen will appear.

Concession Stand

Even if you just want a casual night with friends, don’t cheat them and yourself out of some flavorful food. Set up a concession stand in your kitchen or on a nearby bar cart.

Use this sample menu to help get you started:

Drinks

Mix glass bottled soda and izze drinks with waters to give your guests some options. Don’t want to break the bank or cheat your diet? Buy the 100 calorie sodas at your grocery store. Top it off with these cute straws and you are good to go.13721887

Oriental Trading Movie Night Paper Straws

(http://www.orientaltrading.com/movie-night-paper-straws-a2-13721887.fltr)

Movie

(Find the chalk tumbler at Pier 1. Shown: Wedgwood Bone China Plate, vintage silverware, crystal glass and gold placemat)

Food

For food I like to go for things I can get at the theater. Such staples like nachos but don’t forget about extra surprises like ice-cream bars, s’mores, and pretzels. If you know that your guests love a certain type of candy (Junior Mints, M&M, Twizzlers, etc.) than buy a pack or two and set it up like a concession stand.

But do not forget about the popcorn bar. Whether you grab a package of Orville Redenbacher or you buy a popcorn machine (see below), be sure to add a fun twist. This can be as simple as buying striped popcorn bags on Etsy or you can go all out and have a popcorn bar. Have various toppings for your popcorn sitting out such as butter, salt and white cheddar.

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(http://www.kohls.com/product/prd-2568649/kalorik-healthy-hot-air-popcorn-maker.jsp?color=White)

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(http://www.kohls.com/product/prd-865512/great-northern-all-star-4-oz-popcorn-machine-cart.jsp)

The popcorn machine goes perfect with a bar cart. A cart is the perfect way to set up a few snacks without having to make several trips back and forth to the kitchen. The different levels are also a great storage solution for baskets filled with candy and chips.

For an extra bonus you can add a marquee letter to the cart. You can find these fun letters at Kohl’s and Michaels. They are battery operated (no annoying wires) and they offer just enough light without distracting your friends from the screen.