We could all list dozens of things the past two years have stolen from us, dozens of ways the state of our world has shocked, disappointed, or changed us. And I am not here to diminish that. But, I do want to share something the last couple of years has given me (in addition to curbside pickup, which is the delight of my life on a weekly basis).
A couple weeks after our nation shut down in 2020, I read an article about a browser extension that allowed friends separated by distance to watch movies together. Originally called Netflix Party (now renamed Teleparty, as it can be used with multiple streaming services), it synched screens and provided a place to chat. Essentially, it gave us a way to hang out, even when we couldn’t leave our homes. I downloaded the extension and threw out an invitation to my Facebook group. I wasn’t sure if anyone would be interested or if it would be fun at all.
It turns out several ladies were interested and it was a lot of fun! So much fun that we did it the next week and the next week and the next 90+ weeks after that.
For the past nearly 100 weeks, I’ve been hosting Wednesday Movie Night for anyone who wants to join. Most weeks it’s the same core group of women who have become some of my favorite and closest friends, but for now at least, I’m keeping it open to all members of The Couch Facebook Group. Every Wednesday night, we “meet” up online to watch a movie—great ones and not-so-great ones (which are honestly sometimes the most fun). And while the movie plays on the left side of our screens, we fill the chat box on the right with commentary on the movie and, more importantly, updates on our lives—our jobs, our families, our health, our hearts. Sometimes the chat flows so fast it’s hard to read it all before the words scroll up on their own, and sometimes we’re actually so engrossed in the movies that the chat box is quiet for several minutes at a time.
But never for long. After all, we need to repeat our favorite lines, point out our favorite background artwork, roll our eyes at the movie’s Chad, and raise our fists in solidarity and support for the fierce female characters we are now 100% in love with.
I look forward to Wednesday Movie Night every night of the week that’s not Wednesday, and I’ll be forever grateful to these horribly hard times for bringing us virtual movie nights. In addition to the friendships that have enriched my life enormously, movie nights have given me an excuse to watch tons of fun movies. Here are my favorites from 2021…
The 10 Best Virtual Movie Night Picks from 2021
- Austenland: Yes, the one from 2013 starring Keri Russell. Most of us hadn’t seen it, and it was delightful!
- Everybody’s Talking About Jamie: I wasn’t sure what to expect from this musical about a British teen who wants to be a drag queen, but it was moving and lovely.
- He’s All That: Did this gender-swapped remake star a YouTube star and Rachel Leigh Cook in a role other than grown-up Lanie Boggs? Yes, yes, it did. Did we love every second of it anyway? Also yes.
- Love Hard: The holiday movie is where Netflix really shines, and this year was no exception. Even though it was described as a rom-com about catfishing, this very funny movie had heart and I look forward to watching it again!
- Moxie: Teen girls inspired by mom’s riot grrrrl days (including both music and cause). If you think I didn’t pump my fist for Girl Power while watching this one, you don’t know me very well at all.
- POMS: Unlikely friends come together, plus a dance routine? This movie about women in a retirement village is a couple years old and we loved it so much!
- Resort to Love: Give me all the Christina Milian romantic comedies, Netflix. All of ’em!
- Single All the Way: This new holiday movie was my number one of the holiday movie season. Gay leading characters who were complex and so very likeable, a loving family, Jennifer Coolidge doing her Jennifer Coolidge thing—this one had it all, and we loved watching it.
- Skater Girl: Oh, that’s right. Sometimes we do movies with subtitles. (Not often, but sometimes.) This movie about a girl in India learning to skateboard was inspiring and lovely.
- Sylvie’s Love: This period romance had a fantastic cast, wardrobe, soundtrack, and story. It was a bit more dramatic than I tend to like, but I’ve thought about it over and over since watching it.
And a shout-out to California Christmas and The Kissing Booth 3, which were absolutely atrocious and a complete blast to watch! (Sometimes Netflix gives us real gems, so good you can’t believe they weren’t released in the theater. And then, other times, they do not.)
If you’d like to join me for Wednesday Night Movies, head over to The Couch Facebook Group.