It’s the Screens that Got Small


And that’s only because our big TV screen is a mere 42 inches, which is small by today’s home entertainment standards.

But nobody seems to mind.

We call it Guilty Pleasures Movie Night (also affectionately known as Check Your Brain at the Door Night). Once a month friends—anywhere from 10 to 30 of them—gather at our house in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, to visit and watch a movie together.

QT_oldmoviescreenPeople arrive at 6 pm, which gives us time to mingle, as well as nosh and drink and drain the bladder. By 7 pm, I start the movie. If the movie is one we’ve all seen before, such as “My Cousin Vinny,” we’ll have a brief multiple-choice quiz before we start. Otherwise, I might preface the film with a couple of minutes of trivia about the movie, lifted from the online vaults at IMDB.

My film selection requirements are simple. A chosen film must be at least five-years-old, neither a major award-winner nor too artsy, more of an upper than a downer, and mostly a film designed to entertain a diverse group of people. I must have already watched it at least once, and it’s a movie I want to not only watch again but also share with others.

The film that drew our second biggest attendance was “The Big Chill.” Twenty-five showed up that night and many of those sang along with the songs. I was not allowed to sing.

The biggest surprise hit was “Saint Ralph,” an indie movie from Canada that still ranks as one of my all-time favorite films. Everyone loved it.

Mostly, however, I show comedies and “comedy” in our house embraces many forms, from the wry (Cold Comfort Farm) to the witty (A New Leaf); the silly (Undercover Blues) to the dark (The Ref); the classic (Harold and Maude) to the contemporary (Kinky Boots)—and just about all points and films in-between. Our audience record so far is 32 for a showing of A New Leaf. Most had never seen the movie before and all enjoyed it; the movie has a witty script by Elaine May and wonderful acting by May, as well as by Walter Matthau. It’s hilarious.QT_bibliotecacartoon2

Do you hold a similar movie night at your house? If so, what movies have you shown? What is the one under-the-radar movie you love to encourage others to see? Mine is “Saint Ralph.”

Feel free to contact me if you want a complete list of my Guilty Pleasures movies, at least the ones we’ve shown so far.



  1. Mark,
    I can’t say I’ve ever hosted a movie night. I’m not a big comedy buff, but one I would recommend (I like to refer to it as the funniest movie no one has seen) is “Wonder Boys.” As far as big screens go, I can watch a good movie on a 13 inch black and white tv and enjoy it no less.

    1. I love “Wonder Boys” and think it’s a smart comedy; Michael Chabon is one of my favorite writers. And I agree about screen size and movies. I can watch any good movie on just about any sized screen and enjoy the experience. Although I prefer comedies, I love all kinds of movies, the good, the bad, and the not so pretty. However, I think some of the best storytelling is on TV these days. I just watched the British crime drama “Broadchurch” and thoroughly enjoyed it. If you have not seen it, I highly recommend it. Glad to meet another movie fan.

      1. I haven’t seen or even heard of “Broadchurch.” I’ll keep an eye out for it. My brother might be familiar with it. He watches a lot of BBC. One TV series I like is “The Bridge.” I believe the second season is set to resume in July. It stars German born actress, Diane Kruger. She had a small part in “Inglorious Bastards.”

  2. Of the ones you mention, I’ve seen only The Big Chill and Harold and Maude. If I ever get around to figuring out how to hook up the Roku that I bought, I’ll have to check out some of the others. Meanwhile, it’s just going out to the movie theater every weekend if I can manage it. I like just getting away from everything, sitting in dark room, and eating popcorn for 2 hours.

    1. Yes. I found it so inspiring that after the movie I stopped by the local adult book store and bought a knock-off (no pun intended; all right, intended) version of the same toy. Actually, I enjoyed the movie. It was a rare combination of quirky and sensitive, not to mention funny. Did you see the movie “Nebraska?”

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