Philadelphia Movie Club

For over two years now I've been running a Meetup group called Philadelphia Movie Club. This past Sunday was our latest event and the theme was Depictions of Mental Illness. We discussed Take Shelter and I Am Not a Serial Killer.

We don't watch the movies together, we decide on them ahead of time - that is to say, I decide - and watch them each on our own. Its like a book club, but for movies, because I like movies and talking about movies.

The group always does a brainstorm session on themes each time we get together but its deceptively difficult. And we've been going so long now sometimes I worry we'll run out of themes that are feasible. From each theme I create a poll, so for a theme to be viable I need to be able to get a list together. Sometimes I get some help with movie suggestions but mostly I've gotta find them on my own.

I spend hours working on each theme. First with the initial research to see if it seems like its something I can work with. Then putting together, usually, a very long list. I check on availability on streaming platforms - since this guarantees everyone's access to the movies. Once that knocks a few movies off the list - often including some that I'm really excited about - I go on the search for trailers. I provide links to these when I post up the poll, and then members vote to help me gauge interest in the individual movies.

Our next event will be our second installment of Nicolas Cage movies. We've done a few themes based around a specific person and Nic Cage kept being brought up, mostly as a joke. But then I looked through his movies and there are a lot of truly great movies. I was moved to decide that we wouldn't settle for 2 movies and one event, but 2 movies per event for as many events as we feel like it. They also give me a bit of a buffer for researching themes.

Over time we've gotten a great group of regulars together. We have a lot of different likes and dislikes on movies, enough varying opinions to keep things interesting all this time and for a long while more, I imagine.

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