Miss the cinema? Want to know how to set up your very own Lockdown Movie Night? Look no further.

Covid-19 has ruined much of 2020; jobs lost, businesses closed, events postponed… Even cinema has been terribly impacted by the closure of many cinemas and a range of exciting blockbusters’ releases postponed. The impact has been devastating.

However, since it’s always good to look on the bright side of life, one positive is we have a chance to put our feet up and catch up on some films we missed, have always been meaning to watch (for me recently it was Chinatown) or to revisit some old favourites. But how can we really capture the magic of cinema from home…? Here’s our top ten tips on having your very own Lockdown Movie Night.

  1. Have a Game Plan

When you go to the cinema, you expect them to have everything sorted – you need to as well. No interruptions, no expecting deliveries, make sure timings work, go to the bathroom in advance. You’re getting the proper cinema experience – no pausing, no getting up. Plan ahead!

2. Make it more than just a movie – make it Date Night

Sure, you can head out to the cinema just to watch a movie. And yes, of course it can be casual. But it’s not always. Sometimes the best cinema experiences are when it’s all part of an event! Have a special fancy meal, make themed drinks, leave time to chat about the movie afterwards.

3. Invite your friends for more than just a Breakfast Club

Everywhere in the world has different restrictions so this can be a hard one. Ideally, it’d be great to invite over a handful of friends or family. But, failing that, there are alternatives; Netflix Party allows you and your friends to synchronise video playback and chat to your friends as you watch. Or you can Zoom or phone people who watched the same film to chat about it afterwards. The social aspect doesn’t have to die.

4. Snuggle under a blanket for Warm Bodies

An advantage of having movie nights at home rather than out at the cinema is the comfort of your own home. Lay out on the couch, put your feet up, snuggle under your favourite, cosiest blanket… just don’t get so comfortable you fall asleep!

4. Get dark so you’re not Blinded by the Light

Nothing ruins the cinematic atmosphere like daylight streaking through a window or the blare of a lamp reflecting off the TV screen. Close the curtains, turn off a few lights, maybe light up a few candles for alternate mood lighting.

6. Every Cinema Paradiso needs a large screen

There’s a reason cinemas have big screens. There’s a reason we love going to see films with spectacles in IMAX. And we shouldn’t ignore that here. TVs are expensive and that can be an issue… but, hey – we can all sit a little bit closer. Our eyes won’t really turn square if we sit too close to the TV… right?

7. Visit Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory for a sweet tooth

Snacks at the cinema are infamous. Delicious they may well be, but they come at a price, both nutritional and financial. We’ll all admit they’re a rip-off and I’m willing to bet we’ve all snuck a few cheaper snacks into a screening rather than pay for an over-priced packet of Malteasers. Fortunately, snacks are much cheaper to have at home and you don’t have to sneak them in! Plus there’s even more freedom! Popcorn, chocolate, sweets – sure! Fancy something utterly bizarre? A watermelon, maybe? Go for it! No one’s judging this time.

8. Allow The Producers to entice you

I like to allow time to get to the cinema in time, but I’m always safe in the knowledge that, if ever I’m running a little late, I’ve got extra time until the film starts because of the trailers… but, let’s face it, we like the trailers! Sometimes, depending on the film, they can be the best part! Most TVs have YouTube now – what else would you use them for? Add a trailer playlist to your Lockdown Movie Night to decide what film to watch next!

9. Don’t get trapped in a Phone Booth

It’s become cliché now. Someone vaguely recognisable – from an actor to a Minion – will come out on your screen and give you their own (often comical) spin on the ‘no phones’ rule. And rightly so. Put your phone away. No texts, no calls. Put it on silent. And I know you might recognise so-and-so from that film… but wait until later to check IMDb!

10. Make sure you’re in A Quiet Place

Similar to the phone rule, respect everyone watching the film – even if it’s just you. Nothing ruins a film’s carefully built atmosphere more than some bozo blurting out stupid, inane comments or asking a question. ‘Who’s that?’ ‘What are they doing?’ These people just don’t realise that sometimes the easiest way to find out the answers to these questions isn’t by asking, but by watching the damn film! So please, just watch it.

And enjoy!

The cinemas will be back open one day, but for now don’t let the reels stop rolling!

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