Fun things don't have to be good
October 17, 2020 1:03 PM   Subscribe

I'm hosting an outdoor, socially distanced movie-screening in my back yard. It's one week away, and I still haven't picked out a movie. Snowflakes within!

So at this point I've basically invited my friends to sit in 6-ft-apart pods in my backyard to stare at a wall and eat Halloween candy. Better than covid isolation, but could be way more fun.
Here are my movie requirements:
-Under 2hrs
-No racism, homophobia, transphobia, even if the character being phobic is a "bad guy". (i'll have a mixture of identities here and it's better for everyone to just not have to worry about managing their trauma to have fun)
-likewise, no heavy gore, dead animals, rape, violent misogyny
-for my own personal comfort, no sex scenes, or at least no long and loud ones. I have to live around these neighbors for a while
-fun! It's too much pressure to find a movie that a bunch of people will think is Good. fun is more important
-easy to follow along
-in English

Honestly I would just wish that most people hadn't already seen Ready or Not. Its a little heavy on the gore, but it has a exuberant ending and it fits the season. Hotel Artemis was equally fun. Hunt for the Wilderpeople and the 2014 horror-comedy Housebound are similar to what I'm looking for. Doesn't have to be horror or Halloween-y, but it'd be cooler if it was.
posted by FirstMateKate to Media & Arts (32 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Mean Girls? Funny and a happy ending.
posted by Bella Donna at 1:13 PM on October 17

“Tremors” would work.
posted by ShooBoo at 1:14 PM on October 17 [8 favorites]

I'd suggest something that people have seen, so there's no unpleasant surprises, but like a 'well-loved classic'. Some kinds of older, family-friendly choices like Ghostbusters, Back to the Future, Galaxy Quest, Indiana Jones, Little Shop Of Horrors, Star Wars (the first one!)...
posted by The otter lady at 1:15 PM on October 17 [10 favorites]

Jaws is my 'comfort Halloween' movie that I watch while waiting for trick or treaters. Most of the violence is implied (though there are a couple of gore moments), and a triumphant ending.
posted by lovecrafty at 1:22 PM on October 17 [1 favorite]

Oh, and maybe What We Do in the Shadows and/or Tucker and Dale vs Evil? Both delightful horror/comedies, but they might be a little too gory.
posted by lovecrafty at 1:24 PM on October 17 [4 favorites]

Groundhog Day.
posted by slateyness at 1:24 PM on October 17 [2 favorites]

Beetlejuice seems like an obvious one to me
posted by emjaybee at 1:29 PM on October 17 [16 favorites]

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the movie, not the TV show) is an hour and a half and very campy. How can you go wrong with Pee Wee Herman as a scenery-chewing vampire?
posted by pangolin party at 1:31 PM on October 17 [1 favorite]

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (the Ben Stiller version)
posted by alchemist at 2:01 PM on October 17

The Princess Bride. It's inconceivable you'd show anything different.
posted by anadem at 2:04 PM on October 17 [15 favorites]

Nightmare before christmas, and encourage people to sing along? you could print up and hand out lyric sheets!
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 2:32 PM on October 17 [7 favorites]

If witty musical numbers, slapstick physical comedy, affectionate genre parody, running jokes that get funnier with each repetition, and a happy ending sound good, and if you've got a crowd that will put up with a classic movie, then the film you want just might be The Court Jester.

Just remember: the pellet with the poison's in the vessel with the pestle. The chalice from the palace has the brew that is true.
posted by Nerd of the North at 3:21 PM on October 17 [11 favorites]

I hosted outdoor movies in my backyard all summer. It was great to see my friends, and it was clear that my friends also enjoyed having people to socialize with in person in a socially distanced way. The best movie for socializing on my roster last summer was the Talking Heads’ Stop Making Sense. Fun flick, great music, but also non narrative, so people could chat and catch up while the film was running and it wasn’t a horrid imposition on everyone else.
posted by Sublimity at 3:38 PM on October 17

Clue? I feel like Clue is a good fun movie that most people wouldn’t have have seen recently and (as far as my memory serves) is not -phobic towards anything in specific?
posted by kellygrape at 3:50 PM on October 17 [4 favorites]

Tim Burton's Frankenweenie is not as well known as Nightmare Before Christmas but I like it. It's about a boy and his dog that dies and is brought back to life. It started out as a short and was expanded later to a movie. It's a kid's movie but well done enough to keep adult's attention.
posted by stray thoughts at 4:04 PM on October 17 [1 favorite]

Has no one said Hocus Pocus yet?
posted by wellifyouinsist at 4:07 PM on October 17 [6 favorites]

Brendan Fraser's version of The Mummy
posted by Constance Mirabella at 4:10 PM on October 17 [5 favorites]

It's not in English but I I'll recommend it anyways since it's tied with Housebound as my all time favorite horror-comedy: One Cut of the Dead
posted by mannequito at 4:18 PM on October 17

It's just over 2 hours, but I recently watched and enjoyed Knives Out. While it is a murder mystery, I thought it was fun and funny. As I remember, the gore was very minimal despite the whole "murder mystery" thing.

Or Clue, as mentioned above.
posted by litera scripta manet at 4:53 PM on October 17 [6 favorites]

The tall ship I used to work on would regularly show Captain Ron as a big 'hang out on the deck and project it onto the galley' event. It stars Kurt Russell at his Kurt Russell-iest, Martin Short plays the straight man incredibly well, and frankly it's the best film about working on a boat I've ever seen in my life. It's genuinely funny and very early 90's while managing to avoid the various -ism's endemic in 90's comedies.
The only thing that's a little iffy is that the daughter is really clearly there less as a character and more as a pretty woman who doesn't wear very much clothing, but it's more eye-roll-y than anything else. And she does get things to do eventually!
posted by kalimac at 5:48 PM on October 17

If you will consider animated films then maybe The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Coraline, or Monster House.
posted by gudrun at 5:48 PM on October 17

Black and White Classic Halloween Murder Farce: Arsenic and Old Lace
80's Retro: The Goonies, Lost Boys
"I'm not killing people. I'm killing boys.": Jennifer's Body
Wow, these edibles are really kicking in: The Haunting (1999)
Legit Suspense! : Grand Piano
Supposed to be Camp, but actually Nightmare Fuel: Creepshow
posted by bartleby at 7:05 PM on October 17 [1 favorite]

Coming back to add The Addams Family (1991 movie).
posted by gudrun at 7:49 PM on October 17 [2 favorites]

Into the Spider-verse, baby. A total blast and, uhhh.... could theoretically pass as a Halloween movie since so many characters are in costume!
posted by caitcadieux at 9:18 PM on October 17 [2 favorites]

I think it might need to be pre-screened to see if it's too gory but Attack the Block might work. Or maybe Super 8 or Midnight Special?
posted by fiercekitten at 10:31 PM on October 17 [1 favorite]

Seconding Knives Out & Clue.
On the comedy side:
Shaun of the Dead
Happy Death Day (Groundhog Day if it were a horror movie maybe a bit too much on the gore)
Murder by Death
The Craft
Practical Magic
Susie Q- Wildcard Older Disney movie in which a teen has to help a ghostly Amy Jo Johnson with her unfinished business - has an upbeat ending and is available for free on Youtube
posted by Champagne Supernova at 12:46 AM on October 18 [1 favorite]

Lambada: The Forbidden Dance
posted by johngoren at 5:10 AM on October 18

There can be some gore in these. Check reviews to see if they meet your criteria.

Abbott and Costello Meet... series: Frankenstein (1948), The Killer, Boris Karloff (1949), The Invisible Man (1951), The Vampire (1951), Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1951)
Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954) and sequels
Tarantula! (1955) and The Deadly Mantis (1957)
The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (1966) and The Reluctant Astronaut (1967)
Young Frankenstein (1974)
Ghostbusters (1984), Ghostbusters II (1989) and Ghostbusters (2016)
Fright Night (1985)
Teen Wolf (1985)
The Lost Boys (1987)
Beetlejuice (1988)
High Spirits (1988)
Arachnophobia (1990)
Ghost (1990)
Tremors (1990) and sequels
The Addams Family (1991) and Addams Family Values (1993)
The Frighteners (1996)
Sleepy Hollow (1999)
Eight-Legged Freaks (2002)
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Zombieland (2009) and Zombieland: Double Tap (2019)
Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (2010)
Warm Bodies (2013)
posted by TrishaU at 6:23 AM on October 18 [1 favorite]

My wife and I just watched the 2019 Addams Family (the CGI one) and were pleasantly surprised. It's very similar in feel to the (much-beloved and also recently rewatched) early 90s movies, but it may be one your guests haven't seen. Honestly, if it were me I'd source all three of them and take a vote. They're all good.
posted by restless_nomad at 6:52 AM on October 18

A musical is a great idea and hand out the lyrics. It might be good to pick a musical many people know the songs to. If your DVD includes subtitles, you could turn them on for the songs! Not many have a halloween theme, tho.
posted by tmdonahue at 7:00 AM on October 18

I'm having a very small outdoor movie party for my son's birthday next weekend and was looking for similar movies, although skewed more kid-friendly for 9-10 year olds. Just yesterday I saw that the remake of The Witches is coming out on 10/22 and it looks perfect! A little scary but not overly so, Halloween-adjacent, and we all love the original version, but this one is new so nobody will have seen it. It will be streaming on HBO max.
posted by Jemstar at 7:20 AM on October 18

Tremors is exactly what you're looking for.
posted by bile and syntax at 8:44 AM on October 18

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