Themed movie nights can be as fun for couples and roommates as they can be for any other planned party, complete with invitations! There are as many themes to be had as there are kinds of movies, including action comedies, tear-jerkers, buddy movies, martial arts, and the films of Jim Carrey’s early career, to name just a few.
What’s that, you want me to name more themes? Okay, how about a Saturday Night Live cast movie night, an arthouse film night with nothing but Fellini pictures, or black and white movies with a wholesome message and a happy ending? How about musicals with a heavy emphasis on tap dancing, spaghetti westerns, or movies whose characters were early computer nerds?
The latest craze to sweep family rooms, college campuses, and apartments across the land are generation-themed movie nights. Not only are these movies fun, but they’re also educational. Watching movies of a particular generation gives you the opportunity to learn more about the culture of that generation, and maybe you’ll gain insight into why they believe what they believe. But don’t get too analytical; this isn’t history class. The important thing about any themed movie night is to consume popcorn and have fun.
First, let’s look at the breakdown of generations. According to Wikipedia, here is a list along with the years people from that generation were born:
- The Silent Generation: 1928 - 1945
- Baby Boomers: 1946 - 1964
- Generation X: 1965 - 1980
- Millennials: 1981 - 1996
- Generation Z: 1997 - 2010
- Generation Alpha: 2011 - 2025
For the purposes of fun movie nights, we’re going to stick to the categories of Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z.
The “OK, Boomer!” Party
The movies to watch at a Baby Boomer-themed party are what you would consider the Hollywood classics. Ideally, you would pick movies that were released between the 1950s to the 1970s. Your party could focus on movies in a particular subject classification such as World War II, relationships, glamour, rebelling against societal norms, or crime in a noir setting. You could even include Forrest Gump in this section because, although it was released in the 1990s, it focuses on the Boomer generation. Technically, some of the movies from the 1950s would be more fitting for a Silent Generation-themed party, but no one is grading you on this.
The Gen X Party
Generation X takes you into a world that starts in the 1980s and lasts through the angsty early 1990s. There was actually a movie called Generation X, by the way. It was released in 1996, although it was more of a spinoff of the X-Men franchise and less of a guide to navigating grunge and angst. Movies that got deep into the nitty gritty of Gen X culture include Reality Bites, Slacker, Singles, Kids, Boyz n the Hood, and Suburbia. But don’t forget earlier movies that fall into this category: The Breakfast Club and Heathers come to mind.
The Millennial Party
Any generation that gets to claim The Big Lebowski makes for a great generation-themed movie party. Other movies to consider are Friday, Titanic, American Pie, Donnie Darko, Fight Club, and Cruel Intentions, plus animated movies such as Toy Story and Shrek. Don’t forget that the Fast and Furious, Harry Potter, and Spiderman franchises started in the early 2000s.
The Gen Z Party
Since movies from this generation’s time period are more recent, this theme often gets overlooked. But a Generation Z-themed party would get to lay claim to the Avengers movies, which could totally turn into an Avenger-themed movie party.
Once you’ve selected the movies you’re going to watch - and this could be as easy as a streaming service search - you should consider if you want to get costumes involved. How much more fun would it be to watch Reality Bites in a flannel shirt and Doc Martens boots? Or Blair Witch Project facing a wall in the corner? Just kidding, but spooky, right? Theme nights are not only a great excuse to throw a party, but they also help you to stop scrolling through the available movies on Netflix and just pick one already. Use your imagination, have fun, and don’t forget the popcorn!
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