Man, I miss movie theaters. Do you, too? There’s just something about groups of folks coming together to experience the same piece of art en masse that really does it for me. Lucky for us, the American Film Institute (AFI) has a new feature to help scratch this groupmind movie itch — introduced by American film master Steven Spielberg.
It’s called the AFI Movie Club. Every day, a new, classic film will be chosen for film fans across the world to enjoy virtually, and as we all watch it together, the AFI provides behind-the-scenes trivia, special guest correspondence, discussion questions for the whole family, and a general feeling of artistic camaraderie. Today’s film, the first of the club? There is likely not a more perfect choice than The Wizard of Oz, that sepia-to-Technicolor classic starring Judy Garland. As Spielberg put it in his introductory video, filmed with a French Doctor Zhivago poster in the background, of course, “Now I know you think you’ve seen it, but please think again because right now, at this moment in our history, what better message is there than, ‘There’s no place like home’?”
If you want to watch along, check out the AFI Movie Club right here, boot up Wizard of Oz on your favorite streaming service, and enjoy these trivia tidbits (I didn’t know its director also made Gone with the Wind the same year! What a year!). Check out Spielberg’s full introduction below — alongside a retrospective from Garland’s daughters Liza Minnelli and Lorna Luft. For more on how to stay sane during this pandemic, may I interest you in some Birds of Prey?