Movie Guru: Recapture a sense of event with Lionsgate's Friday night live streams |

Movie Guru: Recapture a sense of event with Lionsgate’s Friday night live streams

The 2016 musical drama "La La Land" captivated audiences with it's swinging soundtrack and realistic love story.
© Lionsgate

Since we can’t go out to the movies, Lionsgate wants to bring the movies to us.

Starting this Friday and continuing every Friday until May 8, the studio is livestreaming its most popular films on YouTube at 7 p.m. Mountain Time. “The Hunger Games” will kick off the series, followed by “Dirty Dancing” on April 24 and “La La Land” on May 1. The series will wrap up with both a literal and figurative bang by airing “John Wick” on May 8. All movies will be completely free, though Wick will require audience members to register.

Yes, it’s entirely possible you already have access to movies through on-demand, a streaming service, or a DVD or Blu-Ray collection (yes, some of us still do that). But Lionsgate wants to make this feel like an event, which means they’ve tapped Jamie Lee Curtis to host all four movies. She’ll be sharing memories from her own filming experiences, and make small talk with various other celebrity guests, some of which will be YouTube personalities.

Yes, that probably means there will be interruptions, but since you can’t pause it’ll at least give you the chance for a bathroom break or get more popcorn.

Now, some of you might be wondering whether it’s worth the experience. The entire point of streaming from home is that you can watch whatever and whenever you want, and some of these movies are old enough we’ve probably already seen them several times. Even if we don’t have immediate access to them, we can rent them from various online services for a nominal fee.

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If we’re patient, they’ll probably show up on a cable channel for free. Yes, we’d have to deal with ads there, but some of them will be for charitable purposes. The streams will seek donations for the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation, which is helping furloughed workers throughout the motion picture industry. But an ad is still an ad.

But the biggest draw of these livestreams has little to do with the movies or the streaming. Among other things, the international quarantine/self-isolation has stolen events from people – there’s no reason to get dressed up anymore, and the only things we have on our schedules are videoconferencing calls. We can’t really even hang out with friends, unless we figure out how to do it online.

These livestreams, however, give movie fans something to look forward to. You won’t have to dress up, though it might be fun if you have themed outfits kicking around the house. It’s a reason to eat treats. And, since it’s happening everywhere at the same time, you can share the experience with friends or internet strangers through text, video calls and chatrooms.

It’s not a night out, but it’s closer than a lot of us have been able to get for awhile now. And these days, that alone is enough of a reason to mark at least one of them down on your personal calendars.

Jenniffer Wardell is an award-winning movie critic and member of the Denver Film Critics Society. Find her on Twitter at @wardellwriter or drop her a line at

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