AFI Movie Club

While we’re all stuck inside for the immediate future, we could use a little dose of good news. Enter Steven Spielberg, who’s here with a video announcement to kick off the American Film Institute’s new movie club, “a daily virtual gathering to leverage our collective love of film on behalf of optimism in this time of global uncertainty.” First up: The Wizard of Oz.

AFI Movie Club Introduction

Every day, AFI will choose an iconic movie for the world to watch together, and some of them will come with video introductions from special guests on AFI.com and its social media channels. According to the official site, “The daily film selections will be supported by fun facts, family discussion points and exclusive material from the AFI Archive to enrich the viewing experience. Audiences can continue the conversation online using the hashtag #AFIMovieClub.”

AFI Movie Club, which has the tagline “movies to watch together while we’re apart,” begins today, and you can head over to the official site to find out where you can track down a streaming link to The Wizard of Oz. It would have been cool for AFI to somehow work out a deal to be able to host these daily movies for free on its website instead of just linking to services where people have to pay to watch them, but the company is a non-profit, so they probably don’t have the kind of cash on hand to be able to pay the associated licensing fees.

“AFI’s goal is to live in a world of art above anxiety,” said Bob Gazzale, President and CEO. “We’re honored to have Steven Spielberg, the greatest storyteller of our day, lead the way.”

When was the last time you watched The Wizard of Oz? The 1939 classic holds up remarkably well, and it’s an excellent choice for the first film to kick off this quarantine-friendly screening series. It’s lighthearted and uplifting at a time when we need it most; the film’s vibrant, rich colors and iconic songs are like a balm for the news; and if you have any kids in your house with you, it’s a great opportunity to share some classic film history with them that doesn’t feel like homework.

And since you might have some extra time on your hands, this is also a great time to do a deep dive into the film’s incredible production history, featuring multiple directors and writers, a horrific stunt gone wrong, and Jello-O powder being used to turn horses different colors.

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