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5 movies to watch with your favorite nerds using Netflix’s new Party Mode

By Adam Pockross
Space Jam

With all this self-quarantining going on, the isolation is palpable. But instead of staying home and going it alone, Netflix Party mode is here to keep the party going.

Netflix Party is a recent Google Chrome extension that makes watching Netflix kind of like a group chat. Basically, by synchronizing video playback alongside a group messaging screen, the party mode not only makes for a great T-shirt slogan, but also allows folks near and far to gather around the same flick so they can enjoy it together — without getting too close.

Obviously, some movies pair better with a group, and we’re here to help you pick your party flavor with the perfect movies to watch along with friends, over long distances while quarantined.

01. Space Jam (1996)

When times are tough, Looney Tunes are super helpful — it’s pretty much impossible not to smile when rascally rabbits are what’s up doc-ing. However, if you’re starting to question your faith in humanity’s future, ‘toons aren’t always enough to get you through, so what better way to re-instill your faith in mankind than by spending time with the greatest man to ever don a pair of short shorts: Michael Jordan. There’s also the added inspirational benefit of plenty of screen time for Muggsy Bogues, a 5’3” giant who somehow finds himself teamed up with three of the NBA’s all-time greats — Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, and Larry Johnson — as well as the one part of this 1996 film that doesn’t hold up: Shawn Bradley.

Team spirit is fundamentally at the core of the film, and the way we’re going to get through this thing. As such, you can see why Space Jam is best enjoyed with your Netflix Party team.

02. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

In the face of insurmountable odds, and an existential threat, the heroism of one snake-fearing man overcomes Nazis, rolling boulders, and bad dates to save the day, all while the second greatest John Williams theme blares along. It’s enough to make you wanna party. And while doing so, there’s a good chance that someone in your party hasn’t even seen what is unarguably one of the greatest movies of all time, since it is nearly 40 at this point. So can you imagine the joy you’ll get by watching the joy on their face when Indy shoots that blowhard treating a scimitar like a baton?

Also, times like these require a great deal of faith, and it’s helpful to be reminded that faith has helped mankind survive plagues and pestilence before. And if that faith is rewarded by seeing the full face-melting, Nazi-killing power of the Lord above, well that’s even more reason to celebrate, right?

03. Dragonheart (1996)

Speaking of joy-inducing movies that people in your party may not have seen, here’s another oldie but goodie, a 1996 number which not only features a man who thinks harnessing a dragon to a horse is a good idea, but also amplifies the dulcet tones of Sean Connery’s iconic accent — the perfect soundtrack for tuning out the pandemic’s persistent paranoia. Sure, you can get that from any old Bond film (which all go great with a shaken martini, by the way), but only when you unleash the full power of the Scotsman’s Draco-the-dragon speak do you have the makings of a party.

But the good times don’t stop there, as folks can also rally around the royal goodness and moral upstanding of Dennis Quaid’s Bowen, a dragonslayer turned con artist, but always and truly a Knight of the Old Code, who somehow manages to sound just enough like Jerry Lee Lewis while still speaking Old English… which, come to think of it, would be an excellent ale to enjoy with this one.

04. Mary Poppins Returns (2018)

Perhaps you’re holed up with little ones who like to party too, or perhaps you’re partying with big ones who own little ones, and need to find them things to do whilst self-distancing. Well, who knows more about filling up a day’s dreary routine with Technicolored time-fillers than Mary Poppins? At a base minimum, the kiddos will at least be fired up to go fly a kite.

Presumably, this Disney sequel won’t be on Netflix for long though, as it's certainly got a date with Disney+ eventually, so you better get your Netflix Party started quickly, right?

05. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

For some reason, Netflix doesn’t seem to have the first part of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring, but it does have The Two Towers and The Return of the King, which represent a good six-plus hours of viewing pleasure. And the longer you can make your Netflix Party last, the sooner this whole self-isolation thing will hopefully end.

But the real reason these are such good films to watch right now, particularly with a group, is because the trilogy is very much about putting down our differences, uniting for the greater good, and beating back the existential threat that has seemingly filled the world with darkness. Imagine the virtual room cheering along together when Samwise Gamgee, responding to Frodo’s wariness of the gargantuan task at hand, delivers this all-timer of a speech, the perfect light for leading the way through dark times:

This story presents some humorous responses to coronavirus, but COVID-19 is very real! Please exercise caution out there: wash those hands, stay at home, and practice social distancing. For extensive information on how to keep you and your loved ones safe, check out the CDC's coronavirus website.