Shudder recently added another batch of films curated and hosted by the legendary Joe Bob Briggs, who provides introductions, interspersed commentary, and closing comments–and, of course, ribald jokes, string ties, country-fried rambling, and a colorful rating system that incorporates T&A counts and various types of -fu. Horror films have always been especially prone to attracting colorful hosts, but prestige pieces–especially when shown on film networks like TCM–have also gotten their share. There’s something friendly about sitting down to a movie in this kind of company, whether your host is erudite or goofy. It personalizes the otherwise mostly invisible process of network/service movie curation and can, at its best, offer additional insight into what makes the film worthwhile. (Or execrable, as the case may be.)
Still, it’s definitely an illusion of company rather than the reality of it. The host still controls the experience, and the input goes only one way–it’s never going to be the same as watching a movie with a friend. But it has some of the charms of watching a film in a favorite professor’s class, an experience people tend to otherwise lose as they get older. In their friendly, accessible way, hosted movie showings can be educational, bringing viewers into the cultural conversation surrounding a film. They can be film geekery at its finest.
Do you like hosted movies? Have any particular favorite hosts, or anyone you’d like to see host a movie night, or even a single showing, who hasn’t done it yet? Or do you feel like the whole setup tends to be gimmicky and insubstantial, serving only to interrupt your viewing experience?