I Had A Netflix Party, And It Was The Most Fun Part Of My Day
We got together to watch Undercover Grandpa, and I'm so happy we did it.
Recently, a Chrome extension came along called Netflix Party, and it allows you to watch Netflix content with friends, at the same time, without having to be in the same room. It does this by syncing your streams and providing a chat room, where you can talk to each other and mock movies and TV shows to your heart's content. After testing it with some coworkers, I decided to host my own streaming party.
Right now, it's tough for a lot of people. Our routines are shaken up because of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, and many people are forced to work from home or are not working at all. In order to flatten the curve of infections, so hospitals aren't overwhelmed, it's good we're all staying inside. However, not talking to other people sucks. Not being able to see other people sucks.
In order to kick off this Netflix party, I decided to pick a movie I was sure no one had ever seen before. I found myself searching through Netflix and somehow, I stumbled upon a movie called Undercover Grandpa. The film stars James Caan, Jessica Walter, Louis Gossett Jr., and a teenager with a helmet-head haircut. It's from 2016 and is kind of a family comedy. It's a very, very weird movie. The film is about a teenager whose girlfriend is kidnapped, so he enlists the help of his grandfather who was in World War II as a secret operative or something--ignore the fact that Undercover Grandpa is way too young to be in WWII. There are also a bunch of Russian bad guys around too. I could not tell you why.
While talking to people on Twitter about this idea, they seemed excited. However, they seemed less excited when they found out what the movie was--because no one had ever heard of it. After the party started, I found myself talking to, well, myself just to fill the void of being momentarily friendless. Luckily, this didn't last long.
As the movie went on, a few people dropped in and out of the movie. I met a person from France, who enjoyed chatting but hated the movie so much that they left. To be fair, Undercover Grandpa is not a groundbreaking movie by any means. It is fun, in the same way that watching baby ducks cross a road is fun--it's slow, kind of cute, and has its moments of you yelling, "They're trying!"
Eventually, a few friends popped in that stayed for the whole film. Occasionally, there were others, but again, Undercover Grandpa is not a good movie, so they left after a few minutes. This Netflix party was quickly becoming a revolving door get-together, where once people realized I wasn't giving out free beer, they left.
However, some people that came in actually stayed, and everything began to slowly click, as we all watched Undercover Grandpa slowly become an A-Team revival--I'm not kidding. All four of us in the chat were noticing the same things, and all cracking jokes together. We started enjoying each other's company, and strangely enough, the movie as well.
As for Undercover Grandpa itself, it is a delightful mess of madness I hope everyone takes the time to watch. However, you'll probably want to watch it with friends, so you can all make the same jokes together about the cast's hair, James Caan's hat secretly being a Phoenix Down, and the kid turning into Daredevil at the end of the movie. At least, that's what I think happened.
Having this Netflix party made everything feel a bit normal again. Sure, none of us were in the same physical room, but there was a sense I was actually hanging out with other people, taking part in a shared experience. Sure, it's just a bunch of people in a chatroom doing their best version of Mystery Science Theater 3000/Rifftrax, but that's what makes it so much fun. It's an escape for a couple of hours from the isolation. While I watched most of the movie, I don't remember much of the plot because I was sharing a fun experience. Also, I was working, but that's besides the point.
Netflix Party was a nice way to spend the day, so much so that we talked about doing it again, and I have already made plans to do so. And if you want in, the more, the merrier. Come join a viewing party of a weird movie and just chat along with some people.
If you're interested in joining the next Netflix Party, follow me on Twitter. Viewings happen at 1 PM ET / 10 AM PT on Tuesdays, and I tweet out a link before it all begins. We'll keep doing this once a week until everything returns to normal.
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