Whether being projected onto a big wall during a cocktail party, or played quietly in the living room during game night, a background movie can act as a conversation starter, art, music, and entertainment all in one. Plus it's easy to pop a disc in the DVD player or call up a title from Netflix. The only hard part, of course, is finding just the right background film.
The key to a great background movie is something with a stellar soundtrack and frame-worthy visuals, but without a complex story for guests to enjoy. Something guests can look away from and come back to without missing much. These 10 films fit the bill perfectly.
A troubled rock star descends into madness in the midst of his physical and social isolation from everyone.Why it's great:
The soundtrack, obviously. Based on Pink Floyd's 1979 album of the same name, the film features very little dialogue and is mainly driven by the music.
An airplane crew takes ill. Surely the only person capable of landing the plane is an ex-pilot afraid to fly. But don't call him Shirley.Why it's great:
A hilarious classic and everyone knows it. As a parody of more serious disaster films, Airplane!
moves quickly through slapstick comedy and absurd one-liners that even first-time watchers have heard.
An insomniac office worker looking for a way to change his life crosses paths with a devil-may-care soap maker and they form an underground fight club that evolves into something much, much more.Why it's great:
It's visually stunning, and thoughtfully so. The narrator's scenes without Tyler Durden are bland, while scenes with Tyler are almost unpleasantly vivid.
A 'typical' day in the life of the Beatles, including many of their famous songs.Why it's great:
The Beatles. Need I say more? Filmed at the height of Beatlemania, this black-and-white film combines cheeky British humor with The Beatles' music to create a "comic Fantasia."
A bounty hunting scam joins two men in an uneasy alliance against a third in a race to find a fortune in gold buried in a remote cemetery.Why it's great:
The classic western of all westerns. This Italian Spaghetti Western features sweeping western landscapes, Civil War battle scenes, and one of film's most famous scores.
A poet falls for a beautiful courtesan whom a jealous duke covets in this stylish musical, with music drawn from familiar 20th century sources.Why it's great:
The cover songs. The best of modern pop music is drawn back and restyled for a 19th century Parisian nightclub.
Time: 1962. Place: college. Dean Vernon Wormer is determined to expel the entire Delta Tau Chi fraternity, but those troublemakers have other plans for him.Why it's great:
The laughs and party atmosphere. Spun off from National Lampoon magazine, it's one of the best comedies ever made and easy for anyone to follow.
A high school wise guy is determined to have a day off from school, despite of what the principal thinks of that.Why it's great:
The sights. It's like taking a tour of Chicago—viewing Seurat at The Art Institute of Chicago, scoping out the observation deck of the Sears Tower, catching a ball at Wrigley Field—all from your living room.
Deckard, a blade runner, has to track down and terminate 4 replicants who hijacked a ship in space and have returned to Earth seeking their maker.Why it's great:
The dystopian science fiction scenes, even though the film is set in not-so-far-away 2019 in Los Angeles.
The music of the Beatles and the Vietnam War form the backdrop for the romance between an upper-class American girl and a poor Liverpudlian artist.Why it's great:
It's kind of like a really great, 2-hour-long music video. Covers of The Beatles' best songs are set against stunning imagery.
(Images: Daniel's Style Experiment; IMDB, as linked above)