Frequently-Asked Questions

Attendee Responsibilities FAQs

What is expected of those who attend?  Not much, really.  Only Life is Too Short... Regulars and registered Drop-Ins are eligible to attend screenings.  Let's look at their relative responsibilities: 

Drop-Ins - Responsibilities

Being the newest members of the group, Drop-Ins have the fewest responsibilities.  Once they have reserved a seat to a film, they should:

  • Show up.  Seating is limited, so if you're expected and you don't show, you're likely depriving someone else of a seat.  If you find you are unable to attend you should notify the Moderator no later than the Wednesday before the movie so your seat can be made available.
  • Forgo electronics.  Cell phones and other electronic devices should be turned off when the program begins and left off for the rest of the evening.
  • Stay positive, forgo controversy, and treat the material and the other attendees with respect.   The group is one of appreciation, not criticism.  The program and the discussion focus on the merits of the film, not its shortcomings or any controversial issues it might raise.  Attendees agree to accept with an open mind any movies or clips that might strike them as old fashioned or even politically incorrect.  Also, our screening room is a conflict-free zone.  All commentary on potentially controversial subjects (electoral politics, gender politics, religion, race, current events, or anything else that might annoy someone with a different view and a sensitive nature) should be reserved for the drive home.


Regulars - Additional Responsibilities

In exchange for a guaranteed seat to most of the films and a chance to win trivia prizes, Regulars have the following responsibilities in addition to those listed above:

  • Do a little reading.  There are no assignments, but Regulars should read a little something before the session about the director, the genre, the star, etc., to be able to contribute constructively to the discussion.  Specific suggestions are in the Newsletter.
  • Attend when scheduled.  Based on their interests and schedule, Regulars are reserved seats to specific movies throughout the year.  They should make every effort to attend in those months.  If an emergency prevents their attendance they should give as much notice as possible and re-schedule to make up the date.
  • Contribute (just a little) effort.  Regulars agree either to contribute to the programs or to assist in the administration of the group in coordination with the Moderator.  Specifically, over the course of the year a Regular might provide three short presentations on film personnel or the making of the evening's film, download and email the Turner Classic Movies monthly schedule, contribute to the Newsletter, or something similar.
  • Consider a small monetary contribution.  Regulars are encouraged to contribute two dollars per session to help defray the cost of prizes for the monthly Trivia Contests. 

Attendance FAQs

Why are you such a stickler about attendance? Why can’t I just show up when I feel like it?  Seating is limited because we have a small screening room. And since each program requires a great deal of time to create we want to be certain of as large an audience as possible to make it all worthwhile.

How many sessions would I be committing to attend if I signed up as a Regular?  Eight, nine, or ten.  Those who commit to more sessions are more likely to get seats to their preferred movies. 

Do I need to join anything to participate?  No. The group is independent of other organizations.

Programming FAQs

What do you mean by “classic”?  Movies that have stood the test of time, generally pre-1975, with an emphasis on 1930s and 40s Hollywood. See the Programs page for some examples.

Do you just show old movies?  We combine classics with non-classics of special interest to film buffs.  But since we focus on quality, it usually takes a while to determine if a movie will stand the test of time, so the majority of our films are older.

What if I’ve already seen a lot of these movies?  Regulars are surveyed annually and only films they either haven’t seen or wouldn’t mind seeing again are screened.

Will you be showing any esoteric or offensive movies?  The group leans strongly toward the mainstream and never deliberately shows anything offensive. But sensibilities have changed since many of these pictures were made. For example, occasionally a character will be portrayed in a way that some people might consider old fashioned or inappropriate. Attendees must be willing to take such things in stride.

Where do you get those great clips?  The Moderator has collected over 13,000 films, shorts, cartoons, and clips from DVDs, TCM, and the internet. He keeps them straight with a couple of specialized database managers.

Goals, Approach, and Trivia FAQs

What do you mean by “appreciation”?  The group is neither an exercise in “camp” nor a springboard for debate. The discussion focuses not on what one liked or disliked about a film, or on political or social issues raised by it, but on what makes it a classic. We are committed to maintaining a positive, congenial, noncontroversial atmosphere, and based on feedback attendees seem to appreciate it.

What's your approach to film?  We appreciate skilled camera work, editing, and so forth, and generally acknowledge them in the discussion. But we're most interested in the careers of directors and actors, where a movie fits into film history, the popular culture that produced it, and simply enjoying a movie as it was intended.

I understand you have movie trivia contests. I'm not so good at trivia. Do I still have a chance to win?  Drop-Ins are welcome to play along, but only Regulars can win prizes.  Since there is a limit on the number of prizes any individual can win, as the year goes on a majority of the Regulars win at least once.

Why are you doing this?  We enjoy sharing these great works of film history with other movie buffs, and we look forward to a fun, relaxed evening out. Plus it keeps us out of the pool halls.