Home alone is a great title for a movie, but the concept can be a challenge when you're home alone on a Saturday night. Due to fatigue and illness, my 13-year-old son and I were housebound during a recent weekend. But we created a frugal movie night with several stay-at-home options. Here's a rundown:
Oscar preview: I spent quality time with Brad Pitt, Robert Downey, Jr., Mickey Rourke, Anne Hathaway and other high-profile stars thanks to a free video package offered by www.newsweek.com. The online version of the magazine offers the 2009 Oscar Roundtable video series. This series features engaging conversation with various actors, who provide insights about their craft and the cinema business.
AOL video: From A to Z, AOL offers a free catalog of classic and recent television hits. My son and I checked out an episode from the original "Addams Family" sitcom, featuring Carolyn Jones and John Astin. We also found a few documentaries from MTV, with programs from other broadcasters.
Major networks: From news to reality television hits, most networks and cable stations post free episodes online. The schedule includes daytime dramas, evening news shows and popular sitcoms.
Podcasts: Armed with his iPod gadget, my 13-year-old gave me an online tour of the video programs available from Apple's iTunes. New releases can be rented and downloaded for $3.99; older titles are $2.99.
Home movies: With a cell phone, digital camera or standard video camera, you can direct a movie. It's a creative option that enables you to write, direct and star on small-screen productions.
Personal collections: An inventory of our home video collection uncovered titles we had overlooked. We created a movie marathon that featured "Guess Who," "The Pink Panther" and "Whale Rider."