Family Flicks!

I’m a big fan of family movies. Of all the family activities we conduct in our household, Family Movie Night is the one that usually gets the best reaction. When we get into that high-speed, out-every-night, super-sonic lifestyle, our boys will still ask us, “Can we have a movie night?”

Nothing seems to calm us all down like a darkened room and popcorn.

As a family, we watch just about any type of movie. My guys like the original Flight of the Phoenix with Jimmy Stewart as well as an animated tear-jerker like Up. (Both are fantastic, by the way.)

Last week we watched We Bought a Zoo, and I cried, of course. Don’t laugh—tears are healing, and I had a bad week. Also, the little girl in that movie is ADORABLE!

This week the family flick that awaits is Dolphin Tale. I usually stagger my Netflix queue with action films in between the family fare, but Wrath of the Titans isn’t available until next week.

I know that for some people, movie night is a bad way for families to spend time together, because there is less interaction than with game time or gardening or stamp collecting. For us it works, because we use the movie subjects or characters as conversation starters. “What would you do in that situation? Can you believe his brother said that? Which one of them did you like best?”

Sometimes we talk about the movie far longer than we watched. It’s fun; you should try it!

That’s a wrap for this Toast to Cinema. Thanks for reading.


The Best for Last

Christmas time brings a plethora of family movies, but it’s also the time of year for the production companies to roll out their Oscar contenders. These films are generally serious dramas involving mature subject matter or important political statements.

Usually the only way a comedy gets an Oscar nod is if the plot includes something heartbreaking as well.

Science fiction and animated features generally get ignored unless their musical score or special effects are outstanding.

Though the Academy Awards are given for all the movies released throughout the year, the studios like to hold their “best” until December to keep their titles fresh in the minds of Academy members. You might see something released in June getting a few awards, but the big ones—Best Actor or Actress in the lead or supporting role, Best Director, Best Writer, and Best
Picture—will most likely be given to cast and crew members of November and December movies.

These facts make for either terrific or terrible holiday movie outings.

Oscar-worthy films are usually well-written and filled with amazing performances. The down-side is that these motion pictures have quite serious plots.

Case in point: escorting a gaggle of elementary school-aged children, hyped up on Christmas candy, to watch a two-and-a-half -hour film about relationships is something like taking the same group of kids to a teeth cleaning. Advice: know your opponent and don’t allow yourself to become outnumbered. You cannot win.

However, if your group of kids is old enough and responsible enough, you may still make the outing work.

It turns out that The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is showing two screens down from The Adventures of Tintin. Carnage and Young Adult are both showing in the same multiplex as Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chip-Wrecked. If you can find a theatre with compatible show times, you can send the kids to their own show and you’ll be able to finally enjoy a grown-up activity.

Even if they’re too young to roam the cinema unsupervised, you can employ a sitter to accompany your children. Just offer to pay for their ticket, and then grab a gift card for another couple of tickets-worth of theatre fun!

What if you aren’t interested in those “important” performances? What if you need a little family time and your kids are “too old” for Chipmunk music? The great news is that Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, We Bought a Zoo and Warhorse are all December releases, too.

Like many things in life, the movie producers have saved the best for last.

That’s a wrap for this Toast to Cinema. Thanks for reading!