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Today's Family Magazine

Family movie night provides time to relax and enjoy each other

Jul 17, 2017 03:36PM ● By Today's Family
By Stacy Turner

When the girls were young we designated Friday as our family movie night.  We’d celebrate the end of the week with pizza and, more often than not, a Disney movie.  As the girls got older and the prerequisite list of animated movies had been extinguished, my husband and I still wanted to hold on to the tradition, so we branched out a little.  We tried animal documentaries and family films from the past, and were always on the lookout for less-juvenile, family-friendly options.  And now that the girls are older and our schedules sometimes get crazy, the girls have let us know in no uncertain terms that pizza-movie night is not optional.  As the tradition continues, so does our search for entertainment that appeals to all ages.

We watched old movies, like “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” and then the newer “Willy Wonka.” Several remakes topped our list of favorites, including “Freaky Friday,” “The Parent Trap” and “Adventures in Babysitting.”  Classics like “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” got mixed reviews, and one can only watch so many “Herbie the Lovebug” movies before the plot gets old.  And even our resident dog-lover thought the “Benji” movies were lame.  We also learned the hard way that the PG films of our youth, like “Back to the Future” and “Goonies,” are not rated like the PG and PG-13 options of today.  But adding new vocabulary words, even if they’re more colorful than usual, helps prevent summer slide, right?

As our kids get older, we’ve gotten into TV shows like “Restaurant Impossible,” “Shark Tank” and “The Amazing Race,” which has become our recent obsession.  When the current season ended and left us all wanting more, I found season one at the library, and the adventures began anew.

Unbelievably, there have been twenty-some seasons of the “Amazing Race,” which provide plenty of opportunity to satisfy both our wanderlust and our strange desire to watch teams either crack under pressure or rise to the challenge.  In the first season none of the contestants had cellphones.  Contestants had to work harder, making travel arrangements and navigating through strange cities without the aid of Google Translate or Suri.

The contestants, for the most part, seemed nicer to each other than those in later seasons.  One team, a couple of stocky guys from New Jersey, continued to good-naturedly taunt and tease each other throughout the race.  They pushed each other to get their big butts moving, though they used different, more colorful words.  At one point, my youngest asked if one said “fat basket,”  having thankfully misheard something the network censors forgot to bleep out. Without missing a beat, my husband agreed, and a new phrase entered our family’s summer vocabulary list.

No matter how varied your family’s taste in movies and TV may be, the tradition of holding a family movie night regularly is worth giving a try.  It has become our time to relax and unwind together as we laugh over silly movies, or groan over reality TV dramatics.  It’s become something we each look forward to throughout our busy weeks.  And if pizza isn’t your thing, maybe you can enjoy some popcorn, movie candies, or some other treats.  Just be sure to watch out for those fat baskets.