I think we’re spending too many movie nights together. Over the years, I stopped watching TV in favor of trying to finish reading social media posts. That’s how I read them, as if I’ll get to the end. When I get tired of that, I read books, magazines, junk mail. A few years ago, after my oldest started watching Stranger Things, I started watching it with him. I promised the youngest could start watching it after turning eleven this past June.
Enter Disney Plus. We got a free trial, the Mandalorian sucked us in, and we’ve had it ever since. And then quarantine started. The kids suggested we have family movie nights every Friday night. Usually, I fall asleep halfway through any movie, so they wouldn’t invite me often. The kids wanted me to watch The Mandalorian with them from the beginning, but the way it was done “a long time ago” with one episode per week. I think they expected me to binge-watch. I reminded them I’m a product of the 80s, not only with the stamina to wait an entire week before the next show, but with the ability to watch commercials in between. So we got started, one show per week.
We finished the series. S. suggested we watch all of the Harry Potter movies since she was reading the books. The next eight weeks we lived and breathed Harry Potter. During the day, S. read aloud to me using her best British accent. Friday nights, they got junk food from the QT mart (without me rolling my eyes) and we watched the next movie in the queue.
The eleventh birthday arrived. That evening, even though it wasn’t a Friday, we started Stranger Things. We watched all three seasons and I enjoyed our weekly evening family flick dates. School started soon after so we chose a different movie every Friday after dinner. Without our “assigned” watching schedule, there was mutiny. Some movies we couldn’t watch because S. is eleven. I had to explain to the hubster, several times, why it wasn’t okay for her to watch Forrest Gump. “But it’s a great movie!” he exclaimed.
He started watched it on his own and realized it wasn’t appropriate. Eventually we argued about who should choose the movie. We argued about the bore factor, fun factor, lame factor, and sometimes the rating factor. By the time we settled on something, all the snacks were gone, everyone was exhausted, and yes, I fell asleep halfway through. Old times.
We agreed to each choose five family friendly movies and write them on slips of paper. One slip comes out every Friday night and no one can complain about it. The slips went into a jar. S cheated. All of her movie choices were folded in half. The others were not. The first movie selected was hers. Busted!
I dumped out all the slips, turned my computer on, and pulled up the handy dandy Wheel of Names. I entered all of the movies and took it for a spin. Done and done. No complaining. No cheating. The wheel chooses for us. I should’ve done my homework on my list. The Social Network isn’t appropriate for an eleven year old. And then we had to figure out what to do in case of a dud.
Sigh…it would be nice to argue over a family friendly movie to watch at a real movie theater.