Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Family Movie Night

While I'm on the subject of family culture, I've been meaning to write about our latest chosen tradition:  Family Movie Night.  (Spoilers alert - I won't give too much away, but scan the movie titles below if you're concerned.)

Adam and I have been eagerly awaiting the time when Sam would be old enough to enjoy movies with us, and now is that time!  Most Saturday nights, we watch a movie together.  It has to be something that we all are likely to enjoy, so no Barbie movies, even though I think they're great movies for kids.

For our first movie, we watched the original Dumbo.  We didn't have anything on hand so we picked a dollar movie from the pay-per-view menu.  Adam and I thought we'd enjoy it, but we didn't.  I'm not really sure if Sam did either, but she did watch the whole thing.  It was all pretty senseless, and the scene where Dumbo got drunk was positively weird.  The good part, though, is that I finally learned where my favorite song from one of Sammy's baby CDs came from.

Next, we watched Enchanted.  We all enjoyed that one.  I thought it was a little bit like Galaxy Quest (but not as great), in that it poked fun at a movie genre without being completely cynical.  It took the fundamental values of the genre seriously (well, mostly) while laughing at inconsquentials like talking animals and old-fashioned costumes.  Seeing Susan Sarandon as an evil queen was a bonus, and we watched the fart scene about five times over for Sam's benefit.  But besides potty humor, I know that the film impacted Sam because she spent many days role-playing with her dolls having a "true love's kiss."  Sweet!

Next up was The Little Mermaid.  I'd heard such good things about this one, but I was disappointed.  Ariel was definitely an admirable heroine, but the story itself didn't do much for me.  It wasn't bad, it just didn't live up to my expectations.

Finally, this weekend we watched Finding Nemo, one of mine and Adam's most beloved movies from any genre.  My favorite part is when Dory and Marlin are inside the whale and she says (paraphrasing), "Come on! Everything is going to be all right!"  And he says, "But how do you know that?  How do you know that something bad isn't going to happen?"  And she pauses and then says, "I don't!"  And then they act.  The theme of this movie is motivation by love, not by fear.  And the theme is not something tacked on to some meaningless eye-candy for (what some adults believe to be) mindless children.  The whole movie is integrated around this theme, and it's a grand adventure, funny, sweet, charming, and beautiful to look at.  If you haven't seen it, you must.

Some of these movies had some scary parts, but Sam didn't seem to be bothered by them.  She was definitely sad for Nemo's mom when she died, and she talked about the queen turning into the dragon in Enchanted for many days in that scared-curious way that kids seem to have.  I'm sure much of the content of the movies was over Sam's head, but she probably understands a lot more than she can express.

I plan to make reviews of the movies we watch on Family Movie Night a regular part of The Little Things, so, until next time,

just keep swimming.


  1. Actually, it wasn't a fart scene in Enchanted, but a scene in which the squirrel character literally shits his pants (he drops a pellet) when he's scared by the evil queen. It was a pretty funny scene, and Sam loved it so much, as Amy said, we rewound and watched it about five times.

  2. That shows you how interested I was in the potty humor - I didn't even remember exactly which bodily function it was!

  3. That's great! We just watched "How to Train Your Dragon," and we enjoyed it immensely. I don't have any practice evaluating movies for children though. If you haven't seen them, "Bolt," "Up," and "The Incredibles" are great.

  4. Chris, we took Sam out to the theater to see "How to Train Your Dragon." We all loved that movie! We'll definitely be seeing Up and The Incredibles on FMN, but I've never heard of Bolt. I'll check it out. Thanks!

  5. 1. The song from Dumbo was "Baby Mine", wasn't it? :)

    2. Enchanted and Finding Nemo are GREAT! Most all of the Pixar movies are fantastic and have great themes. They're also really enjoyable for both adult and child. I will say that I wasn't a huge fan of Cars, and Up has a more grown up feel to it, so Sam may not be able to really enjoy it.

    3. Disney's The Princess and the Frog was fantastic. I think the theme is about having values.

  6. I loved How to Train Your Dragon, too, which is good for so many reasons--but for me, personally, I thought it was a rare instance of empathy demonstrated as a source of strength for the heroic boy.

    I recommend Monster's, Inc., too, which is good on the theme of overcoming fear.

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