I'm not a fan of multiple viewings of the same film. There are only a few films that are seasonal rituals. Arsenic and Old Lace at Halloween, It's a Wonderful Life at Christmas, Jesus Christ, Superstar (2000 made for TV version) on Good Friday. Other movies pop up only because cable TV consistently airs them on military holidays: Patton, Saving Private Ryan, Independence Day... Some movies are on so frequently, I can name it only hearing a few lines of dialogue or a few seconds of sound track from another room. It's a silly skill. Wouldn't it be nice if it came in handy one day? The skill is very similar to an old game show, "Name that Tune." (for those born after 1985, read this and play along). It would be great if all this useless pop culture information and skill could be put to gainful use.
My brothers also extend this skill at family gatherings. There's usually some point in the formal dinner when (and often to take a break from any potential political argument), someone quotes a Monty Python movie, or Young Frankenstein, Princess Bride, or makes a Three Stooges sound. When the quotes start, entire scenes from the movie will be recited. The cousins have come to accept this as family ritual. G-Mom simply rolls her eyes. She's good at that. Her multiple eyeball rolling expressions can cover "exasperation" to "aren't they ridiculous?"
I realize that for all the generations that have grown up with the boob tube - this is a natural state of being. My kids weren't big television consumers as toddlers. When they were in childcare, the TV was used for videos. At home, we watched Elmo (even though it killed me sometimes). I remember running to shut off the TV if the purple dinosaur started. I really wanted to avoid any Barney demands. There was also some fun music videos on Jack's Big Music Show on NOGGIN. For the most part, when we hung out at home, we had music on; and TV was only in the mornings. They were pretty good about playing with each other. This morning, I'm having a tough time remembering how much TV we actually watched with them before we moved into our home in 2008 (they were 5)
They are huge movie watchers. We built movie watching into our lives out of necessity. Living 10 hours away from Steve's family, movie marathons were a part of long car rides back and forth between Bethlehem and Detroit. Knowing they were going to watch 6 movies in a row made them jump for joy at the thought of being strapped in a car for 9-10 hours; depending on how thick the traffic or how much lead in Daddy's foot. We have a decent amount of movies. And I'm glad to say that some of them are now "for little kids." Thankfully, they have just outgrown the Transformers series. Holy crap, looking up that link, I found out that Michael Bay is planning a 4th movie. When that comes out, we'll have to watch all three movies again. Sweet Jeebus, help me!
Last trip to my hometown area (Chicago/Milwaukee), the kids watched all 8 Harry Potter movies and a few others. I mostly don't mind this - even when Steve doesn't let me do any of the driving, and I'm bored out of my skin - because the kids have headphones on. I can't read for long stretches of time in a car. I've become prone to motion sickness. These adventures used to be a great time for Steve and me to have conversations beyond daily monotony. Funny how their filters hear exactly what you don't intend for them to hear, and they haven't yet developed the filter on their mouths. Thank g-d for Twitter. But woe to me when we're in a 'o' zone.
They've started throwing movie quotes at each other. They wanted to be able to parlez "Avengers" with me. See, even though they've watched it a few times this week, and I saw it in the theatre with them this summer, I haven't been home very much in September. Apparently, it's not fully experienced until they see the movie with every family member and babysitter.
Last night, the long awaited family night finally happened. While Bridget was at her ballet class, Stephen and I did an early First Friday walk through so we could have dinner as a family with Steve joining us at Mama Nina's after Bridget's ballet was over. While the food wasn't as good as previous visits (next family restaurant night will be elsewhere, thanks to a ridiculously unnecessary bad attitude by the host), we enjoyed each other. Mom & Dad let go of the work week, Bridget and Stephen got their fill of garlic bread before their meal came.
At the end of the meal, Bridget wanted us to invite our friend Todd over to watch it with us.
"Didn't he watch it with you on Thursday?"
"Yes, but he didn't see the whole movie."
You're not off the hook if you left before the movie ended. They notice these things now.
Somewhere in the middle of the movie Bridget said, "We're all here together. Mommy, Daddy, Stephen, Buddy (dog), Porsche (cat), me and.... EXTRA!"
Our family has its rituals. Last night, a new ritual was born; a place of honor for friends who join us for a movie night. It was the first time this honor was bestowed on any person not blood kin. I wonder if we'll have to sacrifice an animal to celebrate.