Saturday, December 10, 2011

Movie Night @ Home

We don't watch movies in theaters very often in recent years. But Lily did start a new tradition for our family - movie night at home Friday or Saturday night from time to time. In these nights, we might watch a new DVD movie we bought for the boys, or a borrowed DVD movie from local library. Lily would make popcorn on the night when the movie is for the whole family - sometimes popcorn is the incentive for the boys to move away from video games or online chatting.

When we go to local library, we just check what DVDs are available. We will borrow a DVD if a title of interest to us is available right then; either it is a highly acclaimed "new" movie, an Oscar winner years ago, or seems interesting per back-cover description. It is not uncommon that movie we borrowed turned out to be boring, when this is the case we will just quit watching, doing something else instead.

We have watched so many movies at movie nights, I lost count of what we have watched. I do vividly remember several good movies we enjoyed since this summer.

Popcorn Nights

We usually take the boys to movie theater to watch a few movies during summer vacation time. It was so hot this summer we did not go to movies at all, we watched quite a few movies together, however, at home.

We were thrilled by "Angles and Demons" despite the fact that we knew the end of the story already since we listened the novel on audio before; we learned a bit semi-history in the process. "Mrs. Doubtfire" was so funny and educational at the same time; we laughed so hard, and appreciated the value of a nucleus family more at the same time. There are many forms of family, a nucleus family with father, mother and children is the best for children.

"King's Speech" was a funny, yet serious movie - an interesting story line with profanity-laden language from the king, along with superb acting of the main actor revealing the frustration, self doubt and anguish at himself for stuttering, made us laugh and think. It also showed the ultimate unfairness of monarchic system - that person is placed to a position based on who his parents are, and the order of the birth, not the capability and capacity. It was also a movie of profound educational value to us since public speaking is our weakness.

"2012" was the most recent movie the whole family watched together with popcorn. It is a movie about the end of the world as we know it - so it felt scary and chilling. Two story lines carried the movie. One is related to the discovery of abnormal earth temperature by government geophysicists indicating imminent catastrophe. The other is about a divorced California father taking his two children to vacation at Yellowstone. In the end it showed how they escape the catastrophe, in the process discovering government's secret plan to let few privileged to escape the catastrophe through several secretly built Noah's Arks.

Those are wonderful nights. We enjoyed the popcorn and the movies together, shared our thoughts, likes/dislikes in the process via a brief comment or a sigh, or an exclamation....on a scene, an incident, an action. It is a good vehicle for parents to influence their children's moral standard naturally.

Old Movies

Of course not all movies are appropriate for the whole family to watch together, e.g. R rated movies are not good for the boys yet. Some old movies have too slow a pace, and with a background too far away from the boys' reality so the children don't like them. That is when Lily and I will have our couple time to watch the movie.

We watched two, very old, Oscar winning movies recently - " A Wonderful Life" and "Roman Holiday". The story in the movies develops slowly to the climax at the end. The characters' feelings, emotions are revealed to us gradually .

"A Wonderful Life" has a hilarious start, sometimes seems to be ridiculous. But the turn of the events in the story made me feel heavy at heart midway through. In the end, I could not stop the swell of my tears!

"Roman Holiday" is a movie I knew about before; I either watched it or watched clips or trailers of it. Last week I picked up the movie and recommended it to Lily. Audrey Hepburn was the young princess visiting Italy, and Gregory Pecker was a journalist trying to interview the princess. It is light hearted, delicate, touching and lovely. We enjoyed it on Friday night last week.


The documentaries we borrowed are mostly not watched in the end, be it about travel, or about nature, or about science and technology. "Einstein Revealed" is the last documentary Lily borrowed for the kids to watch.

I started watching the two set DVDs during a week day evening while cooking dinner. I was quickly attracted by the history of the development of relativity. It was entertaining to see the real Einstein in life; it was enlightening to go through his mental tests, "running at the speed of light" related to special relativity, "observing lightening strikes a pole on a moving train" related to time-space relation, or general relativity; it was satisfying that I could understand the solar eclipse validation of general relativity and explain it to the rest of the family in my own words.

My enthusiasm led Lily to make Justin and Nick watch the DVD during a dinner time! An exception in our house.

Movie night at home is a good family activity.

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