Family Movie Night

Okay, I lied in yesterday’s post about not having a television.

We actually have a TV. A cheap Korean 25-year-old analogue 19-inch TV that our renters left two and a half years ago. We found it in the house when we came back from a year in West Africa.

The TV is in the closet by the front entrance. There’s a DVD player attached to it with duct tape. It’s so bulky and awkward I can’t carry it by myself. We used to watch movies on it sometimes but we haven’t taken it out of the closet in months.

Still, once a week, usually on Saturday afternoons, we rent a DVD and eat dinner in front of a movie. Since the TV’s so impractical to move, we use my 17-inch laptop.

“I’M MAKING THE POPCORN. I’M THE BEST popcorn maker,” 6-year-old Etani announces. He scooches a chair over to the stove, pours some oil into a pan, adds three unpopped kernels, and asks me to turn on the stove.

“Did you wash your hands?”

Etani gives me an exasperated look, sighs, leaps off the chair, and comes back trailing a towel.

He knows just what to do, dumping in more kernels once the first three are popped, rattling the pan over the burner energetically so the popcorn doesn’t burn, barking orders at me.

When it’s ready Etani loads the popped corn up with butter and nutritional yeast. If either of his older sisters tries to sneak a single kernel he spreads his arms and crouches like a linebacker to keep them away.

Popcorn flies out of his bowl while he runs to claim the middle seat on the couch.

When everyone has popcorn and a plate of food we start the movie. We try to pick movies that we’ll all enjoy (among our recent unexpected favorites: Julie Andrews’s 1967 classic “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” “The Golden Compass,” and “Journey to the Center of the Earth”).

Food gets smushed into the couch, there are screams of frustration when the movie pops out of Full Screen mode as inevitably happens with the computer’s DVD Player, the kids always find something besides the popcorn and seating arrangement to bicker about, and we almost always go to bed later than the ideal time on Family Movie Night (though we pause the movie to put on pajamas and brush teeth and it’s the one night a week when nobody has to be hurried along).

But it’s totally worth it.

The screen time. The glorious screen time. Our two-hour family foray into what most American kids are doing 53 hours a week.

Related post: Kill Your TV.

What about your family’s favorite movies? Do you prefer to rent movies or go to the theater? Please share your suggestions in the comment section below.

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