Bring back family movie night
Jacob Neisewander | Wednesday, March 25, 2020
The coronavirus pandemic has brought with it many new challenges, inconveniences and a cascade of uncomfortable adjustments to individuals’ daily lives. Yet another thing COVID-19 has brought upon us all, both at The Observer and, undoubtedly, everywhere else, is family time. Lots and lots of family time.
Maybe you, like me, are stuck at home with a house full of noisy siblings, in-laws, fiancés, parents and frightened pets. Or maybe you’ve had to leave your rambunctious friends for a much more silent “fraternity” of you, mom, and pop. Regardless, family time, much like COVID-19, is increasingly to truly frightening heights across the United States, heights perhaps not seen in a long while (or even ever). You might be asking yourself, in between TikTok binges and Zoom meetings, what you’re supposed to do with all the sudden down time?
Sure, you could exercise, read more and finally learn how to play the viola. But let’s be honest with ourselves; I think we can all admit that our TVs and smartphones will be seeing the lion’s share of all the blank spots in our schedules.
Movies, Netflix, Disney+ and Hulu serve as modern oases — the primary means of escape in this time of pandemic. Where else can we turn to distract ourselves from gloomy economic forecasts and the burning rodeo circus that is our government’s response in this time of crisis? Amidst this unexpected increase in demand for entertainment, the war for the TV may have already begun in your home, but it doesn’t have to continue.
There is an antidote that, as archaic as it may sound to you, has proven surprisingly effective within my own household: the return of the family movie night.
Sound absurd? “My family could never!” Do I hear you protesting? Well, to the naysayers I say this: have you actually sat down and tried it? You might be surprised by how well a regular family movie night can go, especially if you let your parents pick the movie first. When’s the last time you went to them for a movie recommendation?
I had a blast watching “1917” with my parents, and the very next night, I suggested we watch “Parasite” together. I never would have thought they would have the patience for subtitles, but after the credits rolled, we ended up talking about the movie for 20 minutes.
If watching with the whole family isn’t feasible (or tolerable), at least pick out a show you can watch with your younger sibling. Heck, my little brother and I have gleefully watched grown adults build Lego replicas of bridges and skyscrapers with Will Arnett on Hulu’s “LEGO Masters.” A year ago, I never would have believed I would have the time for such an activity. But these are strange times, and if your parents already think you’re a “weird” college kid who’s wasting their money, what do you have to lose by giving family movie night a chance?
Give your folks something they might not necessarily watch on their own. Gather the house around for a show you love or one you’ve been meaning to watch for the past five years but have never found the time to start. Above all else, the next time you watch something, don’t watch it alone, on your phone, under the covers. For better and for worse, most of us are going to be spending a lot more time at home with the fam whether we like it or not. If you’re a junior or senior, this little wedge of pandemic is quite likely going to be the longest stretch of time you spend with your parents ever again! So make it count! Treat movie night as a way to bond or, better yet, facilitate a little family bonding with the films and shows that are close to your heart. Isn’t that why we watch movies together in the first place?