Everyone in my family consumes cinema a little differently. Last year, my intake averaged out to about twenty movies a month, give or take a little. My mom’s was probably about four in full, and maybe about a hundred minutes of catching some second act scene while walking behind the couch. My dad loves a little gore and foul language in his flicks, while my little sister is not yet allowed to watch R-rated movies. However, at least once a month, we all gather around the television and watch something together, something we can all laugh at, cry at, and talk about. Movies bring my family together. Here’s how.
My Twin Sister
For me, watching movies is an art form, a sport, a lesson, and a passion all rolled into one. For my sister, watching movies is what it is most basically intended for: entertainment. Her main points of interest in a film are bright colors and fun music. Which makes sense that her favorite movie is the 2008 tribute to the music of ABBA, Mamma Mia!. I think my sister might’ve watched this-at my best guess – 400 times between June and September 2018. We baked cookies, practiced flips in the lake, and cleaned up dog vomit to its soundtrack. Sure, it doesn’t have a consistent plot structure, the cinematography looks like a travel commercial for Greece, and it is the cinematic equivalent of a PTA mom karaoke night. It’s delightful. I would not expect anything less (or more) from my sister.
In late 2017, I decided try and go see more indie movies in the theater. I started with Lady Bird. I didn’t know a lot about it, just that I liked Saoirse Ronan in Brooklyn and wouldn’t mind seeing a bit more of her. My mom went with me. Prior to the start of the movie, I tried to order a coffee at the concessions to seem more mature. She wouldn’t let me. I didn’t need caffeine that late (7:00 pm). We took our seats. In one scene, Lady Bird and her mother are at a grocery store. She asks for a magazine, claiming she “had a hard week”, I had done the same thing earlier that week with a Blu-ray of Mad Max: Fury Road. Both mothers said no. Both mothers are saints for dealing with hot-headed teenage daughters. Both daughters learned to appreciate their mom a little more by the end of the film.
My Little Sister
Movies are not my little sister’s cup of tea. Last night, she proudly announced at the dinner table, “I don’t like movies that are boring, long, or make you feel things”. Fair enough. So instead of talking about a moment we connected over film, I’ll talk about a moment that we clashed over it, and that proves her as the most stubborn person on the planet. My younger sister loves Fortnite. She plays it for hours with no breaks. I love watching movies. I watch them for hours with no breaks. She plays it on the Xbox. I watch movies on the Xbox. One day a few months ago, she had been playing all morning. I wanted a turn. I kicked her off so I could watch The Disaster Artist. This was not pleasing to her. She sat on the stairs in protest for entire 1h 44min duration of the movie. I never turned it off. She never tried to comprise. She just sat in silent solidarity, while James Franco’s bare ass danced around the screen. Honestly, I admire her for it.
My dad is far and away the person I watch the most movies with, and far and away my favorite person to watch movies with. Several times a month we sit in the dark, barely talking, but experiencing the same thing on the screen. The best one we have recently watched is Edgar Wright’s cult (pun intended) buddy cop comedy Hot Fuzz. At times I felt like the dumbest person in the room, as Edgar Wright hurled clever visual gags at us, my dad ready with a clever quip in response, but all was well when Doris (Olivia Colman) threw out a blatant sexual innuendo followed by her signature cackle. So glad that she finally got her Oscar for The Favourite. Nothing like a bit of girl on girl!
Make some time to watch a movie with someone you love sometime. It may give you something new to bond over. Or fight over (The Greatest Showman is NOT a good movie, mom).