Family movie night goes old school

By Danielle Scroggins | Published Wednesday, May 28, 2014

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Family movie nights are one of our favorite traditions.

Most of the time, they consist of piles of blankets and pillows to create cozy spots on the couch as we snack on yummy stove-popped popcorn – a Scroggins clan tradition. It usually takes a while to settle on a movie, but the snuggles and family time are always worth the cozy movie preparations.

We’ve gone through many movie-watching phases. We started with your basic Disney cartoons, mostly because they were my favorite, but also because my husband had missed this major element of education.

We spent our early parenting years learning the basics of fairytales in “Cinderella,” “Sleeping Beauty” and “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” Along came “Finding Nemo,” and I think he was finally hooked.

Other Scroggins favorites included “The Lion King,” “Dinosaur,” “The Fox and the Hound,” and of course, “Toy Story.” All of these became a part of our everyday conversation and intertwined with not only how we looked at the toys as we left each room, but also how we learned to cherish silly moments.

While we still enjoy a good cartoon (none can let “Frozen” go!), we finally graduated to real-people movies – “Star Wars” being one of the first (and still one of the best). All three of my boys are experts in the force and know the intergalactic special forces needed to fight evil, as well as the intricacies of light saber technology.

We’ve gone through a sad dog movie phase in which “Hachi” and “Marley and Me” pulled ugly, snotty tears out of all of us. Those films also secured for our dogs the most loved and spoiled existence of any dog ever born.

Currently we’re in an action/superhero phase and perhaps will always have an addiction to Ironman, Captain America and The Incredible Hulk, especially when they combine forces as “The Avengers.”

Running a constant soundtrack in the background are those movies that simply provide experiences that cause discussion within our little clan. Those are probably our favorite.

“Footloose,” “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “The Breakfast Club” are just a few of the favorites from our own childhood, and classics we work diligently to pass down to the hoodlums as part of that all important “other education.”

So, because movieducation is such an integral part of our family dynamic, it seemed only natural that we adventure to the local drive-in theater to experience yet another facet of Scroggins Family Movie Night.

A few weeks ago we drove to Fort Worth, specifically The Coyote Drive-In, for a sundown showing of “The Amazing Spiderman.” The prep work on the front end was a little more exhausting than expected, and we had to work really hard to explain the dynamic of watching the movie in our car but not “in our car.”

It seems our kids are a bit spoiled with in-car DVD systems and could not comprehend driving somewhere to watch a movie in the car. However, once we arrived and began to experience the ambience of the big screen, yummy concession treats and adventure of making friends at the on-site playground, they were all agreeable to trying the experience.

As the sun set behind the Fort Worth skyline, all five of us snuggled up with our standard blankets, pillows and cozy spots, but this time in the bed of the pickup truck.

As the credits rolled to begin the movie, my youngest turned to me and said, “This is just like watching the movies in the olden times!” At the same time my oldest joked we might break into song being “stranded at the drive-in.”

Overall, the experience added the perfect amount of ambience for another chapter of one of our favorite family traditions, and even though we still didn’t all agree on the movie (I was confused on exactly which “Spiderman 2” we were watching), we do all agree that adding regular drive-in showings is a must for Family Movie Night – be it a phase or a permanent addition to our favorite tradition.

Scroggins is a Decatur resident, Decatur High School graduate, teacher and mother of three. Life is Kids Stuff is a monthly column about kids, family and life in general.

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