I think, like most families in our demographic, Friday night has always been "Pizza and a Movie Night." We've been doing it for years off and on, with all of us democratically choosing a movie and then either ordering or making pizza. It was fun, it worked, and it was predictable. Oh. So. Predictable. A few months ago I started to notice though that we were drifting. The kids had seen every movie on Netflix (or so they claimed) and with fewer movies during the pandemic it became a chore finding something everyone wanted to watch. People started drifting to their own devices, with Eli retreating to his room and Averson and Syd binge-watching the show of the week. Pizza, despite all the evidence to the contrary, can get mundane if you eat the same thing every week. I loved the idea of a family night but the execution was falling apart.
Around that same time I stumbled onto Jennifer Borget on Instagram. The post that caught my eye was about her deciding what movie she was going to pick for their movie night that week. She seemed so excited about it! After a little digging, I found a post that explained how their family of five approaches movie night. Each person takes a turn choosing both the movie AND the dinner for that week. I'm a little embarrassed by how mind-blowing this was. I presented it to the family and everyone was into it. It has been SO FUN. Our rotation goes youngest to oldest, and we've each had at least two turns so far. People are putting so much thought into their choices and its really fun to talk about it during the week. We have a rule that everyone has to participate and that the movie can't be too scary or grossly age-inappropriate (that bar is really high though). So far we've only had to veto one movie after Syd picked 47 Meters Down Unchained and Averson was crawling in my lap after the first five minutes. For dinners we've had pizza, Chinese food, burgers, pigs in a blanket, and pasta. It's been fun to watch the decision making process for movies too. I always try for something we've never seen (Cruella and Thunder Force). Averson likes to pick an animated movie about animals. Syd agonized over her choice, but aside from the sharks, she's picked winners from her own library of favorites (Maleficient was particularly well-received). Eli I think tries to push the boundaries just a little but has picked the funniest movies of all of us (Grownups was HILARIOUS and maybe a little inappropriate). C and my mom both try to find classics that they want to introduce the kids too. C showed Grumpy Old Men and my mom picked City Slickers. Both had us all laughing out loud.
If your movie nights have become a little less fun, I highly recommend trying the rotation approach. It takes so much pressure off and everyone got a lot more excited about it, which is important when you're trying to find activities that you can do together when the age and interest ranges vary so widely.
My turn is coming up. What movies have you loved lately?