My grandmother loved the movies and found them to be “poetry in motion.” The medium was birthed in her lifetime and she loved it, soaked it up and enjoyed the off-screen drama of the movie stars. We’ve shared many multi-generational conversations over films, which are immortal and transcendent. Today’s world is much more celebrity and information obsessed but what I care about is the bonding that happens over media — movies, television, theater, music, dance, art – I love it all! No matter what time of year, a movie night is special. Whether setting up at home for a movie night or going to the movies, there’s nothing like it. Movies are timeless and the experience lives on well after the lights turn back on.
Through movies, I recognize the characters and their characteristics, like how my dad is Indiana Jones. I struggle with my media fixation and balancing my responsibility with my children to maintain a healthy relationship with media, particularly when they pick up the character’s habits and tag lines. Parents are their children’s filters and our own MPAA authority (Mothers Peak Ahead Association).
All of our senses go on a journey with the protagonist.
Movies transcend time and space. We sit in our seat, yet can be transported anywhere and with anyone. We peer into different worlds and our imaginations can run wild. We are willing participants along for the ride, whether it’s a galaxy far-far away or at the girl’s house next door.
I love sharing the movie experience with my kids. Holding them during a scary moment and watching them jump up and down with excitement is all part of the experience. For my son, he is “in” the movies he watches and on a full out adventure. When it’s raining meatballs, he’s dodging, catching and sampling them. For me, it’s a chance to forget about my own to do list.
The characters take us on an emotional roller coaster. Through them, we feel happiness, fear, love, hate, abandonment, and super silliness. The emotional imprints are recorded and remain strong. I distinctly remember my emotional spectrum being challenged while seeing “Stealing Magnolias”; being called to action with “The Goonies”; laughing till it hurt with “Coming To America”; cutting a rug with “Grease”; falling in love with “Edward Scissorhands”; learning life lessons and about friendship in “Stand by Me”; being scared straight by “A Nightmare on Elm Street”; and my belief system challenged with “The Matrix.” I remember first glimpses into the darker side of life and “adult situations” such as nudity, alcohol, abuse, drugs, divorce and trauma through films. Films may bring these issues to the table sooner than your kids may be exposed to in real life. This is scary for most parents. Yet, life imitates art and while life is stronger than fiction, understanding these issues helped me develop empathy when friends faced similar issues.
The aftermath of a movie can be just as fun for it reveals to me what my kids take away from the film; what they quote, who they remember and what they re-enact. It doesn’t seem like my kids will be setting down their light sabers any time soon. Apparently, there’s an endless army of Droids that need battling in my house, particularly before bedtime. Storytelling has long been an educational tool and media is the modern way to share our stories and connect with each other. We can connect with characters who may seem very foreign from ourselves and gain understanding, tolerance and compassion. Yet oftentimes we become disconnected because we are too plugged into the media matrix.
If my law school classes were adapted to film, I would have had the highest scores ever. It’s my vernacular. My parents pushed books, but I gravitated towards film. I believe there’s something to be learned from every film, about humanity, history or filmmaking itself. Although, my adult self now measures the quality of films according to Alfred Hitchcock’s scale of “a good film is when the price of the dinner, the theatre admission and the babysitter were worth it.” After all, a night out at the movies isn’t cheap.
The children’s channels are filled with pre-school learning tools and there are untold films and series on the independent scene. While we filter and navigate the options and often concede to our kid’s marching orders of what they want to watch and to buy the latest film merchandise, the experience lives on.
Whether your main attraction is losing track of time, playing the hero or stocking up on milk duds, a movie night is always an adventure.
Enjoy the show!
About the Author
Cynthia Litman is a working modern mom with a classic twist. She has two delicious children and is the spiritual and visionary guide of Mommas Pearls. Cynthia began Momma’s Pearls in 2009 when her grandparents passed away as an outlet to remember and pass down their wisdom and integrate it into the quickly passing moments with her young family. Mommas Pearls provides insight and support to other everyday busy parents. Mommas Pearls has since dovetailed into the Mommas Pearls blog, talk radio show and M’S Gems – a blog written by her BFF Melissa who brings the practical, give it to you straight side of Mommas Pearls. Cynthia is also an entertainment lawyer with a niche in spiritual entertainment. Her firm Cynthia R. Litman, Esq., PLLC caters to the spiritual entertainment market. She is a founding partner of The Spiritual Cinema Circle (www.spiritualcinemacircle.com), a DVD club for spiritual films, Executive Producer of the Independent films “Lost In Sunshine” and “Boost”, production attorney for “Conversations With God” (film based upon the books by Neale Donald Walsch) and distribution attorney for Debbie Ford’s documentary film “The Shadow Effect” and Nicole Clark’s documentary film “Cover Girl Culture”. Cynthia is a contributing writer for the online magazine Bella Life and a Lifestyle expert for Skimbaco Lifestyle.