Family Movie Night

BY VALERIE BELDEN WILDER  I  West Valley City, Utah  I  Friday, 7 October 2016


It’s been a long day and I’m relaxing on my bed, feet up.

Earlier today my sister and I went to my work (I guess I should say my former place of employment, since Wednesday was my last day, yipee!) and brought home enough cardboard Barnes & Noble boxes to kill a small forest.

We’ve been sorting and packing things into numbered boxes. Yesterday, we got to box 24. Of books. And that was before we even started packing my cookbooks. Today, somewhere around box 30, my sister asked, “Are there more books somewhere?” That’s when I started laughing like a maniac. You know, when you’re stressed, but can’t stop the inappropriate laughing? That was me.

We’ve been working hard and are going to reward ourselves with family movie night tonight! If we can find the TV. If we can get the DVD player to work. My equipment isn’t exactly state-of-the-art. The living room is chock full of boxes. But we’ve managed to clear off four chairs, one for each of us.

Last winter, when my sister came to take care of me, most Friday nights we ate her homemade pizza and watched videos: Chocolat, The Hundred Foot Journey, The Maze Runner, and others. We made popcorn in my new hot air popper, as well, and I got addicted. Sometimes I eat popcorn for breakfast, a whole bowlful. Hey! It’s a grain, so how is it any different from Cheerios or oatmeal or toast?

At my place, we have two holiday movie traditions.

I know most people are crazy for Christmas Story, but at our house, every December we watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, with Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo, and I laugh myself absolutely silly.

I love the Griswolds’ beautiful house, the wacky relatives, the sullen teenagers, the scene where Clark gets locked in the attic and is wearing a woman’s hat to keep warm, the part where Clark and Ellen are in bed and he gets the subscription card for People magazine stuck to his hand, etc., etc.

And in October, we watch Hocus Pocus, with Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy. I long for New England in the fall. The old Salem houses in that movie, and the flaming leaves, they always make my heart ache for the east…sigh.

I love the widow’s watch in Max’s room, the beautiful Colonial house Allison lives in, and how she ditches the gorgeous, yet stuffy party her parents are having to go on an all-night adventure at the Sanderson museum and all around Salem with Max and Dani.

The Sanderson Sisters! I love Winifred’s crazy red hair, buck teeth, and expressive, long-nailed fingers. I love Sarah’s blonde, ditzy, pitch-perfect boy-crazy act, and dark-haired Mary’s crooked mouth. I love the scene where the three witches board the Salem bus and say they desire children.

What movies do you love? Are there ones you watch over and over? Family movie night and holiday movies are so fun.

Right now is a good time to gather your family and friends around, go make a bowl of buttery, salty popcorn, light the requisite pumpkin candle, dim the lights, and press play…