I used to love going to the movies. But let’s face it, it isn’t quite the same experience anymore. Most movie theaters are in need of an upgrade, but still set pricing like it’s a Broadway show. The noise, the crowds, problems up in the projector booth, not to mention keeping track of the kids amongst the chaos; it all makes a weekend evening at the movies less than a pleasure. But with state-of-the-art home entertainment systems and all sorts of movie services available on TV and the internet, it’s never been easier and more satisfying to have a movie night at home. Of course, it takes a little more than a DVD to make it a truly great ‘night at the movies’, but there are tons of tricks you can employ to ensure it’s absolutely memorable. Here’s a look at some of the necessities.
The ambiance. Try your best to recreate the movie theater experience in your living room, but with a more personal touch. Rearrange the lighting for perfect viewing. I like it pretty dim as if the light is coming from those tiny glowing dots running down each aisle of a theater. But you might also want to try candles along the back wall. It won’t interrupt the film while still leaving enough light for the little ones to find their way to the bathroom without falling on their faces. And it actually recreates the flicker from the projection room in a theater. Rearrange the furniture as well, so every seat has a great sightline on the screen. And turn off the phones! You wouldn’t want someone’s cell phone to go off in the movies; play by the same rules at home.
The goodies. Which sort of snack, treat or sweet you’ll need to have on hand is completely up to you. Everyone has different ideas of what makes the perfect movie night eats. But start with a fun, finger food-focused meal. Your kids will get a kick out of the theater-sized food, and you might end up with enough time to turn movie night into a double feature. Snacks should cover all the basics – popcorn, chocolate, and everybody’s favorite soft drinks. But consider ways you can spruce it up, so the candy is as homemade as the theater. Pop your popcorn from scratch on the stove, not in a microwave bag, and bake a fresh dessert. Think about trying sodas made with natural sugar and fewer additives. Look, if you simply must have Goobers for it to feel like movie night, go ahead. But fancying up the snacks may lead to more movie nights at home and less annoying theater experiences, so try to go the extra mile.
The film. Your husband likes westerns. Your son only wants to watch shows with ninjas. Your little girl wants musicals. And all you want to watch is whatever George Clooney is in. Do you all compromise? Think about bringing it up for a vote. Each family member can ‘pitch’ their movie choice, sharing why they think it’s the best option for movie night. Whichever movie gets the most votes wins. Or think about trying a different genre each movie night, and rotating who picks. Sometimes it’s best to let your previous tastes do the choosing, and watch whatever your movie service recommends to you. The most important thing is that you end up with something you’d all enjoy. If it’s not a film you all would have seen in the theater, skip it.
In the end, the size of the HD screen, the gourmet grub, or the theater seating for the home will all help make it into a great movie night. But it’s that quality time, with everyone snuggled up on the couch, quiet and content, that will movie night at home priceless.