Picture this typical scenario: You and your family leave the cold confines of the movie theater and head out to the parking garage to make the trek home. As you shut your car door, the first thing you say to your spouse is:
“Tomorrow don’t forget Billy has baseball practice at 4:00pm, and then Sally has ballet rehearsal at 4:30pm so no stopping in between for snacks…. Also, I have a meeting across town, so you’ll have to pick them up, and oh, let’s not forget we signed up to bake cookies for the church fundraiser on Friday, so we’ll have to fit that in….”
You briefly look up to see the garage door opening, “Oh, wow we sure got home fast!”
As you close the garage you shout as the children run up the stairs, “Ok kid’s hope you liked the movie, dinner is in one hour!”
Now here’s a second scenario: As you shut your car door, you engage in conversation with the ENTIRE family:
“So, Billy, Sally, what did you think of the movie? I liked how the superhero used his powers to help the city fight evil….”
“Yeah and his laser vision was so awesome,” says Billy
“I’m tired of superhero movies…. They’re always the same,” says Sally.
“Well, I didn’t know that honey, thanks for telling me. Next time we’ll try to find something we all can enjoy.”
Your spouse chimes in, “one thing I didn’t like was the music. It really distracted me from what was happening.”
You reply, “good point, I didn’t realize that until now, you’re right! Oh, look kids, we’re home. That was fast… Thanks for the great evening out. Dinner is in one hour.”
Of the two scenarios, which one do you prefer?
Life can get busy. Between work, school, playdates, church, and volunteering, sometimes it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day! However, when you do find the time to make a movie showtime, a good way to make the most of your movie experience is to create a dialogue with the people you saw the movie with.
You paid for it. These days, it can be upwards of $10 to see a movie! And let’s not forget that is without concessions… Since you paid a price, get the value of the movie by talking about what worked and what didn’t. Was it worth your money? Would you buy it on DVD or Blu-ray? Why or why not?
Talking about the movie helps to make you an active audience member. If you talk about your likes and dislikes, you can use others’ findings and opinions to keep you aware of how the filmmakers were trying to make you feel. This is especially good to do as the movie is fresh in your mind.
Here are some good questions to start with: Was the plot manipulative? Did the characters grow? Was the movie realistic? Did you find yourself distracted? What did the movie communicate about God? Did it communicate anything about God?
Discussing themes, music or dialogue also helps your children with cognitive development. What children see on screen helps them develop understanding about the world and how to interact. In addition, these post-movie conversations challenge children to think deeply and become more knowledgeable and discerning.
The time it takes to get home from the movies gives you a sanctioned amount of time to talk about it. After you return home, you can go about your usual activities but that chunk of 10, 20 or 40 minutes- however long- serves as a designated time in which you can unpack what you saw.
Word of mouth is important! Filmmakers rely heavily on word of mouth for the success of a project. If people don’t like it, chances are, some more won’t also. Practice as an active audience member helps you find your voice and encourage filmmakers to either make more or less of the same thing.
“But, what if I’m single and don’t have a family?” “What if I only go to the movies with my bible study group?”
Well great! This doesn’t apply just to families. ALL moviegoers should practice good habits that include dissecting the content of movies.
Here are some ways to engage:
If you go on a date to see a movie, talk about it after and see if you have any similar opinions. Watching movies is a great way to connect.
If you’re single, talk about the movie with co-workers who may have seen it.
Remember, biblical teaching shows us that wisdom is paramount; “The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly. (Proverbs 15:!4)”
For more information on how to start these conversations, readThe Media-Wise Familyby Dr. Ted Baehr. This book gives a comprehensive look as to how to practice to ask the right questions to develop wisdom, knowledge and understanding at different stages of a child’s development.
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