Family Movie Night

April 27, 2012

Been to any movies lately? It can be a challenge to get out to a movie, especially with little kids. I am lucky though because I work part time for a couple movie theaters and part of one of my jobs is to screen the films and make sure they run all right. Sometimes, I bring Alex and Brian with to see the movies. I have not always been to careful to make sure that the movie was appropriate, and some of Alex’s first movies were R rated comedies. At a couple weeks of age, he really did not care. I am a lot more careful now, though some PG-13 movies slip through the cracks. Alex loves superhero films, especially Captain America.

Most of the movies Alex has watched, the theater has been empty except for Alex, Brian, and me. As a result he has been able to run wild around the theater during the show. We have been to a few movies with audiences with mixed results. No matter how much Alex liked the movies, Brian or I always ended up spending part of the movie outside of the theater so Alex could take a break.

Friday I planned on bringing Alex with me to the Portlander Cinema  in the morning so he could watch Journey 2: The Mysterious Island after I put the film together. However, there were complications and the film did not arrive until 4. Since another movie was playing in the same theater until 4:30, I was not able to put the movie together in time to screen it before the 6:45 show. I decided that it would be nice if Brian and Alex joined me, and we watched the movie together along with the rest of the audience. I invited Alex’s grandparents and great grandmother as well, so we had a big group.

The Portlander is located at Jubitz truck stop. Audience members purchase their tickets at Moe’s Deli which sells deli sandwiches, cookies, and traditional movie fare such as popcorn and candy. Since Brian and I had not eaten yet, I bought a 12” sandwich and a dozen cookies for us all to split. I also ran over to the truck stop’s restaurant, the Cascade Grill and got Alex an order of fries in case he got hungry since he is pretty picky.

I had a family movie pass from when we went to the Jubitz Winter Wonderland, so I used that for Brian, his parents (Alex’s grandparents), and grandmother (Alex’s great grandmother). Alex and I got in free since I work at the theater. Normally admission is just $3, so it really is an affordable theater for anyone to enjoy.

We went into the theater and Alex ran down the hall excited to see a movie. As he got to the end of the hall, he tripped. When he stood up, he realized there were people in the theater other than us and burst into tears. This is the first time he has seen a movie at the Portlander with an audience. The movie was popular, so while it was not sold out, there were a fair number of people there.

We found a seat and I kept Alex busy with french fries. The movie started a little late since they were busy selling tickets and concessions, but there are generally no trailers at the Portlander (I take them all off the films). There was a short cartoon featuring Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd which was a lot of fun (though I am not sure what I think about digital Looney Toons animation).

Journey 2 was released in 3D, but the Portlander currently plays 35 mm film and does not have 3D capability. I personally prefer 2D as 3D gives me a huge headache, and I think 35 mm is far superior to digital film. I also don’t think it would be very easy to keep 3D glasses on a little kid. You could certainly tell the movie was made for 3D, but it was still very enjoyable as a 2D experience.

Alex loved the movie and sat still for most of it. He did want to leave a couple times, so we got up for a potty break once, but we hurried back in to the movie. For the most part Alex sat on my lap with his eyes glued to the screen and occasionally made comments about things he saw. On the way home he could not stop talking about the movie. We all had a great time and enjoyed the movie. I would highly recommend taking your kids to it.

Taking kids to movies can certainly be tricky, especially kids that have a hard time sitting still. Here are a few tips to make it a little easier. Pick a show time when it is likely to be less busy. Avoid opening weekends for new movies. Movies tend to be quieter during the week and at earlier shows. It is also usually cheaper to go to a movie earlier in the day. Consider going to a discount theater like the Portlander to save money. Pick an appropriate movie for your kid- animated movies are often a good choice. If you have really little kids, McMennamins theaters offer Mommy Matinees specifically for moms with babies. Some of the movies they play I would cringe to bring my kid to, but I suppose if you have a really little baby, it does not really matter. Whatever movie you go to, be prepared to step out if your kid becomes antsy. Some kids just won’t sit still long enough to watch a whole movie.

Have fun at the movies!

-HL