Movie Night: Watching Classic Flicks with Your Young Adult

My eleven-year-old has become more reclusive and immersed in her own activities and projects. She heads up to her room after school and apart from a hastily eaten dinner, I don’t see her again until I have to start bugging her about bedtime.

Okay, so I’ve been feeling a little lonely.

imagesI wanted to reclaim at least one evening a week for us to spend time together, so I announced that from now on Saturday night is Movie Night. We are going to sit down every Saturday night and watch a movie together. No ifs, ands, or buts.

Oh, and we’re going to watch Old Movies.

Why? Because I am a fanatic about classic cinema, and I have so many films I want to share with her, and we are getting so wound up in technology and the whirlwind of passing fads and memes and youtube stars that I want us both to get a bit of fresh air and perspective. I wrote a post about this way back in May 2011, in which I presented my case for watching old movies with your kids. (It’s still relevant, save for one mention of a “video store”! What are those?) At the time I wrote it I was thinking more about preschoolers, but the basic argument holds true for elementary school kids and adolescents*.

Besides the pleasure of watching these films, they also serve to expand cultural and media literacy. It may be easier for a preteen to identify the biases of an old movie than the more subtle prejudices of current movies. Learning about the techniques that filmmakers use to sway an audience to a certain emotion or point of view is an invaluable lesson. The more we are bombarded with media every moment of the day, the more we all need to be aware of how and why films have such a strong influence over us, emotionally and intellectually.

Our poor underfunded schools are way behind in addressing media literacy in a meaningful way. They focus on internet safety and online bullying, both important topics, but a more complete curriculum would include examples of persuasion and propaganda throughout film history, from Birth of a Nation, to Leni Riefenstahl, to current instances of racism, homophobia, and sexism. To properly understand propaganda in all its forms, one must have a general knowledge of film technique and, as Martin Scorsese puts it, basic Visual Literacy.

Okay, I’ll let up now. I’ve written about this elsewhere and two excellent videos explain this point better than I can (see links below). The bottom line is that I’m going to write posts about the movies we watch for any of you who would like some suggestions for your own Movie Nights.

If you go over to the sidebar, you can click on categories to see my posts and reviews of old movies, or zero in on age-appropriate movie suggestions.

moviesComing soon: Jesus Christ Superstar!!! We watched this one recently and it was unbelievably Groovy. We nearly overdosed on the Groovy. (I know what you’re thinking, ‘is that really an OLD movie?’ It ain’t black and white, but 1973 still feels like long, long ago in a galaxy far far away…)

Stay tuned for more movies!



*I’m having trouble coming up with a good, non-condescending term for 10-14 year olds. Tween is very accurate, as they really are betwixt and between, but it’s too close to twee. Besides, my daughter makes a face when I say it. Teen implies high-schoolish range which isn’t what I’m aiming at (yet). Young Adult is too vague, and sometimes includes those in their 20s. Preteen is nearly as bad as teenybopper, which I despised back in the day. Juvenile has the taint of delinquency. Pubescent is just kind of icky. Youth? Young one? Minor? Subadult? Large Child?

Related posts:

Watching Old Movies

Film Club and Cultural Literacy (TED talk)

Martin Scorsese on Visual Literacy


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. aidantalkin
    Feb 11, 2018 @ 06:51:48

    Looking forward to watching that TED talk, thanks, AND a bunch more old gems with my own project-driven reclusive… um, young person.


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