It’s strange trying to explain your childhood to your children.
It involves explaining a different time in a different culture in a different place. I recall trying to explain how having one wired telephone in a house full of nine people worked when I was young, yet it was too hard for them to understand giving the roughly one-to-one ratio on phones to people these days.
That’s why sharing your childhood through movies can be so much fun.
I’ve always enjoyed watching movies, but I’ve never been one to see the same film twice. That changed when my kids started growing into their teens and wanted to see some “classic” movies.
I’m not saying “Goonies” is “Casablanca,” yet it holds a dear spot in my wife’s heart as one of the first edgy movies with real danger explored in it.
I’ve watched “Hoosiers” with my children, and they enjoyed it appropriately. They liked the message of an underdog working hard and succeeding, as they should.
It turns out that watching “A League of Their Own” is the one that really stuck with them. All of my daughters seem to agree it’s a good movie. They talk about how much it meant to them to see women playing what was considered a man’s game at a high level. They learned a lot about empowerment through it.
I’d asked my friends on Facebook about the movies that they had to show their children, and there were some pretty interesting responses.
One college friend recommended “E.T.,” since the plot examines the need to explore, have friends and our shared fear of the unknown.
Some went for more down-to-earth examples, like “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas,” which is effective in showing how hate is taught.
Of course, we’re all suckers for team sports stories, such as “Rudy,” “Remember the Titans” and “The Blind Side.” All have their merits and have been screened at the Trinko Cinemas.
We’ve had some misfires too. Last weekend we watched “Stepbrothers” with our 14-year-old, who has a strange fondness for Adam Sandler gross-out movies too.
I don’t know much you learn from it, but one of our favorites has been “Back to the Future.” I suppose its most useful lesson is don’t let your mother fall in love with you when you’re time-traveling, although I’m sure there’s some better lessons about not letting your history choose your future. I have some great memories of my then-2-year-old curly-haired girl repeating the lines from Doc Brown: “Marty, we need to go back … to the future!”
Perhaps there’s some self-serving value to sharing these classics too. My kids now realize how many movie tropes were stolen directly from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” Now they better understand when I say something like “life comes at you fast” or “Bueller? Bueller? Anyone?”
The real greatness of sharing these memories of watching movies is getting the chance to build some new memories along the way. I cherish these moments sitting together and laughing at the same jokes, nearly weeping at the same sadnesses and generally sharing a moment I won’t soon forget, and I hope they won’t either.