Have a Family #MovieNight4Less With Orville Redenbacher’s Popcorn, M&M’s® & Warner Brothers

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I love watching movies. However, going out to the movie theater these days can be a pretty expensive proposition. Movie tickets range from $8-14 each depending upon where you live (where I live it’s about $12). Add in a soda and a snack you could be talking around than $30 for just one person! Bring the kids and you could be spending close to $100 to see the latest blockbuster.

There are ways though to indulge your love of film without emptying your wallet, such as hosting a family movie night at home.

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May The Force Be With You!

This weekend was a sort of rite of passage for us and our four and half-year old son.  On Saturday night he got to stay up late with mom and dad to watch “Star Wars,” one of our favorite films of all time!   I wasn’t much older than my son the first time I saw “Star Wars” in the theater that summer of 1977.  It was like no other movie I had ever seen and fell in love with all the characters.  I became obsessed, wearing my R2D2 shirt and playing with my “Star Wars” Kenner action figures.  I was excited to finally share this movie with my little boy.

Original “Star Wars” movie theater poster

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My First Movie Theater Experience In Five Years – “The Lorax”

I hadn’t step foot in a movie theater since February 2007 when I saw “The Queen.”  As I remember it, it was not a fun movie experience.  I was pregnant with kidlet #1 and I spent most of the movie either fighting back tears — keep in mind I was raging with hormones! — or nausea from the smell of buttered theater popcorn and musty old seats in the unfortunate mini-mall theater I was having my cinematic experience in.    Having two kidlets hasn’t afforded me lots of free time to go to a theater and blow $50 bucks on a movie, giant soda and snack!  Well, this weekend my five-year exile from the cineplex finally ended.  Did I go see one of the recent Oscar-winning films such as “The Artist,” “The Iron Lady” or “The Descendants”?  Nope, remember, I’m a mom – so I saw “The Lorax.”

We were actually on a family trip to Houston, TX to visit the kidlet’s Aunt B & Uncle T (I’ll post more about our rodeo experience later this week) and they are big movie go-ers.  Not only was “The Lorax” playing at their local theater, but it was playing in something called “Real 3D.”  Apparently, movie technology has come a long way since the last time I was in a theater, so I was game.   This was my two and half-year old daughter’s first movie experience while my son – he had seen “Cars 2” last year with his dad and couldn’t wait to put the 3-D glasses back on.   My daughter is always putting on my sunglasses, so I thought it would be no problem for her to wear the 3-D glasses in the theater.   Wrong! She couldn’t wait to yank them, and keep them, off. I first thought the glasses were way too big or way too geeky to my little fashionista.   Nope, she was just way too young to understand that she needed to wear them to see the movie in a way that wasn’t a blurry mess.   So here’s a tip, don’t spend the money or time to take anyone under three to 3D flick, it’s totally lost on them.

Now, I’ve read plenty of Dr. Seuss books in my time, but I never knew the story of The Lorax. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  Would the Lorax be funny and mischievous like the Cat from The Cat In The Hat or mean and scary like the Grinch in How The Grinch Stole Christmas (I’m talking books here, I’ve never seen those two flicks either).

The singing fish out-of-water were hilarious and I thought Pipsqueak, the baby bear, was totally adorable

The basic premise of the story and the film is not to waste our natural resources and to care about nature, the plants and animals on this planet, so that we don’t ruin our environment.  I have to say I like and fully support that message.  The animation itself was good, the casting seemed fine — Betty White apparently is the hardest working actress in Hollywood – and the movie had several catchy musical numbers.

The seemingly never-tired Betty White doing some of her voice over work for her character  Grammy Norma in “The Lorax

There were, however, several parts of the film that I thought got pretty heavy-handed about the evils of big business and how industry ruins the environment.  I thought this was especially egregious in the song “How Bad Can I Be.”   I also found it to be a bit hypocritical once I came out of the theater and started to notice some of the movie tie-ins. After doing a little research I found out that the film has more than 70 corporate tie-ins, including Mazda, Target, Pottery Barn Kids, Double Tree by Hilton, Seventh Generation and IHOP, just to name a scant few.   So the movie tells us that Big Business is bad for the environment, but doing business with big companies that supposedly ruin the environment in order to make the movie a hit is okay?

I thought we were seeing a fun movie based on a whimsical story from the beloved Dr. Seuss, not a lecture about environmentalism.  Would I have taken the kidlets to see the movie if I knew any of this in advance?  I’m not sure.  I asked my son what he thought the movie was about and he told me it was about a boy who didn’t listen to the funny little man about cutting the trees down and something bad happened.   So he understood the basic moral of the story and I’m good with that.   One thing is for sure, any movie based on a book that I take the kidlets to in the future, I’ll be sure to read it (and the reviews) first!

What was the first movie you took your child to see in a theater?