Friday Movie Night

Today, I’m so pleased to continue the DALS Family Rituals Series with funny lady Robin O’Bryant, New York Times Bestselling author of
Ketchup is a Vegetable and Other Lies We Tell Ourselves. She lives in Greenwood, Mississippi with her three daughters (Aubrey, 11, Emma, 10, Sadie, 7) and husband, Zeb and has one of the more hilarious Facebook feeds out there. Take it away, Robin.

It starts with a splash of olive oil in a sizzling hot popcorn popper, the metal rod spinning around kernels of Lady Finger popcorn.

It’s Friday night–movie night– and all systems are ‘GO’ in the O’Bryant house.

My daughters rush from their bedrooms to the family room, dragging with them all manner of squishy chairs, well worn quilts and pillows galore. Stuffing for their not so little nests– the coffee table has to be moved to accommodate it all.

I rustle around in the kitchen, gathering the Milk Duds — to be eaten with a handful of salty popcorn, obviously — and ice cold Coca-Colas. The old-fashioned kind, in the glass bottles. The bottles scream nostalgia and take me back to the basement of the church I attended as a child. I remember standing in the musty stairwell, and twisting the lever of the old machine so hard I had to use both hands. The bottle would roll out to the side, and I’d use the bottle opener on the machine to crack open my soda– the lid dropping into the machine with a satisfying click.

Behind me, the popcorn starts to pop. A single kernel at first, building into that familiar bubbling pop as the kernels start to explode. I’m sure you can get Lady Finger popcorn (here, maybe and here) but ours comes from my father-in-law, Pop Pete. He comes to our house in his worn overalls, his beard hanging over the bib, with bags of the stuff, and raw, shelled peanuts he’s gotten from Amish Country. He gets his horses shod and buys enough popcorn and peanuts to sustain a small army.

My husband, Zeb, butters and salts the popcorn and we head into the family room, our arms laden with goodies.

The girls are nestled in their spots on the floor and we slide onto the sectional behind them– stadium seating!

The movie is chosen by general consensus, but the girls always want to watch, “a movie from when you were a child.” So we time travel back to the 80s with Back to the Future, Goonies the entire Indiana Jones and Star Wars collections.

It’s our tradition. And it’s important. Because life is busy and school is hectic and my husband and I often travel for work. Because of homework and gymnastics and art and church, and a million other things that keep us from simply sitting in the same room together, being a family.

That’s what I hope my kids will remember the most– the togetherness.

Thank you, Robin! PS: I’ve heard that Movie Night is a pretty regular ritual with a lot of you guys out there. What films have you had success with lately? Some of our recent hits: 42, Almost Famous(for 14+), and any of the Bourne movies, which have been on repeat in our house for about five years now, thanks to Jason Bourne’s biggest fan, Andy. Please include ages of your kids with recommendations.

Related: When the Cat’s Away….

Pictured: Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel in Gilmore Girls, another series worth building a ritual around if you have kids who are 12 and up.

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Our family loves chilling out a Sunday evening and watching a movie. Other families go boating, but we think relaxation is sitting on a couch with nachos and a good blanket- ha! Recent movie nights have included: the Last of the Mohicans, What About Bob, and Midnight Speical (so good!)

Soon Little Women and Dan in Real Life. Because fall.


Love love love Dan in Real Life! What about Bob is a family favorite! Have you tried Burbs? Little Women!


We have a 18 month old but we’ve already started the Friday pizza and movie night ritual in our house. We have pizza, pop some popcorn and watch a ‘littles’ movie (i.e. Frozen or something with loads of songs) until she loses interest and it’s bedtime (only about 30 minutes on a good night). After Little Miss goes to bed it’s time for mom and dad’s movie, which is something that we wanted to see in the theater but can’t seem to get there right now. I hope we continue this weekly ritual and our daughter remembers that mom and dad celebrated the weekend with a little party on Friday nights…together.

Sue Hagen

Love our Friday Night Movie nights. We always have homemade pizzas and a chopped salad, followed by popcorn and M&M’s. Because it is a regular thing, many of the neighborhood friends invite themselves over, and love being part of our family ritual. I have two girls that love to sing and dance, so over the summer we decided to try all the old musicals The Sound of Music, Music Man, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Easter Parade and of course, The Wizard of Oz.


Gilmore Girls was big when I was in high school. My best friend since kindergarten, Anne, and I went to different high schools, but every Monday during those four years, Anne’s mom would call to get the Chinese food order for my mom and me and we would convene in their living room to watch the happenings in Stars Hallow and eat egg rolls together. When I went away to college Anne’s mom even sent me a Gilmore Girls season premiere party in a box – complete with money to order Chinese food. It made me so incredibly happy even though I was 700 miles away.

Megan GK

The kiddo just turned 3, and we started Friday movie night with him this summer – he looks forward to it all week long. Every morning at breakfast, he asks me what day it is, and on Fridays, he grins real big and says, “Tonight, we get to eat pizza on the couch and watch a movie.” We take turns picking (age-appropriate) movies. His favorites right now are Finding Nemo and Cars. I can’t wait until he’s old enough to appreciate the Muppet movies!


My boys are 9 and 13. Recently we have liked Salma Hayek’s “The Prophet” and loved “Once I was a Beehive.” American Girl “Chrissa Stands Strong” was a surprising hit. We watched it on Friday night and they got up and watched it again on Saturday. Once was enough for me, although it did give us an opportunity to discuss the line between being mean and being a bully.


My kids are little (almost 2 and 5) so if we are going to watch a movie in its entirety we basically have to start at 5pm or watch it over the course of 3 nights. I can’t wait until they are old enough to watch the PBS mini series Anne of Green Gables with me as I just love that. Favorite movies right now are Peppa Pig (one little episode after the other so it’s kind of movie like), Finding Nemo, Mary Poppins, and lately my 5 year old is obssessed with the Black Stallion.


My 2-year-old daughter is obsessed with Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox. (She calls it Merry Foxes.) As a mother who REALLY can’t stand modern kids’ movies, this is a pretty good compromise. We’re also big fans of the 1970s animated Winnie the Pooh movie, but be warned, you will be never get the songs out of your head.


We love Movie Night Fridays! Favorites in our house include Snow Dogs (with Cuba Gooding), Gus (a Don Knotts classic), National Velvet and Ice Age, Dawn of the Dinasaur. These are great for any age!


In honor of this post and the new Macgyver remake, I kicked back with 4 of the kiddos Saturday night and watched a couple original Mac episodes (all 7 seasons are on Amazon Prime). I’m old enough to say the old ones are a lot better 😉

Other big favorites in our house are any Star Wars, Homeward Bound (I love that one of my kids still pronounces the cats name Assy), Sandlot, Hook, or, probably the all time winner, Princess Bride.

My kids range from 2-9, and I look forward to enjoying a wider range of movies as they shift upwards a bit in what they can handle. But Princess Bride will probably always win.


Am I the only one who does movie night on Saturday? My boys (3 & 5) were Cars/Nemo/Curious George fans until they recently discovered Octonauts. We’re binge watching on Saturdays after homemade pizza.


We recently started this tradition – more on a Sunday early evening…..our kids are 5 1/2 and 7……The Parent Trap, Stuart Little, Cinderella, Matilda…..With a fun dinner – nachos, chinese, homemade wings……’s fun!!


My little one is only 5 1/2 months so we haven’t started movie nights yet (I can’t wait to start!) but I am a third grade primary school teacher so I’ve seen my share of kids’ movies! Great ones that aren’t too kiddy for the 8/9 year old set are: Cool Runnings, The Mighty Ducks trilogy, Enchanted and The Emperor’s New Groove. Musicals like My Fair Lady, Mary Poppins, Sound of Music are always great too! 🙂


I have 2 teenage boys and their favorite movie night hits have been the Godfather Trilogy, Rocky movies and Saturday Night Fever- all accompanied by Rao’s meatballs and rigatoni, you can’t go wrong!