In a continuing effort to expose my children to more than just the stuff that’s on today, we are choosing a different movie each week that we think they might kind of enjoy. This week was Back to the Future. I would like to take full credit for selecting this movie and making my kids sit down and watch. This was an absolute favorite when I was a kid. It was just so cool. I wanted to be Marty McFly when I grew up. Who wouldn’t want to be him? He was just so cool. In fact, I distinctly remember a period of my life where I was slightly angry with my parents because they did not name me something cool like Marty. Or maybe Jason, but that’s not related to this at all, so I probably shunt have mentioned it. Not only was the premise to the film cool- Kid gets accidentally sent back to the past, where he runs into his parents and has to find a way to get the two of them together and find a way to get back to the future- but the way he went back in time was awesome. He was trying to get away from Libyan terrorists in a DeLorean that is also a time machine. I was convinced that the DeLorean was the coolest car ever when I was a kid. When Doc mentions something about if you’re going back in time, you might as well go back in style, he wasn’t lying. I loved all three BTTF movies. They really were such a big part of my growing up. For all of those reasons, I wish I had thought of this movie being our second attempt at Sunday Night Flicks, but it was my wife’s idea. And of course it was, because, well, my wife is cooler than yours. When she suggested it, I was totally on board with the idea.
My kids loved last week’s Sunday Night Flick, so when I suggested doing it again, they were totally stoked. This time, they didn’t care what the movie was. I told them anyway. Johnny thought it sounded awesome, while Eliza just asked if it was funny. I told her it was, and then hoped at least some of the jokes wouldn’t be over her head. Fortunately for me, anytime someone falls over while trying to put pants on, and they have purple underwear, she thinks it’s hilarious (it happens more often than you’d think). Overall, the kids liked the movie, although it took them a little bit to get the concept of time travel, which was surprising since they have watched so much Doctor Who with me. Maybe I should have explained that the car was like Marty’s TARDIS. Maybe that would have caught them on to it more quickly.
I wish I could say that this week went as smoothly as last week, but unfortunately, it didn’t. Jak was not interested at all in the movie, which is fine. He usually isn’t, and we don’t try to force him. That wasn’t why it didn’t go as smoothly. No, the problem this time was equipment. I think our Blu ray player is getting older and had been well used. I mean it is going on 5 years, which for cheap tech nowadays, is more than a life time. It had a hard time reading the disc. We would get a little bit into the film, and then it would just freeze. We tried cleaning the disc and starting it from where we left off, and then it would just freeze again. Now, if you have ever been in a similar situation as this, with 5 children, then you’ll know how well kids remain patient. I mean my kids just sat there quietly while we tried to get it to work and politely asked to help. And then monkeys began flying out of my posterior (Garth). What really happened is that the kids were so excited about the whole thing, that when the movie stopped working, they had not choice but begin running around the family room and jump on our sectional and start our very own version of the latest WWE pay per view. That’s what kids do when they are expecting to be entertained, and all of a sudden the entertainment stops working. The good news is that I actually find all of that chaos very therapeutic and calming so it really helped me work through trying to get the Blu ray player to work without getting frustrated at all. After messing with it for 20 minutes, and just before the kids’ main event, which was going to have Johnny facing off against Jak for the Dietz Family Heavyweight Championship, I decided to just download the movie from iTunes. Which worked like a charm.
This is how good Back to the Future is: I started the movie off where we had left off, the kids immediately sat down and were quiet and glued again to the TV. That is being written, by the way, with no sarcasm. That is honestly what happened. That is the mark of an exceptional film, at least by our standards. It’s like this: I would give that movie 2 out of 5 kids- in other words it got 2 of my 5 kids to sit down and watch it. Forget stars, that’s how I rank movies. How many of my children will the movie hold captivated for the length of the movie? If it’s less than 3, it’s not worth my time. This movie got 4 out of 5 kids sitting and watching it. We have only come across a few 5 kid movies: My Neighbor Totoro, Frozen, and Hal’s Moving Castle. Those are truly magical films because they keep the other kids sitting and watching, and Jak is even interested. 4 out of 5 isn’t bad, though. Even my little 2 year-old was just sitting on my lap for the whole movie and was glued to it. So, despite the 20 minute forced intermission, it worked out well.
Now how’s this for a truly geeky moment: As I was watching the movie, we had just had Stake Conference and one of the speakers had spoken about Family History. So, as I was watching BTTF, I kept thinking, this a really good endorsement for the importance of Family History. Marty had a whole new respect for his parents as he got to know them. It made me want to go out and do my own Family History. I just have to remember where I parked my time machine…