Family Movie Night – what not to watch

In recent months, I’ve been exposing the kids to musicals for family movie night. They’ve seen The Wizard of Oz, Kiss me Kate, Singing in the Rain, and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. So far, I think their favorite has been Singing in the Rain. Even my 3 year old was performing two of the songs weeks later. And the vaudeville/tap dancing is a big hit with the boys, although it hasn’t yet convinced them to take lessons.


Last night we watched West Side Story. I made the mistake of not checking the length of the movie before I promised it. It is 2 1/2 hours long. We got about 90 minutes in when I called a halt on account of the three younger ones who really needed to just go to bed. The older boys were disappointed. I was sorry, but that was that. This morning, Fritz woke up at 6 am as usual, and I found him in the family room cuing up the DVD to where we left off the night before. He and Petey and I watched the last hour before anyone else awoke.

This musical did not hold my kids’ interest nearly as much. They like tap dancing much more than modern dance and ballet, the songs are not as catchy, and the whole gang warfare concept was outside of their world view. In that last hour, there is the big rumble scene where the two gang leaders are killed. “Romeo” goes to “Juliet”‘s home and tells her he is responsible for her brother’s death, but that he didn’t mean to do it. They agree to run away together. He departs to wait for her to meet him later. Then word comes that an angry friend of her brother found out about their plans and killed her. It’s a lie, but “Romeo” believes it as truth and goes out looking for this man in the hopes that the friend will kill him too and end his misery.

Fritz asked: Why does he want to die? Oh, how glad I am that he is still young enough to not get that. And how glad I am that I am old enough to almost forget why myself.

Later in the morning, Billy told me that he didn’t need to watch the ending of the movie. Fritz clued him in that there was a big fight, people died, and that the ending was sad. OK, I can take a hint. Next up I think will be Annie Get Your Gun. They’ve recently learned about Annie Oakley, and this musical is supposed to be a battle of the sexes, happy ending love story. Sounds good to me.

7 thoughts on “Family Movie Night – what not to watch

  1. One of my favorites as a kid was “The Music Man.” I practically knew the whole score, thanks to my great-grandfather who used to sing me the songs.

  2. My kids always liked “Singing in the Rain” too. How about “Sound of Music” and “My Fair Lady?”

  3. Some of my favorites were The Sound of Music, The Original Family Band, Bed Knobs and Broomsticks, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang…Okay, so most of those are Disney flicks…John tried to find Song of the South…and we discovered Disney banned it and won’t release it because of the ACLU…but the songs were great! Zipidee Doo Da!

  4. I’ve added Family Band, The Music Man and My Fair Lady to our list. Thanks! They have seen The Sound of Music…I frequently sing the songs from that movie…they usually cover their ears. And they saw Chitty a few years ago, too. Too bad about Song of the South…I loved seeing that as a kid…I know I’m missing a few other musicals they’ve seen. I know there was at least one or two more with tap dancing that they loved, but I can’t think of them.

  5. Hello Dolly is a great one too…when I was a girl I always loved the staircase number at the end…Mary Poppins is also a classic, lots of good dancin’ scenes there.

  6. My youngest performed in “The Music Man” last year.

  7. I had to rent <>West Side Story<> just for the song “Maria”–which my mother-in-law burst into when I brought my newborn daughter (thusly named) home from the hospital.At first I was like <>Ew!<> to the very dated soundtrack, but heck if it didn’t grow on me! Most musical soundtracks do after a few listens.

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