Pop Some Popcorn and Pull Up a Chair: A Behind the Scenes Look at The New Movie Night Journal

As a kid my summers were spent flying through VHS tapes of our favorite Disney movies with my little sister. Sometimes my dad would wake us up in the middle of the night to watch scary movies with him. And we took many family trips to the neighborhood dollar theater. Some of my best childhood memories include watching movies with my family, and to this day, I still call my mom to chat about the latest films, and get movie recommendations.

My love of movies has only grown since I was a little girl. I am a lifelong fan of animated movies. My digital Disney movie collection that far surpassed my mom’s VHS tapes and I’ve become a (mostly self-proclaimed) movie critic. It has taken me on some of my wildest dreams. I’ve had incredible opportunities to attend red carpet events for movies like Moana and The BFG and interview stars including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Oprah, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Steven Spielberg.

Disney's Wrinkle in Time red carpet blue carpet premiere event
(Wrinkle in Time World Premiere with baby Lee Lee on board)

Now, sharing movies with our kids has been one of my greatest joys. Our three children who are getting a healthy dose of movie classics from their dad and I. From The Land Before Time, to Rocky, and Indiana Jones, these kids aren’t just watching the latest and greatest.

Recently my love of reviewing family movies evolved from just something I do for fun on my blog, to writing movie reviews for Common Sense Media.

I’ve seen how fun and rewarding it can be to enjoy movies together as a family, and I want to share that with others.

How it came about

During the COVID-19 pandemic a lot of us were stuck at home with no where to go. Activities were canceled. School was virtual, and much work was done from home. I don’t know about you but we wound up spending a lot of time watching movies together. My free Disney movie checklists went bananas as families downloaded the printables to complete together. We even had a summer Marvel movie marathon and went through a movie a day during lunch. But as things started to open up again, sports restarted, kids went back to school, and our calendars to filled up again, I wanted to create something for families who still wanted to slow down and connect.

Family Movie Night

Here in the Borget house we’ve had a tradition for years where we watch movies together once a week for Family Movie Night. It’s a great time to take a breather while having fun together, but it does require some planning to run smoothly.

For some families, the busyness of everyday life can make this difficult. For others the challenge may come from trying to choose an age-appropriate movie that everyone will enjoy. Voting over what to watch can leave people frustrated. And sometimes it takes longer to decide on a movie than it does to actually watch the film. I get it!

Pulling the pieces that make our Family Movie Night run smoothly, my oldest daughter Jayda and I sat down and started sketching pages and ideas for what has now become the Movie Night Journal. You can read more about that process here.

How does it work? In summary, it’s a keepsake journal with a how-to guide for setting rules for movie night (no cell phones please!), with space to plan your movie nights using detailed lists for dozens of movie genres, hundreds of movie ideas, and fun activity sheets. Enjoy your movie nights by filling in the pages to keep track of what you watch and when. Who liked it and who didn’t. And the most memorable parts – either the actual movie scenes or memories that happened while you were watching the movie. And so much more.

What’s so special about movies anyway?

If you’re reading this far, you probably already get it. Movies give us a sense of belonging. Whether to the characters in the story, or others who enjoy it. How many times have you connected with someone over the mutual enjoyment of a favorite film? And watching movies together, whether in a movie theater or in the comfort of your home, is a shared experience that makes everyone feel closer at the end of it!

Turning off our distractions and watching a movie with our kids has kept a sense of normalcy and fun, even during times of uncertainty. Not to mention, films can be not only entertaining, but even educational at the times. Even if the story itself is meant to entertain, the takeaways and discussions we have after often give us a lot to think about.

The “journal” aspect of the book isn’t meant to feel like a chore, but rather a chance to connect and reflect on the night before rushing off to bed. Usually we fill it out during the end credit while we wait to see if there are any bonus scenes.

Ok, I’m sold, where can I get this glorious book? 

I knew I liked you! Start your own movie night tradition, or level up your existing one with the Movie Night Journal below!

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