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FIRST-PERSON: Pick an uplifting classic film & invite folks over for a party

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (BP)–As America joins other countries facing terrorism’s reality, our nation’s spirit cries out not just for justice but also for peace, understanding and a little joy.

Many who once preferred spending Sunday mornings behind a newspaper at the neighborhood Starbucks are now accompanying churchgoers as we gather and pray for divine intervention. Indeed, it is a time for seeking strength, protection and God’s guidance. But in the midst of trial and sacrifice, people need moments of escape from the stresses of life.

Alas, more and more, the movie-going experience is becoming less and less satisfying. Hollywood is dictating a contemporary moral code that delights our baser human instincts but often neglects the soul. It has become frustrating for those of us who love a good movie yet detest having to mentally digest one mediocre or profane film-going experience after another. As if the excessive violence, the obscene language and the promiscuous sex up on the screen weren’t bad enough, the theater has become polluted with cell phones ringing, stinky sneakers resting on seat backs, and yak, yak, yakking from those who believe the theater is their extended living room. Oh, and let’s not forget the ever-soaring ticket price!

Well, I’ve got a way for you to save money and have more fun than going to the local cineplex with its nacho cheese-covered floors and earsplitting sound system. It’s a video party.

Once a month, send out a note to friends telling them of a video you have chosen to show on a Saturday evening. Pick out a favorite of yours, making sure it is one that is both entertaining and, at the same time, edifying.

When selecting a favorite, give the film’s synopsis and some trivia about the movie. If you have a computer, print the invitation in a special font or with artwork. Make the presentation part of the event. When they RSVP, ask each invitee to bring a favorite munchie or something to drink.

I recently showed “My Fair Lady” to a group. Two of my guests had never seen the Oscar-winning musical. We had a blast. Bringing a work of art such as “It’s A Wonderful Life” or “Lawrence of Arabia” to a first-time viewer is almost as much fun as seeing it yourself. You’re presenting a film that has touched you in some way and you want to share the experience.

In Ecclesiastes 3, the Bible says, “There’s a time for everything … a time to laugh … and a time to dance,” which I interpret to mean, a time to be entertained.

Movies can divert, or teach, or sometimes even nourish the spirit. Good, clean films are out there, but it takes an effort to locate them. If you need help finding an appropriate video for your friends, e-mail me at [email protected] and I will be glad to furnish you with a few suggestions.

Today, staying home with a good video and making your own popcorn will save you a fortune compared to the overpriced goodies found at the neighborhood cinema. And no one will kick the back of your seat!
Boatwright is the publisher and reviewer for The Movie Reporter, a weekly film guide from a family perspective. For more info, go to his site at www.moviereporter.com.

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  • Phil Boatwright