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Suddenly, Family Movie Night Matters Like It Never Did Before

Never in history has family movie night had a bigger job to do.

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In the throes of a worldwide health crisis—one we’re mostly supposed to fight by staying home together—family movie night is being called on to bridge the gap between parents and their big kids who are suddenly home together for an undetermined amount of time.

On top of this (although admittedly to a far lesser degree), March Madness has been replaced by March Sadness, not only because all the NCAA tournaments have been cancelled but because spring sports in general have been put on hold.

There’s nothing to watch and nothing to practice. So moods are swinging, tensions are tightening, and tempers are shortening.

Nothing can be expected to assuage all this, but a good movie can take the edge off. Movies transport us, teach us, elevate us, make us laugh, make us cry, bring us together, and spark conversation. All of which we desperately need right now. Whether you’re a college hoops fan in full-on withdrawal or someone who doesn’t know (or care about) one end of the court or field from the other, these family-friendly movies will bring your family together at a time when we could all use a little entertainment.

And speaking of covered, there’s the popcorn: no matter how eye-roll inducing the mention of “family movie night” might be (or might get to be, as this thing drags on), the smell of this popcorn has mood-altering qualities. Make up a batch, grab the bowls, turn down the lights, and summon your big kids, because there’s more at stake here than just a movie night. On the other side of this crisis, we are going to have tales to tell, and we need stories of families pulling together and staying together to be among them.

Family Movie Night Movies

If you’re experiencing March Madness withdrawal, these are the movies to watch:


Glory Road

The Mighty Macs

If you’re longing for spring training to start, check out these films:


Million Dollar Arm

A League of Their Own

If you’re already looking forward to more action on the gridiron, these movies will keep you entertained:


The Blind Side

My All-American

If running is your thing (or maybe you feel like running away), these films will make you feel the wind in your face:

McFarland, USA


1 Mile to You

If you just like a great inspirational story, these sports films will leave you cheering:


Full Out


Don’t forget the snacks!

This is my family’s favorite go-to movie snack. It’s not just plain popcorn or caramel corn drizzled decoratively with melted chocolate. Please. This is popcorn fully encased in a chewy chocolate coating, almost like chocolate caramel. Make this for your family and, I promise, movie nights will never be the same!

Chocolate-Covered Popcorn Recipe

(print recipe)

  • 14-16 cups plain popped popcorn (I use an air-popper and make 1 ½ batches)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup light corn syrup
  • ¼ cup butter (no substitutions), cut into chunks
  • Dash of salt
  • 2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  1. Preheat oven to 300°. Place popped popcorn in a large roasting pan or other large baking pan coated with cooking spray.  (If you do not have a large pan, you can use 2 9×13-inch baking pans and divide the popcorn evenly between them.)
  2. Bake at 300° for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. This removes extra moisture from the popcorn so the finished product will be crisp.
  3. Combine sugar, corn syrup, butter, salt, and chocolate in a 2-cup microwave-safe measuring cup or small microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave on High power for 2 minutes or until boiling, stirring after 1 minute. Watch carefully unless you want to create a chocolate volcano in your microwave!
  4. Remove from microwave and stir in vanilla.
  5. Carefully pour the chocolate mixture over the popcorn and toss gently to coat using a large spoon or spatula.
  6. Serve immediately or allow to cool slightly in the pan. Makes about 14 cups, which sounds like a lot but is usually just barely enough for my family!

Elizabeth Spencer is mom to two daughters (one teen and one young adult) who regularly dispense love, affection, and brutally honest fashion advice. She writes about faith, food, and family (with some occasional funny thrown in) at Guilty Chocoholic Mama and avoids working on her 100-year-old farmhouse by spending time on Facebook and Twitter.

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