Jul 13, 2020

How Movies Brought One Teen Closer to Her Family During Quarantine

By Lori Draz and Gabriella Cascone

Welcome to Teen Scene. Each month our young authors write, in their own voice, stories that will educate and inform fellow students and parents. If you are a teen who would like to write your story, contact The Journal. We’ll help you polish it up, so don’t worry, let’s just get to sharing.

This month’s author is 16-year-old Gabriella Cascone, of Lincroft, a junior at Middletown High School South. Each family has been finding its way through the time of quarantine. In Gabriella’s home, the answer was popcorn. That was the treat the family enjoyed as they learned more about themselves by watching many, many movies. Films provide a timeless window into the fashions, social conditions and concerns of each era. They can show you a lot, if you watch closely. Here is Gabriella’s story.

During quarantine, we watched a lot of movies. I learned you get the most out of a movie when you truly give yourself over to the screen. While this may seem like an insignificant life lesson in the grand scheme of everything that is going on right now, for me, it makes sense. Over the past two and half months, my family has watched more than 100 movies. Before this, we would check out an occasional movie, but because choosing one often ended in a disagreement, we didn’t do it often. When we first began self-quarantining, we watched a couple of movies to pass the time. Then we watched “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and the movie binge began.

In previous years, my sisters and I completely dismissed 80s movies anytime our parents brought them up. However, as a 16-year-old, I felt like I was the only one in the world who had never seen these movies, so we started watching some each night. As I mentioned earlier, we have a hard time agreeing on a film. We needed an impartial judge. Who better than our 3-pound chihuahua, Nani? Each of us wrote our choices on slips of paper, then lined them up on the ground with a dog treat in front of each one and let Nani do the picking. Whichever paper she walked to first was the movie we watched. Of course, there were still some moans and groans, but Nani’s picks led to far fewer disagreements. For the first few weeks, my family decided that each night we would watch one of our parents 80s or 90s movies and one movie from the 2000s (my sister’s and my favorites). Our selection system gives everyone’s favorite movie representation and brings our family together as a whole. I have to admit, some of my favorite movies are now definitely from the 80s.

Now that we’ve started this movie binge, we can’t stop. We have already covered most of the popular ones. Now we are choosing from titles I had never even heard of before my parents mentioned them. When people ask me what I’ve been doing while quarantined I, nonchalantly say I’ve watched more than 100 movies. I know it sounds like a lot, but considering the situation we are in and the fact that my last school day was March 13, 100 movies doesn’t seem too crazy, does it?

As I’ve watched these movies, I have learned that while the fashions may not be the same today, many of the problems the characters face are. No matter the year, we still feel the same emotions, experience the same situations, and we often look to music, art or film to cope with them. Most movies are created for entertainment, but they also always convey a theme or a lesson. Two common themes in art, music and film are acceptance and love. These themes don’t only pertain to relationships but also to individual people. Learning to accept and love yourself is a large part of adolescence. During this time, we experience so many changes, and it is somewhat cathartic to see the emotions we are feeling portrayed on screen. Watching them, we learn lessons that apply to our everyday lives. That is why so many films from the 80s are still popular today. They tackle issues that are still relevant, making them timeless. It’s interesting to see what movies my parents still love and which ones they remember being better back in the day. It makes me reflect on the movies I am growing up with and wonder what I will think of them as an adult. Which movies from my generation will be considered classics one day? I think it’s important to reflect on the movies I am watching because I have watched so many in such a short amount of time and some feel like they are blending together. However, I know it’s a good movie when I can’t take my eyes off the screen and don’t look at my phone even once. There is a certain, unexplainable feeling you get after you watch a great movie. If you have felt this, you know exactly what I mean. It just leaves you wanting more! After one of those movies, I like to think about what it taught me.

If you are lucky enough to be quarantined with your family, I highly recommend watching movies. Embrace the movies that formed your parents’ childhoods. It will give you great insight into why they do the things they do. Then take a walk down memory lane and rewatch the movies that shaped your childhood. Be sure to also watch all the new films you have been hearing so much about. I have learned not to have any expectations going into a movie. If you allow yourself to be fully engaged in the screen, chances are the experience will be a whole lot better. And you just might find that you enjoy not only the movies but the time you spend with your family.