Friday, August 26, 2011

Movie Night!

Fireside Fridays - Conversations by the fire about nurturing home and family

Movie Night

When our kids were young, movie night at our house was a big deal. We’d move the coffee table and fill that space with sleeping bags, blankets, and pillows for a makeshift pallet. Piling in for a movie with bowls of popcorn, a stash of snacks, and of course, the family dog was a good way to wind down the week and just enjoy being together.

This week I have a movie to recommend to you that's good for the whole family - although this one will be better appreciated by older kids (i.e., fifth grade and up). This wasn’t a blockbuster hit and most of you probably haven’t heard of it. It’s a small-time movie with a worthy storyline.

Forever Strong

Actors: Sean Faris; Penn Badgley; Gary Cole; Sean Astin ("Sam" of Lord of the Rings; and the infamous "Rudy")

Rick Penning is an accomplished rugby player and a troubled teen. His overbearing father coaches his team and tries to run his life. Rick lives life on the edge. After repeated offenses involving intoxicated driving, he ends up in a detention center. While he’s there, he’s given the opportunity to play for his rival rugby team (Highland Rugby). His participation on this team requires him to endure exhausting training and to adopt a strict code of conduct enforced by Coach Gelvin. Rick’s strong will and ego make it extremely difficult for him to fit in with his new team. This is a story of how Rick progresses on his journey to character and in loyalty to his team. The strong brotherhood that develops with his teammates changes his life. Rick is released from the detention center to return to his former team just before the National Championship game. Their opponent? The Highland Rugby team.

Parents Note:
Football violence (not graphic)
No profanity
Infrequent alcohol consumption and use of Vicodin
2 characters are involved in a car accident
Another character is hit by an oncoming car (not graphic)

Great Quotes from Forever Strong:

“I want you to be forever strong on the field so you will be forever strong off it.”

“God doesn’t make a no-good anything.”

“Let’s focus on where you could end up, not where you were or are.”

“We only have one real rule – don’t do anything that would embarrass you, the team, or your family.”

Discussion Questions:

1) How did Rick deal with his problems in the beginning?

2) What were the consequences of his actions?

3) What was the turning point in his life?

4) How did he change?

5) Do you think he made the right decision about the team he chose to play for at the National Championship? Why?

6) What did you think of their “one real rule”? Why is that important? Would this be a good rule for us to adopt?

7) Do you think Coach Gelvin was a good coach? Why? 

8) How did the way the team played the game on the field affect their lives off the field?

A Snack for Your Movie

Here’s a recipe that my friend, Di, shared with me. It’s for melt-in-your-mouth popcorn. That’s right. Melt-in-your-mouth. Best popcorn I’ve ever eaten.

Toffee Popcorn
(Makes 10-12 quarts)


10-12 quarts popped corn (5 bags natural microwave bags)
1 pound butter (salted or unsalted)
2 cups white sugar
4 Tablespoons water
1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 210 degrees.

Dump bags of popped corn into a separate bowl, fluff to remove any unpopped kernels, and put in a freshly cleaned and dried kitchen sink (or large bread bowl).

Spray non-stick cooking spray on two jellyroll or lasagna pans, and on two spatulas or large stirring spoons.

Melt 1 pound of butter in a thick-bottomed 3-quart saucepan. Add 2 cups sugar and 4 Tbsp. water.

Boil on medium high heat (enough to boil rapidly but not spatter on your hand when you stir).

Stir frequently for the first five minutes; then constantly until the bright yellow mixture turns the color of toffee – light brown. Remove from heat and add 1 teaspoon baking soda. Stir vigorously for about 20 seconds then pour the molten lava over the popcorn.

Quickly stir the popcorn until it is well and evenly coated.

Put on two large jellyroll or lasagna pans and bake at 210 degrees for one hour or until crispy. Stir every 15 minutes and do not go above 210 or it will burn or crystallize and fall off popcorn.

Delicious! Enjoy this with your family on movie night.

Because Families are Worth Fighting For . . .