One of my core memories is of my dad taking me and my younger brother and sister to see the now-holiday cult hit Scrooged when I was 12. The movie was fine – I was too young to know that a movie could be anything but amazing – but it’s not why I remember the experience so many years later. It was the uniqueness of the moment: sitting in a movie theater with my dad on a weekday afternoon.
For years after that, the parts of my holiday breaks that stayed with me revolved around going to a movie theater with my family. Maybe that’s because it’s something we really only did during the holiday breaks. Either way, I found myself, the other day, sensing the urge to revisit the tradition, if I can even call it that, with my son.
He’s five, and he’s never set foot in a movie theater. I’m not even sure he knows what it is. I am fairly sure, though, he thinks every movie he wants to watch can be accessed by clicking either the Netflix or Disney icons on our TV screen. Partly for those reasons and partly because I want to see if I can revisit my own childhood, I think I want to take him to see his first movie in a theater during our holiday break. But it’s got to be a small theater showing something that we could easily watch on basic cable during any of the next three or four Sunday afternoons.
I know I’m not alone in harboring this sentiment. Otherwise, it wouldn’t have been so easy to come up with a list of possibilities. So, for those of you out there for whom holiday tradition = 30-year-old movie in a nostalgic theater, here’s a rundown of what’s playing across the Delaware River Towns.
Hopewell Theater | Hopewell, NJ
Hopewell Theater dates back more than 80 years. In 2015, the current owners installed state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems and added balcony seating. Through the end of the year, it’s screening all the holiday hits (for a certain generation, at least): A Christmas Story (December 18), Gremlins (Dec. 26), Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (Dec. 26), and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (Dec. 30), among others.
Newtown Theatre | Newtown
The newly renovated Newtown Theatre is hosting a 21-and-older screening of Elf Dec. 17. Everybody gets a free drink (beer, wine, or cocktail) and popcorn with admission. There’s also going to be pre-movie trivia with Elf-themed prizes. It goes old school with It’s a Wonderful Life on Dec. 19 and The Bells of St. Mary’s on Dec. 21.
County Theater | Doylestown
Also recently reopened after an extensive renovation, the County Theater is screening It’s a Wonderful Life Dec. 15 and Scrooged Dec. 16 – along with many of the trending titles of Oscar season, if that’s more your thing.