Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

This Week’s Family Movie Night Recommendation

I can’t believe that I’ve been recommending family movies for The Larchmont Buzz for a month without mentioning our family’s gold standard, “E.T”. Frankly, we consider it a perfect movie: lots of laughs, great characters, edge-of-your-seat (or, in our case, “couch”) action, and the uplifting message that we are not alone in the universe. Warning: Spoiler alert for anyone who was literally on a different planet in the early 80s and missed this classic. If you are one of those, we’ve seen the movie and we know you are out there.

Throughout my twenties, I saw the movie at least a dozen times. And each time, I started sobbing about half way through and didn’t stop. I knew that my twelve and eight-year-old sons would love the comedy — E.T.s beer drinking scene belonging right up there with Lucille Ball’s grape stomping sketch — but I wondered how they would handle the drama. Would they fall apart as I had every single time, reaching dramatically out to the screen, imploring, “Please, please don’t let him die!”

It turns out that the answer is “yes”. They did fall apart. I had to hold my hand over my mouth to stop myself from yelling, “Calm down guys. He lives, he lives!” I’m glad that I didn’t tip it though, because it would ruin the euphoria of the following scene when the boys escape with E.T. in Elliot’s bike and the band starts to fly. Come on. Greatest. Scene. Ever.  My boys jumped up and down and cheered like they had just won a million dollars and a homework pass for a whole year. 

Everything in “E.T.” holds up — the human story of a family dealing with a recent divorce and the extraterrestrial story of a traveler desperate to get home. Pre-rom com Drew Barrymore is hilarious and Henry Thomas, as Elliot, is adorable and poignant.

Chances are that after you watch “E.T.” with your gang, you will start judging every other movie after it like we do, “Well, look. It’s no ‘E.T.’, but…”


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Brett Paesel is the author of the LA Times bestseller, ”Mommies Who Drink”. and the blog,”Last of the Bohemians” as well as the fictional blog, ”Meagan Mcphee A.D. (after divorce)”. She has been published in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and numerous national magazines. Brett has also developed shows for HBO, ABC, Fox, Comedy Central, WB, Lifetime, and Nick at Nite.

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  1. Funny – when I saw ET fairly recently with my kids, I saw it as a story of a woman coping with divorce. When I saw it the first time, that aspect of the story barely registered on me. It’s so fun to see the same iconic movie through an entirely new lens (mom instead of kid).


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