By Lisa Flory, 13, Sunland Christian School
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Illustration by Hassan Nicholas, 16, Hamilton HS

Recently my friend Amy, her sisters and I went to see Toy Story 2. After paying $18 to get into the movie, Amy and I couldn’t enjoy it because there were people smacking their gum in our ears and lots of kids talking out loud to their parents about the movie. I thought to myself, why don’t we just go home and rent a movie?

In my opinion, renting videos is better than going to the movie theater. Let me explain: you save money big time, you don’t have to wait in line for the show to begin, but most important, you will create a bond with family and friends in a special place—home.

Every other week, my parents, my brother and I go to Blockbuster or Hollywood Video to rent movies. The last video we rented was A Bronx Tale, starring Robert DeNiro. The movie got us talking about race relations and how the main character was more tolerant of blacks than his Italian-American friends. It was cool talking to my parents about it because they make me feel comfortable. They don’t stop the movie and say "It’s family time, let’s talk about it." It just kind of happens and we usually talk for 10 or 15 minutes. If we disagree about something, my parents are willing to hear my point of view without getting mad or trying to convince me to see it their way. I think most teens don’t talk to their parents but movies at home are a good way to communicate with them.

At home you can share more

You cannot share this same level of closeness with all the people in a movie theater. First of all, you usually never see these people again. Second, if they didn’t come together, moviegoers usually don’t bother to interact with each other over a film they just saw. Even if you go to the movie with family and friends, you just sort of say "Oh, that was good" and then just stop talking about it because you’re busy trying to get home.

Lisa Flory (foreground) prefers to rent movies and watch them with her parents and brother, or with friends.

I have friends who also prefer to rent videos. Amy recently rented Deep Blue Sea, starring LL Cool J. She and her family really got into it, screaming during suspenseful moments when sharks terrorized a research team.

Another friend, Joey Vidito, 14, recently rented Teaching Mrs. Tingle, starring Katie Holmes. He pointed out "renting movies is so cool because you can see the movie as many times as you like. You get to keep it longer, so you really get your money’s worth." With movie tickets costing up to $9 per movie, renting something for $3 and seeing it more than once really makes financial sense.

For concerned parents, there are controls in place to limit what minors can rent at video stores. Parents can’t always control us teens if we sneak into an R-rated movie at the movie theater. Most video stores have a policy—they will not rent R-rated movies to children under 18. Blockbuster requires parents to sign a form that would allow their child to check these types of movies out. For some teens this may be bad. But for me, I don’t mind that my parents supervise what I watch because I know they are doing it for my benefit.

So if you want to get closer with family and friends, grab your $3, pick a movie and watch it more than once.