title aboutthefilm


In 1985 when a father finds himself divorced and raising three boys, he creates a weekly movie night. Struggling to keep his family stable, he learns that you can't win every battle with your kids. You try to win the war, and the war is raising them right.



Anthony Vitello, a husband and father, is doing everything he can to provide stability for his family. His wife Helen, a young mother, loves their boys, but is torn between wanting a family life and a life of her own. When she selfishly leaves, Anthony finds himself raising their three boys and continuously struggling to keep his family together. Tony, Dominic, and Vinny are a close-knit, rambunctious bunch of pre-adolescent knuckleheads, but they mean everything to their father. Anthony avoids seeking his dad’s advice, “Tell the boys the truth about their mother”, as he contumaciously responds, “Let me do this my way!” To make up for their loss, Anthony creates a "No girls allowed!" weekly movie night for the boys - where each one gets to rent a VHS tape and stay up late while snacking on chips & pop. As radical as Guys Night sounds, it’s lame and bogus in the eyes of Dominic, who struggles with the absence of his mother, blaming their divorce on Anthony. Not wanting to sully their mother, Anthony must take Dominic’s blame in stride and focus on what is important to him - raising his boys right. potatochips guysnight VHS1

Over the course of four seasons, Anthony continues trying to engage with his boys – from providing stability and holiday spirit over Christmas to showing off his BMX skills, or lack thereof, at the bike trails in the summertime. Every holiday is a struggle to keep a family balance, with Helen constantly undermining Anthony’s efforts and Anthony having to hold back his anger towards Helen for the sake of his children. However, the children are witness to one major Easter blowout that paints their parents in a very different picture, one they will eventually come to know as a natural and human experience, but at the same time shape the relationship they have with one another. 

Helen’s complete disregard
for anyone but herself angers Anthony. His stoic approach and plan to push forward becomes unstable, which ultimately creates more complication and tension. Dominic blames his dad; “You made Mom leave us! I hate you!" Anthony is painfully forced to be honest with his son; “She didn’t want to be a family anymore, so she left - all of us!” He is heartbroken when Dominic insists; “I want to go live with Mom.” Dominic’s anger in Anthony fuels an attempt to run away, where he steals and ultimately crashes his father’s car. It’s a difficult decision, but Anthony grows desperate and gives into his guysnite banner2son’s request to live with his mom. He knows Helen loves the boys, but she has always struggled being a mother.nikoanddad

After realizing it’s a battle he cannot win, Anthony accepts the hard truth. He agrees to drop Dominic’s things off to Helen at the end of their summer break. Despite all of his efforts to keep his family together, Anthony feels his relationship with Dominic is broken. Feeling lost, Anthony surrenders to Grandpa’s advice – “What I’m saying is, you can’t win every battle with your kids. Sometimes, you’ve got to lose to learn how to win. You try to win the war - and the war is raising them right.” While it might not be what Anthony wants to hear, it’s all he needs to hear. Anthony ultimately releases his control, and the idea of what he thought a stable family was. He opens up and expresses his emotions to Dominic, apologizing for his downfalls. Accepting his new way of life, Anthony continues to fight and eventually wins the war – the love of his three boys, including Dominic, and the stability he always desired. 

guysnight family

The REAL Vitacco family (Summer 1985):
Frank (rear), Nicky, Vinnie and Frankie