Friday Favorites: Family Movie Night Edition
Happy Friday! I’m excited to once again be linking up with Erika, Andrea and Narci for Friday Favorites! This week I’m changing it up a bit and focusing on some of my favorite movies that we’ve watched with the kids recently. With a soon to be 15 year old girl and an almost 12 year old boy, finding movies that everyone agrees on can be a challenge, to say the least. Family movie nights are a favorite, though, and finding great movies that keep the eye rolls at bay is the absolute best. So if you too have moved out of the All Things Disney days, round up the kids, pop some popcorn, and queue up one of these awesome movies to watch this weekend…
My daughter actually saw The Mighty (PG-13) in school, and loved it so much that she came home and requested that we watch it as a family. It’s a heartwarming film about an unlikely friendship between two middle school outcasts, and what happens when they join forces to try to conquer the bullies in their lives. Be prepared for some tears, but it really is a touching story that will stick with you long after the credits roll.
I’m a sucker for a good underdog story, and Eddie the Eagle (PG-13) does not disappoint. Based on the true story of a British ski jumper who defied the odds and never took no for an answer, this movie follows Eddie’s rocky journey to the 1988 Winter Olympics. We rooted for him from beginning to end, and Eddie’s undying optimism sends a great message to teens about the importance following your dreams and persisting even when things get tough.
McFarland, USA (PG), also based on a true story, is about a teacher/coach who ends up working at a high school in one of the poorest cities in America. He’s inspired to put together a cross-country team after seeing the potential for success in several of the students that he works with, but he’s forced to use a few unconventional methods to train them. Against the odds, the team makes it to the state championships due to their dedication and a coach who never stops believing in them. We watched this movie about the same time that my daughter started to really get into running, so as parents it was fun to see her reaction to it, and how it really helped motivate her to keep practicing.
After we watched this movie, we had some interesting discussions with the kids about what it means to have free will, and the costs and benefits that come with it. The main character in The Giver (PG-13), Jonas, is a 16 year old boy who lives in what appears to be a utopian society – there is no pain, suffering, or discrimination. However, there is also no freedom of choice or the experience of real emotions. When Jonas is chosen to become the Receiver of Memory at his graduation ceremony, he begins to understand what things were like before his seemingly perfect community existed, and makes it his mission to try to bring that world back to his friends and family.
While not actually a movie, we’ve really been enjoying streaming episodes of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (PG) on Netflix. Both of my kids read the books that the show is based on, and we all agree that Neil Patrick Harris makes a perfect Count Olaf. The series follows the recently orphaned Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire as they try to uncover the mystery surrounding their parents’ supposed death (right away the audience is led to believe that they may really be alive) and find a new home with a suitable guardian, each a little wackier that the last. The evil Count Olaf turns up in every episode with a new scheme to try to get his hands on the Baudelaire fortune, but the children do their best to keep outsmarting him. The show is a clever adaptation of the books, with great costumes, detailed sets, and outrageous characters, and it’s written with just the right amount of humor and suspense to keep us engaged and hoping for a happy resolution.
(Many of the movies I listed here are rated PG-13, so that means that there might be some language or scenes that concern you. For me, I felt like the overall message of these movies outweighed any concerns, but you know your kids best and what you are comfortable with. Commonsensemedia.org is a great place to get more detailed information on any movie, TV show, or book.)
Hope you all (or y’all – I do live in the south now, after all) have a great weekend! If you get a chance to watch any of the movies I mentioned, comment below and let me know your thoughts!