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Movies the Whole Family Can Enjoy, vol. 1

When the kids are around, I have to be careful with what’s on TV. If it’s not rated G or PG, we don’t watch it. Finding a movie is even more difficult since what the kids usually like is not what the husband and I want to sit down to watch after a long day.

Without the over-the-top violence, revealing sex scenes and flagrant swearing, there are still plenty of movies you can enjoy with the family. Here are just a few:

Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

This film comes from the people who brought you Chicken Run and Flushed Away. Through claymation a story unfolds about the odd-couple pairing of Wallace and Gromit. Wallace is a bumbling, clumsy inventor with a a big heart and big teeth. Gromit is a silent dog that rights all the wrongs in Wallace’s daily activities. Through his expressive eyes and facial movements, Gromit’s loyalty to Wallace is bigger than life. As the voice of Wallace, Peter Sallis delivers and portrays Wallace as a sheepish, love-lorn man ready to face the day with his trusting dog. Ralph Fiennes’ voice gives life to the antagonist, Victor, who seethes with contempt and jealousy. As a mysterious were-rabbit plagues the town, the duo race to stop Victor from getting rid of the nuisance. The dialogue is witty and extremely funny. Kids will love Wallace’s desperate attempts to do something right and they’ll adore Gromit’s undeniable love for his owner. Adults will catch the light adult humor sprinkled through the movie. It’s a fun ride and full of unexpected delight. You’ll root for this pair through any adventure. Rated G, 82 minutes. Won the 2005 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film.

Monsters, Inc.

Monsters Inc.

Any movie from Pixar is a hit. They’ve all been funny, extremely colorful and the characters are always lovable. Monsters, Inc. is a favorite in our house. What drives this movie is the spirit Billy Crystal and John Goodman breathe into their animated characters. As monsters that work for Monstropolis’ power company, Monsters, Inc., James P. Sullivan (Sulley) and Mike Wazowski are a successful team as the company’s top scarers. Monsters go through children’s closet doors and scare young children. The more screaming the monsters can scare up, the more power Monstropolis will have. Everything goes well until Sulley runs into a very big problem — a human child has followed him back through the closet door and back to Monstropolis. Monsters, Inc. is a an extremely warm movie that shows us how strong love is and how it can be found in the most unexpected places. Rated G, 94 minutes.

The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3D

The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3D

This film is directed by Robert Rodriguez (El Mariachi,Desperado, From Dusk Till Dawn, Spy Kids, Sin City) and based on a story by his then 7-year old son, Racer. The story centers around a young boy named Max who gets picked on at school, and who is sandwiched in between his parents’ difficulty to communicate and reach out to one another. To escape his reality, he creates a completely new universe, with Planet Drool as the center. Shark Boy and Lava Girl are the heroes Max has dreamed up, and he records his adventures in his dream journal. One day Shark Boy and Lava Girl arrive at Max’s classroom and ask for his help to save Planet Drool. The movie moves quickly and the kids will love all the dream sequences and the alternate reality. Parents will embrace the story and underlying message of following your dreams and never giving up. Rated PG for action sequences and humor, 93 minutes.

E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial

E.T.The Extra-Terrestrial

This film was directed by Steven Spielberg. When it came out in 1982, I’d seen all the E.T. merchandising and desperately wanted an E.T. doll even though I had not seen the movie. Years went by and I finally watched the movie in high school. I cried the entire last half of the movie. Elliott is your typical middle-school kid. When he accidentally stumbles upon E.T. in the forest by his home, Elliott is both fascinated and scared by this unusual creature. Trying to convince his siblings that E.T. really does exist, while hiding the creature from his mom and hoping the government will not take him away, Elliott realizes that, although they are from different universes, the power of love still exists and cannot be broken between friends. If you’ve never seen it, remember to have a box of tissues next to you. Rated PG for language and peril, 115 minutes.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

This film is based on the Ronald Dahl classic. A few years ago Tim Burton remade this movie with Johnny Depp, and although it’s entertaining, it’s nothing compared to the 1971 original with the great Gene Wilder. Charlie Bucket, a poor lad who shares his home with his parents and grandparents, discovers that he has won one of five Golden Tickets that will lead him to Wonka’s chocolate factory for a grand tour. Choosing to take his Grandpa Joe along with him, Charlie embarks on an unusual journey while learning some lessons along the way. Wilder is at his best in this movie, adding his own stamp of quirkiness. Rated G, 100 minutes.

Pop some popcorn, turn the cellphones off and laugh with your family!

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