Family Filmgoer’s best family films of 2013


A scene from “The Croods.” (DreamWorks Animation/AP)
December 31, 2013

In 2013, the film industry served up a lot of strong comedies and dramas that proved to be good fare for teens, but there were fewer real quality films to choose from for the little ones. Here’s a list of movies from the past year that parents can enjoy with children of various ages.

ANIMATION FOR 6 AND OLDER

• “ Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 ” (PG). Tastier than the first one.

• “ The Croods ” (PG). Sitcomish but clever, about a paleolithic human brood.


A scene from “World War Z.” (Photo credit: MPC / Paramount Pictures/MPC / Paramount Pictures)

• “ Despicable Me 2 ” (PG). More droll misadventures from reformed villain Gru.

• “ Frozen ” (PG). Gorgeous and funny with great songs.

• “ Turbo ” (PG). An overlooked gem about a racing snail.

FOR 10 AND OLDER

• “ From Up on Poppy Hill ” (PG). Chaste teen love in gorgeous Japanese animated film. (Released in Japan 2011, limited release in U.S., 2013.)

• “ The Secret Life of Walter Mitty ” (PG). Ben Stiller cleverly, sweetly reinvents James Thurber’s tale.

FOR 12 AND OLDER

• “ Wadjda ” (PG). A spunky little girl in Saudi Arabia wants a bicycle.

FINE FOR MOST TEENS

• “ 42 ” (PG-13). Terrific telling of Jackie Robinson story; okay for some 10- to 12-year-olds, too.

• “ Ender’s Game ” (PG-13). Boy hero in sci-fi adventure takes a moral stand.

• “ The Grandmaster ” (PG-13). A martial arts marvel.

• “ Gravity ” (PG-13). Just totally cool.

• “ The Great Gatsby ” (PG-13). A real eyeful, old sport.

• “ The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug ” (PG-13). Slow parts, but still fine for Hobbit-o-philes.

• “ Iron Man 3 ” (PG-13). Iron Man banters with a kid, makes the whole movie worthwhile.

• “ Lee Daniels’ The Butler ” (PG-13). History of segregation and civil rights told through the saga of one man.

• “ Man of Steel ” (PG-13). Darker Superman riff feels profound.

• “ Mud ” (PG-13). Mark Twain-y country kids help a man on the run.

• “ Saving Mr. Banks ” (PG-13). The mostly true story behind the making of Disney’s “Mary Poppins.”

• “ Warm Bodies ” (PG-13). Teen girl, zombie guy, why not?

FINE FOR MOST
HIGH-SCHOOLERS

• “ Admission ” (PG-13). Paul Rudd and Tina Fey in a tasty spoof of college admissions process.

• “ Beautiful Creatures ” (PG-13). Regular guy loves elegant teen witch.

• “ Enough Said ” (PG-13). 50-ish adults mess up romance, just like teens do!

• “ The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete ” (R). Two boys alone in the projects; sad, scary, well done.

• “ The Kings of Summer ” (R). Three boys build secret cabin in woods, have (mostly) innocent fun.

• “ Much Ado About Nothing ” (PG-13). Director Joss “The Avengers” Whedon does Shakespeare proud.

• “ The Spectacular Now ” (R). Miles Teller in high drama as a teen drinker on the brink.

• “ The Way, Way Back ” (PG-13). A depressed teen finds hope at a water park.

• “ World War Z ” (PG-13). Zombies + Brad Pitt + a pandemic = heaven.

Horwitz’s Family Filmgoer column appears weekly in Weekend.

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