Movie Mom's Must-See and Must-Avoid Family Films

Thursday, July 2, 2009


After you've shown your children the obvious classics, such as "Mary Poppins," "The Sound of Music," "The Wizard of Oz," and all the Disney, Pixar and Shrek movies, Nell Minow says every family should watch these five together

"The Court Jester" (1956) Sword fights, songs, a petulant princess, and a brave and resourceful heroine made this movie pure delight for all age

"Sounder" (1972) When his father goes to jail for stealing a ham to feed his family, a young man must choose between helping the family and his dreams of school.

"Yellow Submarine" (1968) This gorgeously animated Beatles film comes with one of the most spectacular soundtracks in history.

"Spellbound" (2002) Fall in love with documentaries in this thrilling true story of middle-schoolers from a wide variety of families who compete for the national spelling championship.

"Babe" (1995) Pure charm radiates from this story about the little pig who saves the day with integrity and with courtesy, an indispensable quality seldom given enough attention in movies or in real life.


There are lots of bad movies aimed at children and families,but these five, Nell Minow says, are in a class of their own:

"Sleepover" (2004) Fourteen-year-old girls not only lie, cheat, steal and meet a stranger they contacted online in a bar, but they end up being just as exclusionary as the rival mean girls

"The Pink Panther" (2006) Inexcusably vulgar humor for a PG movie, including potty jokes, a Viagra gag and sexual harassment humor.

"The Cat in the Hat" (2003) Overdone, under-imagined and crude.

"Grease" (1978) Yes, it is tuneful and fun for older audiences, but its message is you have to dress and act trashy to keep a boyfriend.

"Catch That Kid" (2004) A child robs a bank, putting her brother at risk -- and she's the good guy.

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