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