Family Movie Night

We wrote recently about a cruise as a great option for family entertainment that appeals across the generations. This week we decided to look a little closer to home – after all, you can’t always leave town every time you need some family fun! Next time you have the crew getting together, how about organizing a movie night? With services like cable on demand, Netflix, and Apple TV, most of us have access to thousands of titles and endless variety. If that seems a bit daunting, we’ve narrowed the choices for you to a short list of films we think have wide appeal, are contemporary enough for the teens in the group, and can easily hold up to multiple viewings. All are meant to be suitable for ages 10 and up (with many OK for younger still):

HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE (2001): While the later installments get darkly PG-13, this first film in the Harry Potter series keeps things suspenseful while remaining kid-friendly and thoroughly entertaining. And you don’t have to have read the books to follow along!

FINDING NEMO (2003): If you somehow missed out on this poignant and funny father-and-son tale, it’s a must-see – particularly before the much-awaited sequel comes out this summer.

HOME ALONE (1990): We recently dug this one out to watch with grandparents who’d never seen it, and had forgotten how funny it is! Full of slapstick and sight gags, with a great cast, Home Alone stands out as one of the most appealing family-oriented comedies of the past few decades.

INSIDE OUT (2015): Winner of the Oscar for Best Animated Film, Inside Out tells the story of a young girl whose family relocates to San Francisco, and the emotional turmoil that ensues. Amy Poehler and Mindy Kaling are among the actors whose voices are featured in this funny and insightful take on growing up.

APOLLO 13 (1995): Based on the true story of the Apollo 13 lunar mission, this is a great choice for history buffs or anyone who likes suspense – and since you know from the start there’s a happy ending, it’s not too intense for the young ones. Tom Hanks leads an all-star cast.

BACK TO THE FUTURE (1985): This SciFi classic from the 80s strikes that perfect balance of jokes that are funny on their own but are written with a nod to adults who’ll get the more subtle references – in this case, to life in the 1950s.

THE PRINCESS BRIDE (1987): This quirky, funny take on a fairy tale has quite a bit of action-style violence (minus the gore), and is loaded with lines people love to quote that have become legendary in filmdom (“Have fun storming the castle!”). The offbeat cast of storybook characters includes Mandy Patinkin, Peter Faulk, and Billy Crystal.

For more great family-friendly titles, check out the Parenting website.