Welcome to Family Movie Night where every week I will discuss a film I have shared with my kids.  My plan is to provide non-traditional reviews, focusing on my overall perception of the film and how it affects the kids rather than opining on the overall quality of a film.  There are plenty of other places on the web to find more conventional critiques.  A few that I find helpful are:

Rotten Tomatoes – aggregates reviews of many of the top critics in the US.


Roger Ebert – Siskel & Ebert were very instrumental in my formative years as a film fan.  Ebert continues to be a prolific and entertaining writer.  In addition, he has a searchable database of his reviews dating back to 1967.


I will also defer to better sites to recommend age appropriateness.  Every kid and every family is different and what may be fine for some could be unacceptable to others.  I find Common Sense Media does a rather good job of cataloging of the themes, language, sex, and violence found in a movie.  While they give an age rating for many films, I suggest you go the next step and look at the details that led them to give a film a specific rating to determine if it is something you are comfortable watching.  The link to their site is:


I will attempt to span genres and time periods in my posts, discussing classics, near classics, and movies I probably thought were classics when I was young.

I am a child of the 70’s and 80’s and grew up on live action Disney films, but I promise not to subject you to lengthy discussions of either Apple Dumpling Gang films (although the Shaggy D.A. is not out of the question).  I welcome suggestions from anyone reading, as I am always looking for new films to try out on the family.   I would also love to hear how your family reacts to movies I write about.

As this is Family Movie Night, I will talk about movies we can watch at home.  An outing to the theater is one of my favorite activities with the kids, but since my wife and I also have a baby that means one of us will be left at home.  Watching a movie at home is something we can all do together. 

The advent of the internet and On Demand has led to a nearly infinite number of options in how we consume our movies at home.  My favorite method remains Netflix with more and more of the movies I watch coming through their instant service. 


Their basic service will allow you to watch an unlimited number of movies per month through your laptop or TV via one of many devices that will stream.  The Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and Wii all allow you to watch Netflix.  I use a Roku player rather than the Xbox, mainly because the Roku is smaller and is easily transportable from room to room.  All you need is a wireless connection and Netflix subscription and you are ready to go.


I look forward to joining you on this journey.  I want to introduce my kids to some of the great movies in history, some of the films that affected me deeply and shaped me.  But it’s not just about what I want to teach them, because I’ve found I learn more about my kids from sharing this time with them.  I learn what makes them laugh and what makes them dance.  I learn what inspires them and makes them cringe in fear.  I learn what makes them cry and what makes them smile.   I get to know them a little bit deeper than I did before.  We all remember when we first saw Star Wars or the Wizard of Oz or the Sound of Music and we remember who we were with.  I want my kids to look back on these times and smile when they remember that they saw them with me.

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