It is so hard to find truly kid-friendly, family fun movies! I have no problem finding things for Lovebug to watch and enjoy by herself – she still loves Barney, Diego, Veggie Tales, and Clifford, and I am so thankful for that! But what about when we want to enjoy a movie together as a family? I am in the minority of adults because I actually like Barney, but I can really only take so much in one sitting.
What about sitting the family down with a bowl of popcorn and snuggling in for a full length movie? Why is it so hard to find one that is appropriate? I realize I’m more conservative than a lot of people, but is it really asking so much to have a movie without bad language or nudity, where the bad guys aren’t scary enough to give my kid nightmares, but still with a good story that the whole family can enjoy?
Recently, I stumbled upon THREE family friendly films as I was looking up another movie on Netflix (which turned out to be one to avoid!) and the website recommended these.
What I loved:
* No bad language
* The bad guys are bad, but not horrifying.
* In the end, the bad guys get caught! We don’t see the full punishment and consequence, but they are caught and the good guys win!
* Good life lessons to discuss as a family. In my opinion, good examples of temptations and actions that all young children will encounter, so a great chance to address them in a light-hearted setting.
* There are lots of cute dogs in all of them!
Cute puppies bring health and happiness to the denizens of an Ohio hospital in Miracle Dogs. When young Charlie Logan (Josh Hutcherson) and his parents (Kate Jackson and Ted Shackelford) accidentally run into a stray Springer Spaniel, the injury is minor but the dog turns out to have cancer in one of her forelegs, which has to be amputated. To save the dog from euthanasia, Charlie smuggles her into the Cleveland Clinic, where his parents work, and keeps her in the basement with the assistance of the cantankerous custodian (Stacey Keach). But in no time the dog, now dubbed Annie by Charlie, starts wandering through the hospital, miraculously healing the patients. Hospital rules and miraculous healing collide in this adaptation of the popular children’s book Annie Loses Her Leg But Finds Her Way, which is sure to warm the heart of any dog-lover.
Possible issues to discuss:
When these “miracle dogs” are around sick people, the people get better! Obviously, we don’t believe that animals can actually heal people (only God can do that!), but I do know that animals have been shown to make a huge difference in the recovery of sick and injured people.
There were a couple of examples of the boy’s heart being in the right place, but his actions were still wrong (helping dogs escape from the shelter, hiding them from his parents), but I enjoyed the opportunity to discuss these with Lovebug and to let her tell me what he should have done instead.
Upon moving with his family to a new town and befriending a pair of magical mutts, a ten-year-old boy must choose between his love of animals and his desire to do the right thing in director Richard Gabai’s affectionate family adventure. Like any young boy, Zack is nervous about moving to a new town. After happening across a pair of abandoned dogs with surprising magical powers though, Zack discovers that his new home may not be so bad after all. Now, with a pair of determined criminals struggling to steal the dogs for themselves and a growing determination to return his four-legged friends to their rightful owner, Zack sets out to thwart the thieves and ensure that his remarkable story has a happy ending.
Possible issues to discuss:
In the beginning we see a couple of teenage boys stealing a car (which has the dogs in it), and one of the boys in particular is definitely on the wrong path making wrong choices along the way, but he is caught in the end.
As the troubled teen tries to convince others to do wrong things along with him, it’s a good opportunity to discuss with your kids how to handle situations like that because it is something that will happen in real life.
The opening scene introduces us to the fact that the mom is recently divorced and that is the reason for the family’s relocation.
The subject of dating is touched upon when the teenage daughter (16) plans to meet the “bad boy” for a date, but in the end makes a much better choice.
In this heartwarming holiday tale set during the Great Depression, 12-year-old Emma (Jordan-Claire Green) brings the meaning of Christmas to a small rural town during a bleak season. Sent to live with her Aunt Delores (Bonita Friedericy) in down-and-out Doverville, the irrepressible Emma sets out to treat the community to an inspiring pageant starring some spirited canines — much to the dismay of the local dog catcher (John Billingsly).
Upon being sent to live with her aunt in the small town of Doverville, 12-year-old Emma O’Conner finds herself in the middle of a ‘no-dogs’ law, Emma with the Mayor and town dogcatcher. In order to strike down their ‘no-dogs’ law, Emma must bring together a group of schoolmates, grown-ups and adorable dogs of all shapes and sizes in a spectacular holiday pageant. "The 12 Dogs of Christmas" is a fun, heartwarming story featuring a diverse canine cast of over 101 pooches, perfect for all those who love dogs, kids and Christmas.
Possible issues to discuss:
The young girl is sent to live with someone called her “aunt”. The lady isn’t her aunt after all, and it’s insinuated that the woman is an ex-girlfriend of the girl’s father. It turns out, the girl’s mother is deceased and she is only sent there for a short time, as the dad is taking care of some financial issues.
The “bad guys” get in trouble for holding dog fights. No dogs are seen fighting at all, but you do see people standing around placing their bets and it is obvious what is about to happen – but it is interrupted!