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SDG

Family viewing: Off the beaten path

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I am thinking Spellbound,

But.. SDG: School of Rock.

Done.

[drops mike, walks off stage]

Edited by Overstreet

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Re. documentaries: I am going with Weeping Camel, and genuflecting in the write-up to Atlantis and … (wait for it) … Babies.

School of Rock? Snork!

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I just rewatched Love Me Tonight. I'd wanted to do so for some time, and I figured today's discussion was a good excuse. It's slightly edgier than I remembered in the sense that there are a few throw away one line jokes that are mildly risque, but I think some of the lines E.T. are crasser and would cause more concern to parents who I know.

Example of a Love Me Tonight joke: "I am imagining you without those clothes...I mean wearing different, nicer clothes." That's pretty much the most risque the film gets; there are two scenes when MacDonald's figure is briefly commented on. I don't know if that would disqualify it from family viewing.

I can't imagine how the film would not appeal to kids; I'd describe it as the result if Chaplin had made a musical.

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Cats Don't Dance and the Pagemaster are two under rated and barely known gems. Especially Cats Don't Dance, it's a great little film that fell through the cracks.

The Pagemaster displays a love for childrens books and reading that is commendable, even though it was largely panned. I liked it much more than others seemed to though.

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Have you considered any films by Powell & Pressburger? I have (many) younger siblings, and when I bought a boxset of their films the family watched and enjoyed several of them. Mainly the less ambitious ones, I recall, but still worthwhile.

Ill Met By Moonlight - (wow, it's called 'Night Ambush' in the US, how boring can you get?)

This is actually a very 'straight' film with few of the wonderful quirks in earlier P&P works, but maybe that's why my whole family enjoyed it. It's based very closely on a fascinating true story. [Plus there's a blink-and-miss-it cameo by Christopher Lee as a German officer.]

49th Parallel - in some ways a propaganda film, but in typical P&P style it is so much more besides. Great Canadian setting. It also has a lovely scene set in a Hutterite community (and one which kinda foreshadows Witness).

A Matter Of Life And Death - (or Stairway To Heaven. Honestly...) Actually, I can't remember if the young'uns watched this, but it's perfectly suitable for family viewing. Great film. One of the most influential cinematic 'heavens' as well.

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How about shorts? From last year's Oscar nomination: Luna, The Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. From this year's: Head over Heels, Adam and Dog.

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Oh, and I mentioned So Dear to My Heart because it's got a nice mix of live-action and animation (it was produced around the same time as Song of the South), and because it's got a kind of religiosity that is lacking in most other Disney films of that era.

I watched this last night, or most of it. Nice, and yes, the Judeo-Christian religiosity (David and Goliath, Joshua and Jericho, the Nativity -- side by side with Christopher Columbus and Robert the Bruce!) is surprising. Thanks for pointing it out to me.

I didn't include it because it struck me as a "children's movie" in the narrow sense, as pedagogical entertainment aimed squarely at a juvenile audience and lacking interest for older viewers. Still, a nice find.

I know, I didn't specify that in my original requirements. I only became clearer about what I wanted as I tried to figure out why certain films didn't fit.

The original assignment was something like "top 10 DVDs for when the grandkids come to visit." Since I wasn't interested in assembling (and didn't think it would be useful to do) a list of movies everyone already knows (Pixar, DreamWorks, Disney, Ice Age, Harry Potter, etc.), I spun it as "overlooked/neglected family entertainment."

Still, for this assignment I decided to go with pretty accessible, entertaining films with limited learning-curve or cultural adjustment requirements. That's much narrower than all the places you can go "off the beaten path," but hey, now I've got a ton of great suggestions for future lists!

Hey SDG... do you have this book?

http://amzn.com/1400096863

I didn't before. I will now. Thanks Nick.

Edited by SDG

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Here's the essay I was working on: Neglected Family Fare: Top 10 family films most kids haven't heard of (and lots more).

While I realized as this thread progressed that I hadn't expressed the parameters of the piece as well as I hoped, the actual thread suggestions were all the better for it, and someday I'll do another essay on many of the films we've talked about here.

Here's my final list, in alphabetical order (many more titles at the full article):

  • The Court Jester (1956)
  • The Kid Brother (1927)
  • The Miracle Maker (2000)
  • Mr. Bean’s Holiday (2007)
  • My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
  • Peter Pan (2000)
  • Road to Morocco (1942)
  • The Story of the Weeping Camel (2003)
  • Watership Down (1978)
  • What’s Up, Doc? (1972)

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