Many families sit together for a weekly family movie night. It is a great time to relax, watch a great movie and maybe have some popcorn. Well-chosen movies provide enjoyment, insight and criteria. They also act as powerful role models for our children. Good parents try to ensure that their family values are underlined and not undermined by what they are viewing. It becomes increasingly difficult as kids get older to find good movies that provide wholesome entertainment without offending our family values.
It is worthwhile to invest in a video guide to assist you with some basic information (genre, rating, theme, warnings about nudity, violence, language etc.) when you go to the library or local video store. At least you will have some other criteria than what is attractively marketed on the case. Too often we assume it is a good movie and then have to skip scenes, to our great disappointment. Use these opportunities to talk to your children about why you find the movie offensive, unrealistic, superficial etc. etc. Realize there are many learning opportunities in all kinds of circumstances. Your children need to learn what your criteria is and why, so even an unfavorable movie becomes a great
tool. Our aim is to develop sound judgement and a taste for quality entertainment. Try to balance your family with a good selection of current, old and older movies so that they do not always thirst for the latest. It is worthwhile too to begin your own library of outstanding movies. You thereby support the production of good movies and also have great movies on hand for when the need arises. This becomes useful when your children’s friends come over and want to watch something. We ourselves have swapped favorite movies with friends and this becomes especially helpful when there is sickness in the house, a new baby, the need for a date night, long winters, etc. Regardless, we all need to tap into each other’s pool of great movies so that we can be enriched and enrich others in an uplifting way.
There are some excellent websites to give you further details about movie content.
(This site now requires payment for access to detailed reviews but a free trial is available.)
Worthwhile for home and especially school. Pass it to your teachers.
This becomes especially helpful when your children want to see a new release at the theatre or watch a movie at a friend’s house. You have a responsibility to know what they are watching and determine if it is suitable. We always ask parents if they are planning to show our children a movie while they are at a party or visiting so that we can give some input. This becomes critical if your child does sleepovers and supervision may be lax. We are always willing to pick up our children if they become uncomfortable with a situation. As well, we discuss their options (an outdoor activity, board game, discussion, one of their own movies, reading, coming home, etc.) if an unfavorable movie is being proposed.
Children do need to understand the proper use of time, money and selection regarding entertainment. This can cause friction in the teen years when kids feel they are resilient to some of the messages coming across on the screen. One anecdote we have used successfully in getting our point across to our teenagers is the following. I have made a huge batch of your favorite cookies. I know you love them. By the way, there was a bit of dog poop outside and I decided to just put a tiny bit in for flavor. Go ahead and eat as many as you want. How come you don’t want any? There’s just a tiny bit of it in there. It won’t make a difference and I’m quite sure you won’t get sick. No. I find that odd. Here you are willing to go see a movie that has quite a bit of crap in it and feel it won’t harm you; meanwhile there is so little in this cookie and you won’t even take a bite. You’ve got to realize that your soul is much more important than your body and this movie you want to watch will have bad effects. You are not immune.
Here is a list of recommended movies suggested by a number of families I know and respect. It is offered as a starting point for your family’s movie selection. I cannot guarantee that you will like every single one and I personally have not seen all of them, but list them on the advice of dear friends. Although we all are concerned about our family, we are different in our viewing preferences, tastes and tolerance levels. As a result, I encourage you to check out a write-up on the following movies at www.screenit.com to determine their suitability for your particular family. It would be great to have a more extensive list of recommended movies. Please feel free to email me if you would like to add to this list.