As the fall weather gets cooler and the nights grow longer, many families find themselves making some popcorn, grabbing their favorite comfy blankets and settling in for a night of movie watching and family-friendly entertainment.
If you’re looking for some safe, family-friendly movies to watch at home, these DVDs, all scheduled for release this fall, are sure to please:
Iron Man 3
Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Guy Pearce, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle
Release: September 24
Of all the Iron Man movies, number three is the most self-reflective. The reality of having the weight of the world on Tony Stark’s shoulders is almost too much for him to bear. This Tony Stark is less cocky and gets panic attacks. He wants a deeper relationship with Pepper Potts, but he just doesn’t have the time.
In this story, Stark faces the terrorist called the Mandarin, and learns what it means to risk your life for the sake of others. Not a bad message for older teens, but the movie is too intense for younger ones. Granted, there is little blood and most of the violence is off screen, but it still has a few disturbing images that will frighten younger viewers. Spoiler – the good guys win!
Voice Talent: Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener, Cloris Leachman
Release: October 1
The Croods is a kid-friendly animated story about a caveman who controls his family by fear as a way of protecting them. Grug is suspicious of anything new, and his teenage daughter, Eep, is exactly the opposite. Suddenly, the safety of their cave is destroyed and the family is forced to explore new surroundings and learn from the world that they have been hiding from. They slowly come to realize that not everything “new” is bad, and learn the importance of working together as a family. It is rated PG for some “scary” action.
Voice Talent: Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Helen Mirren
Release: October 29
Monsters University is a prequel to the huge Monsters, Inc. movie from a few years back. Here we see how Sulley (a big, blue, hairy monster) and Mike (the small, round, green, one-eyed monster) met for the first time in college.
Like most Disney / Pixar films before it, this one is very funny and has a lot of heart. It features a very strong storyline about the importance of working hard, being honest and being a true friend. This is not a “feel good” movie –– it’s “feel great” movie, and one that parents and kids will equally enjoy. Because it’s rated “G,” parents have little to worry about regarding objectionable content.
Man of Steel
Stars: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane
Release: November 12
This new Superman reboot is more serious than it needs to be, but has been praised for its strong Christian moral views of faith, trust, hope and more. Young children may find the story too long and dull at times, but is a great superhero movie you can feel good about seeing with your family.
There is some violence in this origin story, but it’s more the destruction of buildings than much of anything else. More specifically, Man of Steel earns its PG-13 rating for “intense sequences of sci-fi violence, action and destruction” and some coarse language … something to keep in mind when deciding to bring the youngsters.
Stars: Scott Elrod, Dorian Brown, Charles Henry Wyson
Release: October 8
This faith-based movie features Cory Brand, a pro-baller with a substance abuse problem, who gets sent back to his small home town to deal with it. As part of his recovery, his is required to coach a Little League team while attending a 12-step program.
The film has been applauded for its good storyline, great acting and powerful evangelistic message. Due to some adult content dubbed as “mature thematice material,” it is recommended for families with older children.
Despicable Me 2
Voice Talent: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt
Release: October 1
In this hilarious, zany sequel to Despicable Me, bad-guy-turned-good-guy Gru is enjoying a quiet life with his new adopted daughters and little yellow minions when a new villain steals a formula that can change the cute little yellow critters into big, horrible, purple monsters. To make matters worse, Gru is in love. How do you save the world while trying to navigate new romance and avoid heartbreak?
The film promises to be laugh-out-loud funny without going over the top. Like the first movie, Despicable Me 2 has a lot of heart and a positive message for families. It is rated PG for rude humor and mild action, so it should be safe for most families to view.