Summer Movie Time
Summer vacations are winding down and summertime will soon be coming to an end. It’s a good idea to take it easy during these last lazy days before the frenzy of back-to-school activities. Long summer evenings are a great time for the whole family to sit down and spend some time together. To celebrate the season, here is a list of family-friendly movies that will help you do that. Some of them have summer themes and others just evoke the feeling of a summer adventure.
The Black Stallion (1979, G) - This is a magnificent movie about a young boy and a wild black stallion. It has two distinct parts, which are so different that at first I remembered it as being two separate movies. The first part is about a boy and a horse shipwrecked on an island and how they develop a special bond of friendship. The second part is what happens after they are rescued. The movie is actually more like a cinematic mood piece due to its artistic visual emphasis and minimum of dialog.
A Bug's Life (1998, G) – On behalf of oppressed bugs everywhere, a misfit ant, trying to save his colony from grasshoppers, recruits a group of warrior bugs that turn out to be an inept circus troupe. This colorful computer-animated film is crawling with comical characters. All of the other Pixar movies (Toy Story I and II, Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Cars, Ratatouille) are wonderful family fare, too.
Pollyanna (2003) - The beloved children's book written by Eleanor H. Porter in 1913 is relocated from early-20th-century Vermont to the lush countryside of Edwardian England in this fine British production. Still, it is faithful to the original story and more focused on characterization than most movie adaptations. The young heroine, Polly, has a positive attitude that brightens the lives of all those around her, even in the face of adversity and tragedy. “I suppose it’s as easy to be happy about things as to not be,” says Polly.
The Secret Garden (1993, G) – An enchanting motion picture based on Frances Hodgson Burnett’s timeless children’s classic in which Mary Lennox, her sickly cousin Colin, and a local boy named Dickon bring an abandoned garden back to life. The 1987 Hallmark Hall of Fame version is good, too.
Summer of the Monkeys (1998, G) – While the movie isn’t as good as the book by Wilson Rawls, it’s surprisingly good for a modern Disney movie. It even has references to Scripture and to God, with lessons on the consequences of sin and the rewards of selfless sacrifice. Full of action and adventure, conflict and humor, it can truly be enjoyed by both children and adults.
Mercy Rule (2014, G) - Here's another baseball movie! This one sets a good example of what it means to be a "No Quit Family." Parents and kids alike will be inspired by the story of the Miller family as they learn life’s lessons of mercy, patience, sacrifice, legacy, and overcoming obstacles. If you are a fan of baseball, Kirk Cameron, Chelsea Noble, or Tim Hawkins, you will like this Christian movie. "Mercy Rule" does not contain an obvious gospel presentation like some of Kirk's other works. It's simply a good, clean, fun family film. The DVD also comes with a family study guide for further discussion of 11 important messages in the film.
Treasure Island (1990) – Sail the high seas, battle the pirates, and live the adventure with young Jim Hawkins (Christian Bale) in this swashbuckling movie brimming with heart-pounding action and thrilling suspense. Charlton Heston stars as the infamous Long John Silver in what I think is still the best film version of “Treasure Island.”
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