Babar and Father Christmas is a new DVD with a charming holiday story. The children of Babar and Celeste write to Father Christmas to invite him to their home town. But the letter is stolen by wicked Rataxes the Rhinoceros, […]
One of my very favorite movies begins with Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the original Miracle on 34th Street. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Best wishes to you and your families, and please know how grateful I am for the chance to be here […]
A sleigh pulled by reindeer? That’s so five decades ago. With the population topping seven billion and the Duggars getting ready to welcome baby number 20, Santa (Jim Broadbent) needs all the support modern technology can provide. He may not […]
The wonderful folks at Veggie Tales have a new DVD for the holidays, Little Drummer Boy, based on the classic Christmas carol. In this version, Junior Asparagus hears the story of a little boy whose heart was filled with bitterness […]
Support our troops and thank our veterans on Veteran’s Day. Our deepest thanks to those who risk their lives to protect our freedoms. And Sesame Workshop has some new resources for military families, including FamiliesNearAndFar.org, a free bilingual website designed for military families, Feel […]
This Dove-approved family film stars Ted McGinley and Daniel Baldwin as one-time high school rivals who find themselves on opposite sides again when they battle over Christmas decorations in a small Alaska town and learn that Christmas is not about […]
Teeny-Tiny and the Witch-Woman… and 4 More Spine-Tingling Tales is a perfect Halloween treat for the littlest trick-or-treaters, with stories that are more fun than scary. Teeny-Tiny is the story of a boy who outsmarts the witch who wants to […]
Get into the spooky spirit of Halloween with this quiz that covers movies with ghosts, goblins, and witches. How many do you know? 1. High school witches get revenge on a mean girl by making her hair fall out but […]
Reading Rockets has ten books for families about Halloween, including A Newbery Halloween : A Dozen Scary Stories by Newbery Award-Winning Authors, Hoodwinked (a little witch finds a surprising pet), and Pumpkin Pumpkin (a tiny seed grows into a pumpkin which makes […]
Thanks to my godson, Theo Leiss, for reminding me of this Halloween treat! The Worst Witch is based on a pre-Harry Potter series of books by Jill Murphy about a school for young witches. Fairuza Balk, who would later play a […]
Christopher Columbus has not yet had the movie he deserves, but I prefer the Fredric March version to the later movies. And I recommend a brilliant and completely engrossing new book from biographer Laurence Bergreen called Columbus: The Four Voyages. […]
Warn greetings to all who are observing Yom Kippur. May you and all you love be inscribed in the Book of Life.
May you and your families be inscribed in the Book of Life.
From “The Pajama Game” with Doris Day.
The technology has changed and the opportunities for women and minorities have widened, but the frustrations of the workplace continue. Take a moment today to thank the working people in your life.
Sally Field won an Oscar for her performance as Norma Rae, inspired by the real-life Crystal Lee Sutton. She died in 2009 of brain cancer following a fight with her insurance company to get the treatment she needed. Her papers […]
May our celebrations this day remind us to treasure our freedoms, instill gratitude for those who fought for, fight for, and protect them, and inspire us to work for freedom for everyone.
Happy Independence Day! There’s only one possible pick of the week for the 4th of July. This rousing musical about the Declaration of Independence makes the Founding Fathers vivid, human, and interesting characters, and is so involving that you almost […]
My updated gallery of the greatest movie dads is now up, with some new additions including “Up” and “The King’s Speech.” Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there, especially my own magnificent dad and to my kids’ wonderful […]
Our deepest gratitude for the honor and sacrifice of all who have served our country.
In honor of Memorial Day, take a break from picnics and sales and share one of these great films about American soldiers, sailors, and Marines. And be sure to take time thank the military and veterans in your life for […]
Reposting for Easter — Have a blessed celebration, everyone! Ben-Hur is the traditional Easter classic, but there are some other films that beautifully illuminate the themes of this holy season. I like The Gospel of John, a very reverent re-telling […]
Reposting — Hag Sameach! Passover is not just about remembering the story of the Exodus from Egypt. It is about telling the story. Thousands of years before people talked about “learning styles,” the Seder included many different ways of telling […]
In 2008, I did a Valentine’s Day tribute to great movie couples, from Mickey and Minnie to The Princess Bride and with suggestions for all ages. Here’s a list of five of my all-time favorite falling-in-love (or realizing you’re in […]
I don’t have an embed code, but you can visit YouTube to see an animated version of a Talmudic story in honor of today’s celebration of the Jewish holiday of Tu B’Shvat that gives thanks for trees and other things […]
Have a blessed and inspiring Martin Luther King Day!
The wonderful BeBe and CeCe Winans sing “Joy to the World.”
Here is one of my favorite Christmas carols, performed by the King’s Chapel Boys Choir.
If you are of a certain age and grew up in Chicago, these will bring back a lot of memories, back from the days when children’s programming was local. I am always delighted when WGN runs it on Christmas for […]
Thanks to Alexander Law for suggesting this animated short from the National Film Board of Canada about a wild (and I do mean wild) west Christmas.
I love the classics, but if you’ve seen them all and want to try something new, take a look at these holiday gems: Desk Set Before smart phones and Google, there were people like the character played by Katherine Hepburn […]
My very favorite DVD series for families has a wonderful holiday treat: The Night Before Christmas…and More Classic Holiday Tales. Twelve beloved family classics come to life, including the Christmas stories “The Night Before Christmas,” “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” […]
I am delighted that this charming film is available again this year. Enjoy!
Reprising from 2007: I love It’s a Wonderful Life, White Christmas, and A Christmas Story as much as anyone. I love the bittersweet struggles of George Bailey and never get tired of seeing him try to resist falling in love […]
I am so very thankful to all of you who make it a joy to share our thoughts on movies and more. I wish you all a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.
One of my favorite Thanksgiving films is this touching story of a young woman, estranged from her family, who invites them to Thanksgiving dinner at her apartment. I love movies that don’t feel like they have to tell you everything. […]
Writer-director Robert Zemeckis wisely chose the most unquenchable of stories for his technological marvel. Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, already filmed with everyone from Michael Caine to Patrick Stewart, George C. Scott, Vanessa Williams, and Mr. Magoo in the role […]
No one in the mainstream media has done a better job of portraying the valor of our military and the challenges they face during and after their service than Garry Trudeau. His Doonesbury comic strips, especially those about the wounded […]
As we remember and thank those who have served our country and defended our freedom, these movies help us begin to understand their contribution. The Messenger One of the finest young actors working today, Ben Foster, stars with Woody Harrelson […]
HBO’s new documentary, premiering on Veteran’s Day, is the story of “the invisible wounds of war.” What we now call post-traumatic stress disorder was once called “shell shock.” Actor James Gandolfini, who produced Wartorn: 1861-2010, speaks to members of the […]
From The Nightmare Before Christmas. Happy trick or treating!
This Halloween classic is temporarily available on Hulu. Happy Halloween!
Celebrate Halloween with a free “scary face” pancake for trick or treaters 12 and under at participating IHOP restaurants across the country as part of a national No Tricks – Just Treats program designed to provide kids with a safe […]
My DVD pick this week is one of my favorites for Halloween. “Honey, I’m home” takes on a cheerfully creepy new meaning in “Monster House,” a fresh, fun, and deliciously scary animated film produced by Robert Zemeckis (“Back to the […]
Christopher Columbus has not yet had the movie he deserves, but I prefer the Fredric March version to the later versions. Happy Columbus Day and cheers to all adventurers and explorers!
Many thanks to Jennifer Kachler, Adam Donald, Daniel Sheppard, Brian Gonzalez, my homegirl Laine Kaplowitz, and everyone at the fabulous Bethesda Row Theatre.
Ushpizin is a quietly moving drama set in an almost-unseen world. It takes place in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Jerusalem during the fall holiday of Sukkot, which falls this year on Sept 22-29. During Sukkot, families build tabernacles called […]
Kanye West’s “Gold Digger” is re-fitted as an adorable salute to the soul-enlarging spiritual renewal of the Jewish New Year, to be celebrated on the evening of Sept 8 this year. Thanks to Slate’s Brow Beat for bringing it to […]
The defining moment of our beginning as portrayed in the outstanding “John Adams” series on PBS. Let us all take inspiration from their courage and vision.
On Memorial Day, we honor those who gave “the last full measure of devotion” to protect freedom and democracy. Let us all keep their example in mind as we do our best to live up to the dreams they died […]
A thoughtful commenter named Richard S. Webster added some superb suggestions to the list I published for Memorial Day, and I wanted to post them for families to have as they salute the courage and sacrifice of our armed forces. […]
Reposting from 2008: In honor of Memorial Day, take a break from picnics and sales and share one of these great films about American soldiers, sailors, and Marines. And be sure to take time thank the military and veterans in […]
Today, all over the world, people of all faiths and cultures are observing Yom Hashoah, the annual Day of Remembrance for those who perished in the Holocaust. Yom is Hebrew for “Day” and Hashoah means “of Catasrophe” or “of Destruction.” […]
Chloe Agnew and the Celtic Women perform “O Holy Night.”
NORAD is tracking Santa tonight as the reindeer pull his sleigh — and you can, too, via Google maps!
Yes, that Bob Dylan — it’s on his new Christmas In the Heart.
Thanks so much to Kojo Nnamdi for having me on his WAMU show with film historian Murray Horwitz to talk about sharing our favorite holiday movies with the family. And thanks to the great callers and emailers for some wonderful […]
Seinfeld’s alternate December holiday has actual followers. There are even books about it. Its primary attraction seems to be that it is not Christmas, Hannukah, or Kwanzaa and that it is easy to observe. All you need is parties, grievance-airing, […]
I’m thrilled that one of my favorite Christmas movies is available on DVD for the first time from Warner Brothers. It is the Emmy-award winning The Gathering and it stars Ed Asner and Maureen Stapleton as the long-separated parents of […]
My very favorite series has a special family treat for the winter holidays. Clement Moore’s classic poem about Santa Claus is read by Anthony Edwards. Theodore Bikel reads “In the Month of Kisley,” a delightful Hannukah story about a poor […]
A girl makes a Thanksgiving meal for her estranged family in this bittersweet indie film filled with unforgettable characters. It is available this week only at no charge on Hulu.
Please take time to gather your family to watch The Way We Get By in observance of Veteran’s Day, showing tonight on PBS. This is a documentary about the troop greeters who devote their last years to being there to […]
From The Nightmare Before Christmas. Happy trick or treating!
Halloween gives kids a thrilling opportunity to act out their dreams and pretend to be characters with great power. But it can also be scary and even overwhelming for the littlest trick-or-treaters. An introduction to the holiday with videos from […]
Here’s a great new DVD from my all-time favorite series, just in time for Halloween — A Very Brave Witch…and more Halloween stories. In the title story, a little witch who has been taught that humans are scary decides to […]
The Muppets’ theme song is remixed to wish everyone a sweet new year.
Our deepest gratitude for the honor and sacrifice of all who have served our country.
Purim, which comes this year on March 10, is the celebration of the triumph of Queen Esther over the plot of Haman to kill all the Jews. Jewish children love to dress up and to hear the “purim shpiel,” the […]
Mark Jordan Legan of NPR has a great list of Valentine movies.
The documentary The Black Candle: A Kwanzaa Celebration, narrated by Maya Angelou, uses the holiday of Kwanzaa to explore the African-American experience. The holiday was created by Dr. Maulana Karenga, a professor of Africana studies, as a way to recognize […]
Olivia Olson sings Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” in this clip from “Love Actually.” And here is Mariah’s version:
I am charmed by this recent and fast-spreading Hannukah tradition, the menorah parade. Here’s one with firetrucks!
The Washington Post’s always-delightful Jen Chaney wrote about her favorite television series holiday episodes from “Seinfeld” and “South Park” to “Moonlighting” and “The O.C.” Be sure to take a look as the column includes some great clips. I remember the […]
The Beatles used to send out special Christmas greetings to their fan club members: And they released “Christmas Time (Is Here Again)” in 1968: Former Beatles Paul McCartney and John Lennon each created Christmas songs that have become seasonal favorites.
“Love Actually” is as stuffed with goodies as the Christmas stockings for those at the very top of Santa’s “nice” list — and it is just as entertaining, too. You say you like romantic comedies with gorgeous stars, witty dialogue […]
1. What Christmas classic features sibling rivalry between two brothers, the sons of Mother Nature? 2. What Christmas classic features the Island of the Misfit Toys? 3. Who is repeatedly told, “You’ll shoot your eye out!” 4. Mr. Magoo stars […]
Preston Sturges wrote and directed some of Hollywood’s greatest comedies, specializing in wickedly sharp satires like “The Lady Eve” and “Miracle of Morgan’s Creek.” But the first of his screenplays to be produced was this bittersweet Christmas romance about a […]
Amanda (Cameron Diaz) has a successful business cutting up new Hollywood releases into three-minute trailers that make the films look as enticing as possible. Writer-director Nancy Meyers essentially cuts up classic romantic comedies and reassembles them for modern consumption. The […]
There’s no better way to start off the Christmas season than this holiday classic, now celebrating its 25th anniversary and so popular that Turner Classic Movies runs it for 24 hours each year. Millions of fans can recite its lines […]