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Quiz: How Well Do You Know Halloween Movies?

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Halloween Books for Kids from Reading Rockets

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

The Worst Witch

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:1986
DVD Release Date:October 16, 2011
B
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: 1986
DVD Release Date: October 16, 2011

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 […]

Happy Columbus Day!

posted by Nell Minow

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. […]

For Yom Kippur: Louis Armstrong Sings ‘Jonah and the Whale’

posted by Nell Minow

Kol Nidre

posted by Nell Minow

Warn greetings to all who are observing Yom Kippur.  May you and all you love be inscribed in the Book of Life.

Break-Dancing Rosh Hashanah Celebration!

posted by Nell Minow

L’shana Tova — A Sweet New Year for All in 5772

posted by Nell Minow

May you and your families be inscribed in the Book of Life.

Labor Day Tribute to Workers!

posted by Nell Minow

From “The Pajama Game” with Doris Day.        

Labor Day Tribute to Working Women: ‘9 to 5′

posted by Nell Minow

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.  

Labor Day Tribute to Norma Rae and the Woman Who Inspired Her

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Happy 4th of July!

posted by Nell Minow

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.  

1776

posted by Nell Minow
A
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for language
Movie Release Date:1972
DVD Release Date:July 2, 2012
A
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for language
Movie Release Date: 1972
DVD Release Date: July 2, 2012

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 […]

A Father’s Day Tribute to My Favorite Movie Fathers

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Happy Flag Day!

posted by Nell Minow

Taps

posted by Nell Minow

Our deepest gratitude for the honor and sacrifice of all who have served our country.

Remembering Our Military

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

For Easter: The Gospel According to St. Matthew and more

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

List: Passover Movies

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

List: Movies to Share With Your Valentine

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Happy Groundhog Day!

posted by Nell Minow

Celebrate Tu B’Shvat

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

We Shall Overcome

posted by Nell Minow

Have a blessed and inspiring Martin Luther King Day!

Kwanzaa from Sesame Street

posted by Nell Minow

Hark the Herald Angels Sing — Take Six

posted by Nell Minow

12 Days of Christmas — Straight No Chaser

posted by Nell Minow

Joy to the World

posted by Nell Minow

The wonderful BeBe and CeCe Winans sing “Joy to the World.”

The Celtic Women Sing Carol of the Bells

posted by Nell Minow

Merry Christmas!

posted by Nell Minow

Here is one of my favorite Christmas carols, performed by the King’s Chapel Boys Choir.

Hardrock, Cocoa, and Joe and Suzy Snowflake

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

O Come All Ye Faithful — Andrea Bocelli

posted by Nell Minow

The Christmas Song from Mel Torme and Judy Garland

posted by Nell Minow

O Holy Night by Josh Groban

posted by Nell Minow

The Great Toy Robbery

posted by Nell Minow

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.

Twelve More Great Christmas Movies Without Santa, Tiny Tim, or A Message from Ovaltine

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

The Night Before Christmas…and More Classic Holiday Tales

posted by Nell Minow
A
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:2010
DVD Release Date:2010
A
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: 2010
DVD Release Date: 2010

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,” […]

The Gift Wrapper

posted by Nell Minow

I am delighted that this charming film is available again this year. Enjoy!

Happy Hannukah from the Maccabeats

posted by Nell Minow

Twelve Great Christmas Movies That Don’t Feature Clarence the Angel, Bing Crosby, Tiny Tim, or a Leg Lamp

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Happy Hannukah to Jews All Over the World

posted by Nell Minow

We Gather Together — Happy Thanksgiving!

posted by Nell Minow

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.

Pieces of April

posted by rkumar
A
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for language, sensuality, drug content and images of nudity
Movie Release Date:2003
DVD Release Date:2003
A
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for language, sensuality, drug content and images of nudity
Movie Release Date: 2003
DVD Release Date: 2003

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. […]

Disney’s A Christmas Carol

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for scary sequences and images
Movie Release Date:November 6, 2009
DVD Release Date:November 16, 2010
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for scary sequences and images
Movie Release Date: November 6, 2009
DVD Release Date: November 16, 2010

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 […]

Doonesbury Honors Our Military and Veterans

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Movies for Veteran’s Day

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Wartorn: 1861-2010

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Happy Halloween!

posted by Nell Minow

From The Nightmare Before Christmas. Happy trick or treating!

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

posted by Nell Minow

This Halloween classic is temporarily available on Hulu. Happy Halloween!

Free ‘Scary Face’ Pancakes for Trick or Treaters at IHOP!

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Monster House

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for scary images and sequences, thematic elements, some crude humor and brief language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:October 1, 2012
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for scary images and sequences, thematic elements, some crude humor and brief language.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: October 1, 2012

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

posted by Nell Minow

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!

List: Movie Mom’s Favorites for Halloween

posted by Nell Minow

Many thanks to Jennifer Kachler, Adam Donald, Daniel Sheppard, Brian Gonzalez, my homegirl Laine Kaplowitz, and everyone at the fabulous Bethesda Row Theatre.

Ushpizin: A Movie for Sukkot

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:PG for mild thematic elements
Movie Release Date:2005
DVD Release Date:2005
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: PG for mild thematic elements
Movie Release Date: 2005
DVD Release Date: 2005

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 […]

Eid Mub?rak!

posted by Nell Minow

Labor Day: Thanks to Workers Everywhere

posted by Nell Minow

‘Soul Bigger’ — A Rosh Hashanah Take on Kanye

posted by Nell Minow

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 Declaration of Independence

posted by Nell Minow

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.

Happy 4th of July!

posted by Nell Minow

Taps: Origin and Meaning

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

More for Memorial Day

posted by Nell Minow

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. […]

Movies to Salute Our Armed Forces

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Yom Hashoah, Day of Remembrance

posted by Nell Minow

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.” […]

O Holy Night (Celtic Women)

posted by Nell Minow

Chloe Agnew and the Celtic Women perform “O Holy Night.”

Where is Santa?

posted by Nell Minow

NORAD is tracking Santa tonight as the reindeer pull his sleigh — and you can, too, via Google maps!

Must be Santa from Bob Dylan

posted by Nell Minow

Yes, that Bob Dylan — it’s on his new Christmas In the Heart.

Talking about Holiday Movies with Kojo

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

T’was the Night Before Christmas

posted by Nell Minow

A Festivus for the Rest of Us

posted by Nell Minow

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, […]

The Gathering

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:1977
DVD Release Date:December 15, 2009
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: NR
Movie Release Date: 1977
DVD Release Date: December 15, 2009

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 […]

Scholastic: A Night Before Christmas (with Hannukah and Kwanzaa)

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:NR
DVD Release Date:2009
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: All Ages
MPAA Rating: NR
DVD Release Date: 2009

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 […]

Thanksgiving Movie: ‘Pieces of April’

posted by Nell Minow

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.

‘The Way We Get By’ — Thanking Those Who Serve

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Happy Halloween!

posted by Nell Minow

From The Nightmare Before Christmas. Happy trick or treating!

List: Halloween Movie Tricks and Treats!

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

A Very Brave Witch

posted by Nell Minow
A-
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:NR
DVD Release Date:2009
A-
Lowest Recommended Age: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating: NR
DVD Release Date: 2009

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 […]

L’Shana Tova (Muppet remix)

posted by Nell Minow

The Muppets’ theme song is remixed to wish everyone a sweet new year.

Taps

posted by Nell Minow

Our deepest gratitude for the honor and sacrifice of all who have served our country.

Purim!

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

List: More Valentine Movies

posted by Nell Minow

Mark Jordan Legan of NPR has a great list of Valentine movies.

Swingin’ Dreidel

posted by Nell Minow

Happy Hannukah!

Kwanzaa Documentary: ‘The Black Candle’

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Carol of the Bells — Soul Children of Chicago

posted by Nell Minow

Merry Christmas!

‘All I Want for Christmas is You’ — from ‘Love Actually’

posted by Nell Minow

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:

Oh Holy Night — Josh Groban

posted by Nell Minow

Menorah Parades

posted by Nell Minow

I am charmed by this recent and fast-spreading Hannukah tradition, the menorah parade. Here’s one with firetrucks!

Jen Chaney’s Top Holiday Television Episodes

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

A Very Beatles Christmas

posted by Nell Minow

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

posted by rkumar
A
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexuality, nudity and language
Movie Release Date:2003
DVD Release Date:2004
A
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexuality, nudity and language
Movie Release Date: 2003
DVD Release Date: 2004

“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 […]

Adam Sandler’s Hannukah Song

posted by Nell Minow

Happy Hannukah!

Quiz: Christmas Classics

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

Remember the Night

posted by Nell Minow

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 […]

The Holiday

posted by jmiller
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for sexual content and some strong language.
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2007
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content and some strong language.
Movie Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: 2007

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 […]

A Christmas Story

posted by rkumar
A+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:PG
Movie Release Date:1984
DVD Release Date:1984
A+
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: PG
Movie Release Date: 1984
DVD Release Date: 1984

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 […]

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Slate's Compilation of Movie Scenes With Teenagers Climbing Through Bedroom Windows
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A "Star Wars" Superfan Breaks Down All the Changes and Tweaks
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The Oldest Living Movie Stars
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