Movie Mom

Movie Mom

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The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images
Release Date:
December 19, 2014

 

The Maze Runner
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, including some disturbing images
Release Date:
September 19, 2014

Exodus: Gods and Kings
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for violence including battle sequences and intense images
Release Date:
December 12, 2014

 

Magic in the Moonlight
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for a brief suggestive comment, and smoking throughout
Release Date:
August 1, 2014

Top Five
Lowest Recommended Age:
MPAA Rating:
Rated R for strong sexual content, nudity, crude humor, language throughout and some drug use
Release Date:

 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence
Release Date:
August 8, 2014

The Brave Little Toaster

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
Movie Release Date:1988

In this movie, based on a story by science-fiction author Thomas M. Disch, a group of household appliances in a summer cottage, worried about their young master, leave home to go and find him, encountering many challenges and adventures along the way. It is exciting and fun, with a thrilling climax and delightful voice characterizations by Saturday Night Live stars Phil Hartman and Jon Lovitz. NOTE: Some very tense moments, with characters in peril.

The Blair Witch Project

posted by rkumar
C+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Movie Release Date:1999

More conceptual art and marketing phenomenon than movie, “The Blair Witch Project” is poised to become the most profitable movie of all time. Directors Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick have learned from canny film- makers like Val Lewton and Alfred Hitchcock — people are much more scared by what they don’t see than by what they do see. The film-makers made a virtue of having no budget for special effects, and left everything to the audience’s grisly imagination. Like some sort of cinematic Rorschach test, as we watch this movie, we are each scared by whatever lurks in our subconscious. The movie’s plot is simply summarized: three film students go into the woods to make a movie about a local legend and never come home. A year later, their footage is found, and what we see is supposed to be what they left behind. Knowing the end from the beginning, the audience is left with 70 minutes of growing dread as the three students become increasingly more panicky and the events turn increasingly more creepy. Then it is over.

Teenagers have always loved scary movies, from the old William Castle movies up through “Nightmare on Elm Street,” “Scream” and “I Still Know What You Did Last Summer.” On one level, they provide peer bonding — you have to be friends with someone you grabbed in a moment of terror and it is fun have that shared experience. On another level, there is something cathartic for teenagers about seeing this graphic representation of an uncontrollable id on the loose. It is important for parents to remember that tolerance for scariness is highly individual, and, especially for teens and younger kids, highly suggestible. In concrete terms, there is nothing really scary in this movie, and parents who do not object to profanity should not have a problem with allowing a kid who really wants to see it to go. They should make sure that those who do see it know — promotional tricks to the contrary — that it is entirely manufactured and fictional. And parents should not hesitate to provide cover to kids who seem uncertain about going, to give them the luxury of saying, “I really want to see it, but my parents would KILL me, and they are even scarier than the Blair Witch!”

The Black Stallion

posted by rkumar
A+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
Movie Release Date:1979

“Plot:

The Best Years of Our Lives

posted by rkumar
A
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:NR
Movie Release Date:1946

Three men are returning home from service during WWII. Fred Derry (Dana Andrews), a bombardier, Al Stephenson (Frederic March), a middle- aged footsoldier, and Homer Parrish (Harold Russell), a sailor who has lost both hands, fly back to their home town of Boone City, excited, but a little apprehensive about beginning their post-war lives. Fred is returning to a beautiful wife, Marie (Virginia Mayo), whom he barely knows. Al is coming back to his wife, Milly (Myrna Loy), and their two children, who have grown up while he was gone. And Homer is coming back to face his family and his fiancée, Wilma (Cathy O’Donnell), with hooks replacing his hands.

Each of them has a lot of adjusting to do. Al is awkward with his wife at first, and insists that they go out to a bar owned by Homer’s uncle Butch (Hoagy Carmichael), where they meet Homer and Fred, who has not been able to find his wife. Al and Fred get very drunk, and Al and Milly take Fred home with them. Al’s daughter Peggy (Teresa Wright) comforts Fred when he has a nightmare about the war, and the next morning makes breakfast for him, and drops him off at his apartment. After everyone leaves the apartment, Al and Milly reconnect to their feelings for one another. Fred finally finds Marie, who is delighted to have him home. But Homer barely speaks to Wilma.bestyears.jpg

Al returns to his job at the bank, but when he approves loans to ex-servicemen who don’t meet the bank’s requirements for collateral, his boss is concerned. At a banquet, Al gets drunk and explains movingly that he learned in the war that you have to trust people, and give them a chance, and that the rules must be changed.

Homer is still uncommunicative and withdrawn until Wilma comes to his house late one night to talk to him. He is finally able to show her the extent of his injuries, and is relieved that it makes no difference to her. They set a date for the wedding.

Fred, who was a soda jerk before the war, says that is the one job he will never do again. But he finds himself back serving ice cream, when he can’t find anything else, until he punches a customer who insults Homer and the other ex-servicemen. Marie, who cares about nothing but fun and money, is quickly bored with him, and starts seeing other men.

Fred falls in love with Peggy, but when Al asks him not to see Peggy any more, he decides to leave town. At the airport, he climbs into the cockpit of one of the old bomber planes, destined to be turned into scrap metal. He meets a man who is using the metal for building and asks for a job, explaining that he knows nothing about it, but knows that he knows how to learn. He is hired.

Fred is Homer’s best man. At the wedding, Fred sees Peggy, and the words of the wedding service seem to bring them together.

Though today’s families will have a hard time relating to the specifics of the post-war era, the theme of adaptation to changing circumstances and the need for genuine closeness is a timeless one. The most important scene in the movie is the one in which Fred realizes that he can use the same skills he used in the war — especially his ability to learn — to bring him what he is looking for. Fred and Homer both have a hard time believing that they deserve love, because each feels helpless and inadequate. Homer is afraid to risk rejection by Wilma, so he brusquely ignores her. Fred plans to leave town and never see Peggy again. But both ultimately take the risk and find the love they hoped for.

Al is also brusque and awkward with Milly at first, but by their first morning together he is ready to return to the relationship they had. Milly’s description of marriage to Peggy is particularly important in this context, making it clear that “living happily ever after” requires commitment, courage, and work.

Questions for Kids:

· What were the challenges faced by each of the servicemen in adjusting to life after the war?

· Would it have been easier for Homer if his family and Wilma talked to him about his injuries when he first came home?

· Why was it easier for Homer to talk to Fred and Al about them than it was to talk to his family?

· Why was Al so awkward with Milly at first?

· What did he mean when he talked about collateral at the banquet? Why was it important for Fred to realize that he knew how to learn? How did that change the way he thought about himself?

Connections: Harold Russell, who lost his hands in a grenade accident in training, received both a special Oscar and the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as Homer. He did not make another movie until “Inside Moves” in 1980. He also served as the Chairman of President Lyndon Johnson’s Committee on Hiring the Handicapped. The movie also won Oscars for Best Picture, Actor, Director, Musical Score, and Writer. Butch is played by Hoagy Charmichael, composer of “Stardust.” A movie with similar themes is “Til the End of Time” with Robert Mitchum and Guy Madison.

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