When we were children, we created some of our favorite memories on Sunday nights when the family gathered around the television with steaming cups of cocoa and big bowls of popcorn to watch movies on the Wonderful World of Disney and later on the Disney Sunday Movie series in the mid-80s. (Click here for a Wonderful World of Disney trivia quiz.)
Times have changed a bit since then, and family films have become big business with many studios besides Disney making big-budget movies like the Harry Potter and Shrek franchises. In fact, there are so many of these movies now, that many of them seem to get lost in the shuffle. So here are some of our favorites, ones that you may have missed.
Finally, we hope you’ll write and tell us about some of your family favorites too. We’ll post some of your comments in a future article.
Jathan & Heather
Jathan & Heather’s Family Film Favorites
Lewis is a brilliant young inventor who sets off on a time-traveling quest to save the future and find the family he never knew. With the help of the wonderfully wacky Robinson family, Lewis learns to keep moving forward and never stop believing in himself.
Critics praised this Disney “masterpiece” (John Anderson, Newsday) as “a dazzling vision of the future” (Leah Rozen, People). We loved it because it is both hilarious and touching. But more importantly, it teaches us all a lesson about the importance of perseverance.
When the Great Depression strikes, nine-year-old Kit Kittredge (played by Oscar nominee Abigail Breslin) has to say goodbye to her father when he leaves to find work. In order to save her family home, she and her mother must take in boarders. When one of the guests is accused of stealing her mother’s lockbox, Kit must sniff out the real story to exonerate her new friend.
Rex Reed (The New York Observer) called this movie “enchanting” and said that it “spells entertainment with a capital E.” We loved the superior cast, which includes Julia Ormond, Chris O’Donnell, Jane Krakowski, Joan Cusack and Stanley Tucci. Together, they weave a story about the importance of family, friendship and truth.
Based on an amazing real life story, Radio shows how Robert ‘Radio’ Kennedy, the man no one understood, became the coach no one could live without. Academy Award Winner Cuba Gooding, Jr. (1997, Best Supporting Actor, Jerry Maguire) and the phenomenal Ed Harris (Pollock) play two coaches who inspire a football team to become champions and a town to open their hearts in this heartwarming, heroic film.
Critics called Radio “a triumph” (Earl Dittman, Wireless Magazine), “a treasure” (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times), and “a definite must for the entire family” (Bonnie Laufer, Tribute TV). We loved this film because it is filled with both comic and touching moments, but above all because it teaches us a powerful lesson about the potential within us all.
There’s music in the wind and sky. And there’s hope. A young boy named August Rush can hear it, and you will too as you join him on a journey to New York City to find the parents he was separated from years earlier. And along the way, he will also discover the musical genius hidden within him. Starring Freddie Highmore, Keri Russell, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Terrance Howard and Robin Williams, August Rush will make you “believe in music the way some people believe in fairy tales.”
Mark S. Allen (CBS-TV) says, “Your heart will be singing and your spirit will soar!” We say that you will laugh, cry, and cheer with this young boy who never stops believing in himself and the dream within his heart.
With the help of his misfit mechanical friends, a small town robot named Rodney embarks on the adventure of a lifetime as he heads for the big city to pursue his dreams—and ultimately prove that anyone can shine no matter what they’re made of. Featuring the voice talents of Ewan McGregor, Halle Berry, Greg Kinnear, Mel Brooks, Amanda Bynes, Drew Carey, Jim Broadbent and Robin Williams, Robots is a dazzling, fun-filled feast for the eyes and a riveting good time for all ages!
Critics hailed the film as “Thrilling! Funny! Terrific!” (Larry King) and “fun and imaginative” (New York Daily News). We love this offbeat animated comedy because it is hilarious, irreverent and filled with great music and real Hollywood magic.