September 4th, 2007

Your Turn: Movies

Since posting about my napfest during The Bourne Ultimatum, I’ve been getting lots of questions about movies. It can be awfully hard to find entertaining, inoffensive modern movies to watch as a family or a couple. How do you go about doing it? And what are some of your favorites that you would recommend to others?

I’ll start by sharing what we watched last night: The Painted Veil. Not the best movie we have ever seen, but it tells a moving story that makes for an entertaining and romantic film (for grown ups). Now you share. Let’s make a reader-recommended movie list. What have you been watching lately?

86 comments to Your Turn: Movies

  • Chrissy

    We recently watched The Queen and enjoyed it quite a bit. Children probably would find it boring, though.

  • stephanie

    I don’t have time to read all this, but to address the question "How do you go about doing it?" I’d like to say that we usually wait (and wait and wait) until we’ve had a chance to read a couple of Catholic, Christian, and other reviews.

    We usually start with the USCCB website, then check "Kids In Mind"., are among many others out there.

    Last night and tonight we’re watching "Life Is Beautiful".

  • Anonymous

    STRICTLY BALLROOM–first saw it in an artsy theatre in college almost 20 years ago. It’s directed by Baz Luhrmann (before he did Romeo & Juliet, and then Moulin Rouge. Never saw either of those two). The movie is positively MAGIC, every time I watch it. It’s out of Australia, so all the cast have fabulous accents. Probably better for older kids (a few minor swear words and one extremely brief scene inappropriate for kids) but I parentally edit that and my kids love it. We also love dancing to the soundtrack.

    I also agree, the Bourne trilogy completely rocks!

    The version of PETER PAN directed by P.J. Hogan and starring Jeremy Sumpter (2003?)was a favorite of my kids for several years.
    They also recently liked Arthur and the Invisibles. I admit I sort of listened from the next room. But it sounded entertaining and I didn’t catch anything inappropriate.

    The other movies that my husband and I have been renting lately–in hopes of finding a gem–have found me falling asleep…so I guess you don’t need the names of those!

    Molly wrote below about the movie HITCH–my husband and I watched it on TV a few months ago, and likewise thought it was excellent–I was nearly moved to tears in one moment and then the next I was howling laughing! Definitely for adults, as there are a few rough language spots, but it actually has a great message.

    Also one of my all-time favorites is THE CUTTING EDGE (figure skater and ex-hockey player pair up). Cute. For grown-ups.

  • We watch mostly DVD’s, and my kids are grown, so at this point I can’t personally recommend any movies appropriate for the entire family when there are children watching too. You can find a lot of the information you want on movies of all kinds at

  • I don’t get out to the movies, my 90 year old husband doesn’t like to go. But I have lots of movies at home and have several favorites. They are a bit older, but you may have missed them, and you should see them. You can most likely still get them at Netflix or Blockbuster. Simon Birch is an amazing movie that you will put on your favorites list, and you can see with your children. It is about a child with many problems…the next is a remarkable movie , Tea with Mussilini. It stars Cher and Maggi Smith. We saw it on Nantucket on a rainy night with
    Ann Meira and her redhaired husband (can’t think of his name)seated next to us, He had just lost his Dad. They have a home on the Island, and are always so nice to the others on Island. We all loved the movie, and you will too. It teaches a History lesson of times past, of WWII.
    I so enjoy your column.

  • your friend Evelyn,

    Danielle, as I have become older and a bit wiser, my movie
    watching is very selective. My favorite movies that I watch
    over and over again are THE SOUND OF MUSIC,and some old classics like WHITE CHRISTMAS with Bing Crosby, OUR STATE
    FAIR, THE BENNY GOODMAN STORY, and the GLEN MILLER STORY, can you tell I enjoy musicals. With my home day care, I
    have several Disney movies, Magic School Bus, Bible Classics that I enjoy watching along with the children.
    And, rarely do I watch the movies on tv. With a vhs and dvd’s it is easier to be so
    selective. I also enjoy watching documentaries on all our
    presidents and right now I’m watching PLANET EARTH, these
    are movies the whole family can watch! I would highly
    recommend PLANET EARTH for the whole family!

  • Barbara

    Dear Frankie
    Waking Ned DeVine

  • Jennifer

    I just thought of another one – Seabiscuit! Calling all you Toby Maguire fans this one is great!

  • Coreen (Grandma) Marson

    There are two very good family type movies that I would recomment to anyone. They are "Second Hand Lion" and "Flicka".

  • Not so much a move but a series – Band of Brothers excellent as well as From Earth to Moon.

    I could watch those every week.


  • Carolyn A

    Here are two Irish movies we enjoyed – "Waking Ned Devine" and "Millions."

    We also enjoyed "Children of Men," which is very thought provoking. Definitely for adults only though due to the heavy violence.


    We rarely ever get out to a movie in a real movie theater, simply because most of them we would not pay money to see. And if a movie that has come out sounds pretty good, we still often wait until it is available on DVD before we watch it. So, what we watch is usually something we own, have borrowed from my sister, or have checked out of the library.
    We like a lot of the pre-1960 movies, though not exclusively. Some of the movies we greatly enjoy or have watched recently are: The Lord of the Rings, An Affair to Remember (Deborah Kerr/Cary Grant), 1985 BBC Pride and Prejudice, Emma (Kate Beckinsale), Sense and Sensibility (Emma Thompson), the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie, Bridge to Terabithia, Ben Hur, The Song of Bernadette, Madame Currie (1943/Greer Garson/Walter Pigeon), Mrs. Miniver (1950/Garson/Pigeon), Little Lord Fauntleroy (Freddie Bartholomew), Roman Holiday, Houseboat (Sophia Loren/Cary Grant), Crimson Pirate (Burt Lancaster), Hidalgo, The Quiet Man (John Wayne/ Maureen O’Hara), Star Wars (but only the original 3), The Miracle of Fatima (1952), Friendly Persuasion (Gary Cooper), Quo Vadis (Robert Taylor/Deborah Kerr), The Court Jester (Danny Kaye), It’s a Wonderful Life, The Bishop’s Wife (1947/Loretta Young/David Niven), Boys’ Town (Spencer Tracy/Mickey Rooney), The Big Country (1958/Gregory Peck/Jean Simmons), Hatari (1961/John Wayne), Rear Window, The Philadelphia Story, and most of the animated Hayo miyazakai movies (especially Howl’s Moving Castle) — to name but a few!
    And just a quick note from a Janeite on the movie Becoming Jane: A thought to keep in mind — it is a lovely movie, but as far as the true life of Jane Austen is concerned, it is pure fantasy. . . On to our next flick!
    God bless!


    How could this Janeite forget her absolute favourite Jane Austen adaptation — the 1995 Persuasion (Amanda Root/Ciaran Hinds)!!!

  • Effie

    The latest romantic comedy my husband and I went to was NO RESERVATIONS – My favourite is LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL and ITS A WONDERFUL LIFE. We never go to a movie or rent one unless we first check whether it is meets our standards and family values and whether it is meant for adults or for everyone. We do that at Its nice to know there are people out there who think the same way as us…sometimes we feel we’re all alone in our quest for purity and decency. God Bless 🙂

  • Frank Tavella

    One of the best movies I have seen is The Scarlet and the Black, a movie about a Rome based priest who sought to protect Jews during the Second World War. It is based on a true story. A very enjoyable movie.

  • Christine

    My family really liked The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, both High School Musical movies, and my daughter loves the newer live-action Peter Pan. It’s a challenge to find movies to watch that everyone can enjoy… this list gave me a few good ones to investigate…thanks!

  • Abby

    Two Catholic faith gems we’ve found:

    SAINT RALPH – about a boy who tries to with the Boston Marathon with the help of a priest

    MILLIONS-wonderful interaction with the communion of saints and the best movie about the joy of having a brother

  • Amy

    Absolute musts: Return to Me, David (Caviziel), Life is Beautiful, and (my fav) the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

    Also, I have purchased and watched nearly all of the new Saint movies produced by Ignatius Press. They have all been WONDERFUL! I loved St. Rita, was pleasantly surprised by John Bosco, and am anxiously awaiting the arrival of St. Anthony. These are not "typical" Saint movies. They are very well done and very entertaining.

  • anon23

    Good topic for I am a movie nut! I will skip the religious movies for most of you already know them. but my favorite two are defintely – The Scarlet and the Black and Becket!!!

    Adults (these are more mainstream movies will have a male slant)

    All of the Bournes — clean but violent

    Cinderella Man — A must see for all adults! Super clean, way underrated by the critics and not to much boxing for the women.

    Oceans Eleven (Pitt, Clooney etc..) Relatively clean excpet for a background shot that can be fastforwarded. Excellent!

    Blood DIamond — (about the diamond trade in Africa) Very graphic from a viloence standpoint

    Shawshank Redemption – A must see!!

    The Count of Monte Cristo – Awesome!(Cavizel) Even my parents loved this one. Very clean!!

    Blackhawk Down – (war movie regarding the Somalia invasion) Violent and language

    Good Will Hunting — One of the best movies around but too much language

    The Fugitive, Clear and Present Danger, Patriot Games and the Devil’s Own — (All Harrison Ford and clean except for language and violence)

    Crimson Tide — Great submarine movie (some language)

    Obviously all of the Indiana Jone’s (relatively clean for all three)

    This could go on forever. If you have any specific questions ak away!

  • StephC

    We’ve got a 2.5 year old who likes the classics–"Singin in the Rain" to be specific!

    Like a previous poster, I usually like to start with the USCCB website for ratings and reviews, then use my own judgment.


  • Amy

    How could I forget!? "Jane Eyre", 2006 Masterpiece Theater. I watched it twice in one week, despite its length, it is sooooo good! I also second "The Count of Monte Cristo." It is excellent!

  • Jen

    Upcoming movie: BELLA
    It was created by a Catholic trio trying to make movies that inspire. This is a PRO LIFE MOVIE.

    PLEASE SUPPORT THIS MOVIE. Remember, very good (encouraging, challenging, entertaining) movies don’t come around often. Let’s go and see this film when it comes to our local theatres this fall.

    Don’t say, "Oh, we’ll have to rent that one." By then it’s too late and the studios all over will be saying, "See, no one wants movies like that!" Let’s cast votes for this movie with our dollars. Box office numbers mean the most.

    For more information:
    Review by Knights of Columbus:

  • janie

    "The Ultimate Gift" is a newly released CD; we just rented it this past weekend. It is a family movie – no bad language, no nudity, no sex scenes, no violence – and yet I can say it’s great! Grandpa’s will has several tasks that Scott must complete to inherit. Each task brings a gift in itself (and is explained during the credits, if you missed any).

    Movies that I could watch over and over:
    7 Brides for 7 Brothers
    The Unsinkable Molly Brown
    Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House
    Cheaper by the Dozen
    Beethoven (the dog, not the composer)
    Last Holiday
    No Time for Sergeants
    Mr. Roberts
    Mr. Mom

  • Danielle, we enjoyed The Painted Veil also, and love the Bourne series.

    More recent films worth watching, for parents only:

    Hotel Rwanda
    The Lives of Others
    The Constant Gardener
    Secondhand Lions

  • Kathy

    It’s been fun reading all the movies listed. My family has enjoyed many of them posted but I’ve also started a list of ones I want to see.
    A couple of our favorites that haven’t been listed yet;

    Remember the Titans (great movie)
    Freaky Friday (more for mom & the girls)
    and a great comedy, with a good story we love
    My Cousin Vinnie (adults, for language)

    When my kids were little they loved the first few
    Land Before Time movies.

  • Living in China, we end up buying movies in bulk at less than $1 a piece, and then we can never get caught up in watching them. Painted Veil is one I have definitely wanted to see because it is based on a Maugham story (and I love Maugham), and it was filmed, I believe, in Guilin, someplace we are talking about going for a few days. We are now entering the time of year when Guilin isn’t too hot or too rainy. I bought Painted Veil like 2 months ago and haven’t watched it yet.
    We watched Blood Diamond most recently. I almost liked DiCaprio’s acting in that movie; I am not a fan. It was ok. We also recently watched The Departed, which I liked better than I thought I would.
    I could watch Keira Knightly’s Pride and Prejudice again and again and again.
    When we get back to America for Christmas we are anxious to see Atonement (I loved that book). When does Sweeney Todd come out?
    Lately we’ve been watching TV series on DVD. We have now seen the first 4 Seasons of Monk (the mostly Sharona years). This includes one of the funniest episodes ever with Monk’s brother Ambrose. Now we are watching 30 Rock. That show makes me laugh out loud.

  • I forgot: Win a Date with Tad Hamilton

  • Claire

    Oooh, this is fun! How about "Breaking Away," a quirky little movie about that weird time at the end of high school when everyone’s going their own way. I am so like the blonde kid who wants to be Italian, it makes me laugh.

  • Marie M

    Finally weighing in: Here are some of my favorites:

    SPITFIRE GRILL (a must see! bring the kleenex)
    MR HOLLANDS OPUS (with Richard Dreyfus)
    COOL RUNNINGS (Jamaican Bobsledders — very funny!)
    Alfred Hitchcock: REAR WINDOW, NOTORIOUS, VERTIGO (any of the Hitchcock movies!)
    INCREDIBLES (my 4 yo son can recite the scene with Mr. Incredible and his boss: "Bobbbb, look at me when I’m talking to you Paaarrrr! I’m not happy Bobbbb, not happy." makes me laugh every time)
    TOY STORY (this is one of the greatest movies for young and old! I just bought Zurg off ebay!)

    BELLA is coming out on Oct. 26 (at least around my area of Northeast Ohio). We got an email encouraging us to go to the theater on that weekend so that it gets a great rating.

  • Amy

    I forgot:

    WHAT ABOUT BOB? so very funny!!

  • Maria

    Many of my favorites have already been listed, but I can’t believe no one has mentioned my absolute favorite movie: Somewhere in Time with Jane Seymour & Christopher Reeve (before he was Superman). What a wonderful love story!

  • Karen

    "Evelyn" w/Pierce Brosnan — a true story (tear-jerker)about a Catholic family in Ireland, where the mother abandons the family and the father must fight for custody of his children from the state. Very touching and full of love!

  • Melissa

    For mom and dad: The Ultimate Gift was really good and is now available on Netflix.

    Our family also enjoyed The Greatest Game Ever Played lately. (True golf movie)

  • Barb Braun

    Our family really enjoys the Love Comes Softly movies, we have the first 4 or 5 of them and when we get a movie, that is what they usally pick. Thanks Barb

  • Karen G.

    Here’s a couple classics that we loved:

    On the Waterfront with Marlon Brando…has a fantastic scene where a priest is actually a good guy! (probably save this movie for mom & dad or just older kids – not exactly light subject matter)

    The Philadelphia Story – w/ Jimmy Stewart, Kate Hepburn & Cary Grant … charming, witty, superb acting

  • Is anyone still reading this? I just thought of some older movies that I enjoyed that weren’t mentioned.

    Children of Heaven: This is actually an Iranian movie about a brother and sister that is so completely wonderful. When it came out in the theater we took my husband’s then-11-year-old daughter to see it. She was reluctant to go to a movie she had to read. Then she asked for the DVD the next Christmas.

    Miracle: This is the movie about the 1980 Olympic Gold Medal US Hockey Team. Awesome.

    Chicago: I was really amazed by this movie. When I first heard that Richard Gere and Renee Z were making this movie, I was skeptical. I ended up seeing it in the movie theater 7 times (yeah, I didn’t have any kids then)

    Howard’s End: This is one of the fantastic Merchant-Ivory movies. It is based on one of my favorite novels, so that meant I had to have a strong reaction to it. I loved it.