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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

My Personal Playlist

Okay, you guys asked and here you have a random listing of some fun family movies that all of us have enjoyed.  In our house the ages are currently:  15.5, 15.5, almost 14, 11… and… oh, never mind, just us old folks.

Our personal standards are thus:  we don’t think it’s entertaining to be repeatedly cursed at, watch other people doing intimate bedroom things, or have shot-up body parts blown across the big screen.  A few bad guys getting killed doesn’t seem to faze us, though.  We (or they) often react to abandonment storylines, or anything abusive. We aim for G or PG ratings.

So that pretty much limits a whole lot.

Here’s a sampling of just a few of our uber-protective parents’ playlist:

Connor Undercover – A Canadian tween action-comedy TV series available online.  Connor Heath is a 15-year-old with no adventure in his life until the Cordoban president’s daughter is sent to live with his family.  She has to adjust from her high-life lifestyle to fit in with a normal family, while wanting to run away.  Connor has to use his spy tactics in order to protect her.  Funny younger brother and parents.  Twenty-minute segments that are good for a school night.

Country Remedy – A pediatrician father and his son try to deal with their grief after the wife/mother dies (pre-film).  The dad decides to open a clinic in the hills of NC for a summertime get-away, change-of-pace.  Many stereotypical country bumpkins, with a few surprises thrown in.  Watch how both father and son deal with their grief and are transformed over the course of a summer.

Opposite Day – If your children are younger, or like goofy movies, this is the one.  Something happens where the children are now the adults, and the adults are now the children.  Who’s responsible?  Very juvenile, but our kids practically busted their gut when they viewed little children driving and parents messing up the house.  Yawn.  If they’re happy, I’m happy.

Hanna’s Gold -  When it involves buried treasure, my kids will enjoy it.  This film has two sisters from Beverly Hills sent to their divorced/separated (?) father’s horse ranch for the summer.  They learn the value of hard work, and then find a treasure map, which leads to more sneaking around… and danger….  Pretty good.

Saving Winston – A troubled teen, a rescue horse, and God.  Spiritual themes as a teen girl is sentenced to probation due to her lousy boyfriend and his criminal elements.  She goes to live with her aunt since the parents can’t deal with her anymore.  He comes looking for her.  Will she turn her life around?  What are the choices she’s making and their consequences?  Our kids loved it, shouting “Loser!” at the jerk and wondering why she couldn’t see where she was going wrong.  And then….

The Spy Next Door – Jackie Chan, what can I say?  Here he’s the nerdy, next-door neighbor who likes the single mom and her kids.  She gets called away and he has to babysit.  The kids try to make it tough for him.  That’s when he pulls out a few surprise moves of his own when Russian spies (good accents) realize where he lives… and come after the kids.  He reveals that he grew up in an orphanage.  Very touching, what-is-a-family theme.  One line of Russian, but very mispronounced by another actor.

Mr. Bean’s Holiday – Wacky, slapstick, and full of Russian language throughout-!  If you enjoy French scenery and Mr. Bean trying to make the best of his full-of-mishaps, free trip to Cannes, this is a hysterical ride.  A lost Russian boy and a French actress help Mr. Bean along the trip.

The Russians are Coming – Dating from 1966, I remember my father talking about the film.  It can be found online with difficulty, but it is well worth it.  In a small New England village during summertime, a Soviet sub runs aground nearby.  Crew members are sent ashore to find a boat, but the villagers, and one little boy in particular, are sure that the trying-to-be undercover sailors with thick accents are Commies sent to take over their town.  Very, very funny, particuarly if you know Russian for the few lines interspersed (also with subtitles at those points).  Some kissing between a Russian sailor and a local girl at the end.

The Real Macaw – Huge adventure film involving a boy who tries to save his grandfather from the nursing home and a talking macaw bird who tells of buried treasure.  The boy decides to find the island and the treasure, and save his grandfather’s house from being sold.  Heart-stopping action, and what-is-a-real-family theme.  Very good.

Courage – Supposedly a “faith and family” type of movie, but other than “Dear God, please protect us from this storm”, there was nothing really religious about it.  There were a few swear words in the beginning of the film which were pretty unnecessary.  I was left scratching my head.  But the budding author-father-widower whose book is not selling decides to head out for a short weekend trip on the boat with his new wife and his teen daughter (who doesn’t think much of the new step-mom).  Then they hit a severe storm and learn who they can really trust.  Great for older adopted kids who struggle with new parents and their own identities.

Frontier House by PBS – Three modern families experiencing life in the Montana Territory,1883. Lots of drama, blizzards, and pretty hungry children.  Our kids loved to see the other children having to rough it in the wild.  I could have lived without an animal being slaughtered (or almost slaughtered?)—must have blocked it out of my mind.  A lot of cheating family members who tried to break the FH rules.  A moonshine still is set up by one family, too.

Colonial House PBS – 21 modern-day Colonists are plunked down on the rugged Maine coast, circa 1628.  They build their houses, live by Colonial laws (somewhat), and try to grow food and engage in profitable industry.  They stay for four summer months and there’s no way they would survive the winter.  A lot of drama just like Frontier House,  some drinking by the younger adults who are bored out of their minds.  Good insights that make history come alive in imagining day-to-day life.

Sherlock Holmes PBS – Mystery series that has the kids trying to solve the dilemma of the day.  Parents should preview episodes to ensure that the subject matter is child-friendly.  Most of it is.

Poirot PBS – Monsieur Hercule Poirot travels the world and solves the most perplexing of mysteries.  Your little gray cells will be working, too.  Again, preview episodes first for the occasional, objectionable minute or two.   The majority of the segments are fine.

Murder She Wrote – Mystery writer Jessica Fletcher works from her home in Cabot Cove, Maine, always embroiled in a whodunnit.  Preview first, the occasional “floozy” finds her way into some storylines.

MacGyver – The jack-of-all-trades, thinktank researcher, helpful friend, and ardent environmentalist, MacGyver seems to land in trouble time and again.  No matter, he can make a satellite telephone from chewing gum, or an escape zipline from shoelaces.  Many international themes and accents, Russian included.  The occasional curse word.

Mission Impossible – The team is dispatched to anywhere from Eastern Europe to South America to gain the release of dissidents, or capture bad guys looking to overthrow countries.  Dating from the 1960s, they all smoke and drink, (“They didn’t know better back then, da, Mama?”) but at least they dress well.

I think that’s enough for now.  I’m no film critic, so check these out for yourself.  I hope you find a few films or programs to enjoy with your family!




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4 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar hoonew says:

    Glad to have a preapproved list from a trusted source. It’s hard to find family friendly entertainment that everyone will like.

  2. avatar Kathleen says:

    Thank you for putting this list together! My little girl has been really ill (she has an autoimmune disease and currently we are doing some meds that really make her ill with the hope that we can ultimately win the fight) so we are spending lots of time on the couch together watching movies.

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