(Image from Barnes & Noble)
Everybody loves movies, but since not everyone digs the same flicks, it can be difficult to find one that appeals to the whole family. Case in point: Typically, my 6-year-old princess wants a girly movie; my 10-year-old boy begs for something with lots of action; my teenage daughter prefers rom coms; my 16-year-old son groans at anything too juvenile; my husband always suggests sci fi; and by this time, I just want an aspirin. The solution? Usually we settle on Studio C. A great alternative option, it's true, but if you're really sold on family movie night, here's a suggestion: pick up 101 Movies to See Before You Grow Up by parenting/entertainment blogger Suzette Valle. It will give you plenty of family-pleasing ideas (although it should be noted that some of the films she suggests are rated PG-13).
In a fun, easy-to-read format geared toward kids, this informative guide discusses 101 popular movies. For each, it lists a plot summary, people who worked on the film, its rating, release date, and interesting trivia related to the movie. It even provides a space to record when you saw the film, with whom you viewed it, and your rating (1-5 stars)/review. Bright colors throughout as well as whimsical illustrations by Natasha Hellegourach make thumbing through this book a real delight for fans of all ages. I suggest placing it on the coffee table in your t.v./family room to remind you which movies you've seen and which you still need to experience.
While 101 Movies to See Before You Grow Up really isn't meant to be read cover-to-cover, that's what I did. And what an enjoyable experience! I had a great time learning about all these movies, 84 of which I'd seen (guess I can't grow up quite yet). Some of the plot summaries were a little too informative for me, but overall, Valle provides lots of useful information for each flick. I especially appreciated the variety of movies that were highlighted—it's a mix of cinema classics (It's a Wonderful Life; Mary Poppins; To Kill a Mockingbird; etc.), newer action/adventure favorites (Back to the Future; Jurassic Park; Pirates of the Caribbean; etc.), beloved animated films (Toy Story; Despicable Me; Shrek; etc., sports/school picks (Cool Runnings; Remember the Titans; Dead Poet's Society; etc.), and even some documentaries (March of the Penguins; Super Size Me; Spellbound; etc.). Although I didn't agree with every selection (Jim Carrey's Grinch? No, thank you.), most got my hearty approval.
If you're looking for a holiday gift for your family or for a friend/co-worker who adores movies, you can stop searching. 101 Movies to See Before You Grow Up by Suzette Valle will make any film lover happy.
(Readalikes: Hm, I can't think of anything. Can you?)
If this were a movie (ha!), it would be rated:
for mild descriptions of violence
To the FTC, with love: I received a finished copy of 101 Movies to See Before You Grow Up from the generous folks at Quarto Books. Thank you!