In a recent online discussion, someone asks Internet users to name a film that is entertaining yet “not too violent.” Here are some of the suggestions.
1. Hook (1991)
This commenter loves Hook, saying, “It’s an imaginary world, so you don’t need to think hard. One of Robin Williams’s most memorable movies.” Hook has everything a family movie needs; fantasy, adults revisiting their youth, and fantastic action set pieces. Dustin Hoffman plays the titular role and almost steals the show.
2. Jo Jo Rabbit (2019)
Anyone who hasn’t seen Taika Waititi’s World War Two dramedy may enjoy its peculiar narrative idea. “It is much more than any preview shows,” claims a moviegoer. “It has comedy but dives way deeper once the plot takes hold.”
3. Logan Lucky (2017)
One commenter describes Steven Soderbergh’s movie thus: “A brilliantly written, family-focused, working-class heist comedy from Steven Soderbergh, starring Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Daniel Craig, and others.” I’m unsure if they plagiarized this synopsis from IMDb, but I will go with it. Some call this Ocean’s Seven-Eleven (Soderbergh directed Ocean’s Eleven, which is genius.)
4. Empire of the Sun (1987)
Steven Spielberg’s films are not usually violent (Schindler’s List is an outlier); the director has spent his career trying to make adults feel like children. “Empire of the Sun will definitely give you the family feels by the end,” shares a Speilberg fan. “Set in China, it follows the English civilian colonists in Shanghai who were captured by the Japanese during World War Two.” This film brought a young Christian Bale (12 at the time) to the world’s attention.
5. Stand By Me (1986)
Rob Reiner’s coming-of-age buddy movie will still tear middle-aged men’s eyes with its bittersweet bromance. After rumors of a dead body up in the forest circulate in a small Maine village, four best friends embark upon a macabre pilgrimage to catch a glimpse of the corpse, camping and sharing their innermost secrets.
6. Amores Perros (2000)
This high-quality Mexican drama by Alejandro González Iñárritu revolves around three tales of love and betrayal — and dogs. The title is a Spanish pun, translating as ‘Love gone to the dogs,’ and each mini-feature movie features dogs in some way. The film also heralds the beginning of Gael Garcia Bernal’s impressive acting career.
7. On Golden Pond (1981)
Henry Fonda and Katherine Hepburn give golden performances in their twilight for this heartfelt family drama. An aging couple who spend summers on Golden Pond, a lake in northern New England, find themselves caring for their estranged daughter’s new boyfriend’s son. Fonda is a grumpy old retiree raging at the world who finds himself changing with the new relationship, while Hepburn is the patient, weary wife trying to hold it all together.
8. The Firm (1993)
“The Firm,” suggests a John Grisham fan. “Great movie about lawyers; great book and story — as well as Tom Cruise.” Anyone reading novels in the ’90s must have picked up a Grisham. Many of his courtroom thriller books became movies, though The Firm is one of the most successful.
9. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
Co-directed by Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton, this road trip movie follows a dysfunctional New Mexico family’s exploits when the youngest family member, Olive, wins a place in a Californian beauty pageant. The cast is excellent in all departments, with Toni Collette’s hypertension-battered housewife dealing with characters such as a professor brother who wants to end his life, a Neitzche-reading mute teenage son, a deluded husband, and an unsavory father-in-law who is ‘coaching’ Olive to success.
10. The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001)
The Coen Brothers’ most underrated — and unknown — movie is a smooth, black-and-white film noir starring Billy Bob Thornton, Frances McDormand, and the late James Gandolfini. In a straightforward narrative, an introverted barber becomes embroiled in a murder connected to his wife’s lover. Thornton plays an emotionally stunted, silently despondent cuckold man in the background with understated brilliance — and who needs an excuse to watch masters like McDormand and Gandolfini at work?
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This article was first published and syndicated by The Cents of Money.