Chances are, you’ve already discovered that watching a movie with your adolescent can be an easy, relaxed way to get in some bonding time. Dr. Joy Browne is a nationally syndicated radio host, licensed clinical psychologist, author and movie critic. Your Teen spoke with the Dr. Joy Browne to get some of her picks for top family movies.
1. Planes: Fire & Rescue (G)
This animated Disney comedy-adventure features a crew of firefighting aircraft trying to protect a national park from a raging wildfire.
Dr. Joy Brown: “This is a great movie for teens and tweens, and smart enough for parents, too. It’s too scary for children under 10 because forest fires are truly frightening, but the dialogue is very clever and the movie has some great voice talent. It shows you how to fight a forest fire!”
2. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (PG-13)
Dr. Joy Browne: “This was really a fun movie. A little too brutal for kids under 10, but really a great sequel with provocative issues about class warfare, and survival. I’d say for kids 10-12 and above. Really fun.”
3. The Purge: Anarchy (R)
In a future America where all crime is legal, one night each year a group of people bands together to try to survive. Rated R for violence.
Dr. Joy Browne: “I want to see this movie, which is the second Purge movie. I went into it kicking and screaming, because I don’t like “women in peril” type movies that just victimize women, but I stuck it out. It’s all about class warfare and the role that violence plays in it. It is very violent, but surprisingly provocative (instead of gratuitous bloodshed).
I couldn’t shake the idea of “the haves” and “the have nots.” How do we find compassion? What role does violence play? The wealthy in society seem to be protected, but what control do poor people have? I found this movie entertaining because it pushed me to think in a new way. I was pleasantly surprised. Obviously for older teens.”
4. Deepsea Challenge 3D (PG)
This documentary by James Cameron traces his expedition to the deepest spot on the planet: the bottom of the Marianas Trench in the Pacific Ocean.
Dr. Joy Browne: “This is a wonderful movie for teens. James Cameron explored seven miles below the ocean in the Mariana Trench. In doing this, he put many people at risk. But the final product proves that he has an impressive talent to tell a story. The idea that the ocean is completely unexplored, especially the deep ocean, is fascinating and inspirational. I love movies that show young people that the world is still fascinating and unknown, and there are still things to explore.”
5. Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory (Not Rated)
This documentary follows a social worker, Dan Cohen, who uses music to combat dementia and memory loss.
Dr. Joy Browne: “This movie is about a social worker who decides that he going to access parts of brain through music—parts of the brain that may not be accessible otherwise. Remarkable footage of elderly nursing home patients, people who have lost all ability to function. Dan is able to wake them from being the living dead through music that was important to them in their youth. It was like a window into their souls. You watched them come alive through music. Very inspirational.”