May is a big month for pop culture fans. For instance, did you know that May the 4th is a celebrated day for Star Wars fans? Yep! Say it out loud and you’ll understand why. And here’s a fun fact: blue jeans were officially invented in May of 1873.
Sorry, there’s not a single Star Wars or blue jeans movie on the list of streaming newbies this month. What we do have is a nice little hodgepodge of pics that’ll satisfy just about everybody in your family who’s looking for a couple hours of entertainment. So, slip into some comfy jeans and a Star Wars t-shirt and enjoy.
Forrest Gump (PG-13, 1994):
It’s the story of a child-like and slow-witted guy named Forrest who impacts the world around him in incredible ways. But one person Forrest cares about the most may be the most difficult to save—his childhood love, the sweet but troubled Jenny. Their romance makes for some content trouble in this PG-13 rated pic in the form of some language and sensuality, but as our Paul Asay noted, “In a storm of sin and trouble, Forrest sits in an eye of innocence. And most of the ick we see here serves as a worldly counterpoint to Forrest’s own simple ‘righteousness.’”
This is a sweet and compelling flick.
Soul Surfer (PG, 2011):
AnnaSophia Robb stars as Bethany Hamilton, a talented young surfer who had her arm bitten off by a shark and, somehow, returned to surf again. Also featuring Helen Hunt and Dennis Quaid, Soul Surfer is a moving biopic that tells a riveting story with an undercurrent of faith. Our Steven Isaac noted that, “Thanks to her amazing courage and determination, and the supportive love of friends and family—and God—Bethany is thriving once more. And in many ways she’s able to embrace more people with one arm than she ever could have with two.”
The Lake House (PG, 2006):
A lonely doctor, who once lived in a beautiful lakeside home, falls in love via letters with its latest resident. But then the two potential lovebirds realize that they are somehow, mysteriously living two years apart. Plugged In’s Bob Smithouser liked this pic and said: “Tenderness. Selflessness. Restraint. It’s nice to see those virtues on the big screen again.”
Rugrats Go Wild (PG, 2003):
Cartoon kids from the Nick shows Rugrats and The Wild Thornberrys join up for an island-exploring adventure. OK, this may just look like a studio attempt to toss together some popular kid shows in a convoluted plot. And it kinda is. But it’s also surprisingly fun, too. Plugged In’s Loren Eaton noted: “Though much of its humor is at a 5- to 6-year-old sophistication level, clever homages to Titanic, The Crocodile Hunter, The Perfect Storm, Gilligan’s Island, The Swiss Family Robinson and Star Wars mean parents won’t be pulling their hair out from boredom halfway through.”
The Wild Thornberrys Movie (PG, 2002):
World-traveling documentary filmmakers Nigel and Marianne Thornberry head off with their family to Africa to record an amazing elephant migration. And along the way 12-year old Eliza meets a mysterious shaman who grants her the power to talk to animals … which could come in handy. Our guest reviewer Jesse Florea summed things up with: “The Wild Thornberrys certainly get in some sticky situations. But families who want to brave the underbrush and go on a safari with them will find quality things to enjoy as well.”
Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius (G, 2001):
Simply put, this pic tells the story of a 10-year-old boy and his robot dog who battle evil, rescue his parents and save the Earth—all while returning home in time for dinner. The CGI may look a bit dated these days, but as our review noted: “Young moviegoers will also learn that a little guy can accomplish big things and that anything is possible if you put your mind to it.”
Pearl Harbor (PG-13, 2001):
This movie, based on historical events, follows American boyhood friends as they enter World War II as pilots. Plugged In’s Tom Neven praised it for several its historical and story aspects—particularly the fact that the film doesn’t graft “21st-century morality [onto] 1941.” But he did warn moms and dads that some torpedoes lurk here in the form of profanity and alcohol use.
A League of Their Own (PG, 1992):
World War II sent all the guys off to war, so a new group of talented female athletes step up to fill the void on the baseball field. This pic—starring Tom Hanks and Geena Davis—sports a great, heart-warming team. Lots of fun and a few tears, too.
American Underdog (PG, 2021):
It’s the inspirational true story of Kurt Warner, who went from a stockboy at a grocery store to a two-time NFL MVP, Super Bowl champion, and Hall of Fame quarterback. There’s a smattering of foul language. But our Adam Holz called it a “underdog story for the ages” that doesn’t shy away from the faith of its subjects. (Note: This one is only available to rent for $5.99 at the moment.)
The Big Year (PG, 2011):
Three guys come to a (mid-life, late-life and no-life) crisis in respective their lives and set off on a North America crisscrossing quest to count more species of birds than anyone else. Our Paul Asay noted: “Previews for The Big Year might lead you to believe that the movie’s little more than a bird-brained farce—Dirty Rotten Scoundrels with plumage. But even with its smattering of profanity and alcohol-infused scenes, it’s actually kinder and gentler than that. And it’s a great deal more redemptive as it wrestles with the importance of pursuing your dreams … and ponders the relational cost of doing so.”
Despicable Me 2 (PG, 2013):
After turning from crime to take care of his three adopted daughters, the once despicable Gru is having a hard time finding a job. But then he’s called in to do something unbelievable: become a bad guy-catching hero. As I mentioned in my review, this sequel is once again a lot of charming fun. But I also warned that you’ll be encountering: “androgynous cross-dressing jests and naked minion backsides, gaseous gags and poo-poo giggles.” Not exactly despicable content, but still stuff to be aware of.
Still Alice (PG-13, 2015):
This stirring film, featuring Julianne Moore, tells the story of a renowned linguistics professor who slowly loses her memory due to early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. This isn’t one for the kids, but it’s a thoughtful and moving film that will help adult viewers realize that “Even in the face of devastating loss, true love endures, it stands by us, it comforts and it protects.” Bring tissues. And maybe someone you love.