Here we are, beginning the ninth month of 2021. Can you believe it? Phew, turn around and it’ll be time to set up the Christmas decorations again. But before we get to that point, we should make sure we slow down a bit and enjoy what’s left of the year. Head to the park with the kids. Watch a little football together. Or how about a nice family film?
With that in mind, let’s see if we can dig up a few new family-friendly entries on the streaming scene in September.
Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles (PG, 2001): Mick Dundee, the famed croc-hunter from down under, faces his strangest, most daring challenge yet: he journeys to that bizarre netherworld known as Los Angeles. Our Steve Isaac gave this pic a smile, suggesting that “[Star Paul] Hogan and crew slather the film with sly winks and chuckles about American pop culture.” And without a lot of extra content that could well ruin a G’day, mate.
Freedom Writers (PG-13, 2007): A dedicated teacher in a racially divided Los Angeles school has a class of at-risk teenagers deemed incapable of learning. But she determines to use unconventional means and inspire her students to take an interest in their education and help them plan for their future. Plugged In’s Marcus Yoars warns of some profanities and bloodiness that detract from the rough-edged story, but that doesn’t diminisha tale that is “a remarkable adventure that encompasses sacrifice, determination, fearlessness and hope.”
Letters to Juliet (PG, 2010): While visiting Verona, a young woman named Sophie visits a wall where the heartbroken leave notes to Shakespeare’s tragic heroine, Juliet Capulet. Finding one such letter from 1957, Sophie decides to write to its now elderly author. Our Paul Asay highly praised this film but for one caveat: “The film is as pretty as a painting, as inviting as a walk in the peach orchards. Messy? Life in this imagined Italy is perfect—almost too perfect. Except, of course, when it comes to a sadly contemporary view of sex before marriage.” That aspect will likely make this far more As You Like It for an older audience.
Daddy Day Care (PG, 2003): With help from a friend, an unemployed dad named Charlie decides to start a daycare center. This Eddie Murphy pic is probably one of the cleanest movies the comic star has ever made. Plugged In’s Loren Eaton still warned that the film’s “scatological jokes and a fair amount of easily imitatable violence” might keep you from enrolling little viewers in this particular daycare. But she gave it a thumbs up for driving home a number of worthwhile family points.
The Alamo (PG-13, 2005): In 1836, Gen. Sam Houston organized a rebel army to liberate Texas from the brutal rule of a Mexican dictator. The legendary general and his men prepare for a final heroic standoff at a battle-worn mission called the Alamo. Plugged In’s Tom Neven tells us of the few rough edges to this film. But he went on to say: “None of this warts-and-all storytelling detracts from the men’s heroism in battle. Rather than being plaster saints, they’re real, believable characters. If parents of older teens are willing to navigate some of the violence, The Alamo can serve as a fine discussion-starter about flawed humanity, bravery in battle, the courage of one’s convictions and the fruits of arrogance and folly.”
The Karate Kid (PG, 2010): A quarter-century after Mr. Miyagi schooled Daniel LaRusso in the ways of “wax on, wax off,” a new version of the Karate Kid tells the story of a bullied boy who learns martial arts from a maintenance man who is also a martial-arts master. Our Adam Holz like this re-do with the light warning that, “this new Karate Kid’s kung fu scenes are in fact amped up. And the same can be said of the story’s spiritual content.”
Lady in the Water (PG-13, 2006): When the superintendent of a Philadelphia apartment complex rescues a strange young woman from danger, little does he know that she’s actually a character from a bedtime story who is trying to return to her world. “What makes more of an impression in this lightweight yet strangely shadowy fable is the way it tangles itself up in established tales of fairies and sirens and nymphs,” Tom Neven noted. And he said it had “great messages about heroism and seeing the potential in everyone while steadfastly countering evil.”
Meet Me in St. Louis (1944): This classic MGM romantic comedy musical stars Judy Garland as one of four sisters eager to experience the 1904 World’s Fair. Great songs. Fabulous costumes. Super dance numbers. And all in glorious Technicolor. If you haven’t seen this one, gather the crew. And if you have, get the popcorn ready for a memory-lane stroll.
That’s Entertainment! (G, 1974): And here’s another movie you won’t want to miss. This is a star-studded retrospective that includes more than 100 classic segments compiled from dozens of MGM’s most popular song-and-dance numbers and featuring a cavalcade of musical stars of the past. If you’ve never been a big fan of musicals, this collection will make you one with its sometimes literally incredible footage.