Hey, it’s March! And Spring is about to start sprouting in a plot of ground near you soon. But beyond that, did you know that March is national nutrition month? Or that each year, March and June end on the same day of the week? Or how about this: Did you know that the name March comes from the Roman god of war, Mars; and in Mandarin Chinese the month is called sanyuè?
Well, now you do.
So, let me tell you something else about March … as in some family friendly fare that’ll be streaming this month that you might like to check out.
Batman Begins (PG-13, 2005): It all begins here. At least the Christian Bale and Christopher Nolan version of the hero’s story does, anyway. It tells of how a young Bruce Wayne travels to the far East to find the training he needs to be a bat-costumed hero who’ll fight against crime with brain and brawn. Our Bob Smithouser reviewed the pic and its star like this: “Christian Bale is perfectly cast as the caped crusader. He has the presence, dry wit and smoldering intensity to make Bruce Wayne believable, whether he’s being tormented by personal demons, assuming the role of spoiled playboy, creating his cowled alter-ego or taking out the bad guys with brute force.”
Two Week’s Notice (PG-13, 2002): A dedicated female environmental lawyer goes to work for a male billionaire who starts relying on her for everything in his life—so much so, in fact, that she decides to leave him and his legal matters behind. But she starts to realize that there’s more between them than just business. Romance abounds. Bob Smithouser noted that the film is slightly marred by “sexual repartee and a preachy, left-leaning social agenda,” but he also mentioned that, “I don’t feel I’m compromising my manhood to admit that I enjoy fresh, funny romantic comedies.”
The BFG (PG, 2016): A young girl has an adventure of a lifetime when she meets a big friendly giant. Adam Holz put it this way: “Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of this Roald Dahl children’s classic is a delightfully tender story contrasted with the specter of a rather macabre fate: children being eaten by giants. Thankfully, the fairy-tale proceedings here deliver much more of the former and just a hint of the latter.”
Dolphin Tale (PG, 2011): A young dolphin gets caught in a trap and severely damages her tail. Even though she’s rescued and named Winter, it’ll almost take a miracle for her to survive. And a dedicated few are determined to make that miracle happen. In my review, I stated that, “Dolphin Tale is one of those simple stories that’s more than you might expect. This satisfying, sometimes teary tale—based on and starring the real Winter—is comfortably delivered by a handful of seasoned actors and a couple of young fresh faces.”
The Forbidden Kingdom (PG-13 2008): In the mood for a little martial arts fantasy with a blend of Jackie Chan and Jet Li fighting style? This might be the roundhouse kick you’re looking for. In it, an American teenager finds a magic relic that transports him back in time. Our Paul Asay noted: “Despite the occasional crass behavior and muddy religious current that runs through this film, I can’t help but appreciate its fast action, beautiful scenery and nice little life lessons squirreled in between the fight scenes.”
Ice Age: Dawn of Dinosaurs (PG, 2009): After Sid the sloth pilfers some dinosaur eggs, Manny the mammoth and Diego the saber-toothed tiger run to the rescue and find themselves in a mysterious, underground world filled with dinosaurs. In my review, I was a fan. “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs has a bit of that flotsam floating in its stream of banter, and some fur gets matted with a touch of sap by the time we reach the conclusion. But as Manny might put it, there’s plenty here to trumpet.”
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (PG, 1982): Steven Spielberg’s mega-hit about a boy and his visiting alien buddy. Big family favorite. Tissues required.
Back to the Future (PG, 1985): A small-town California teen named Marty McFly is thrown back into the ’50s when an experiment by his eccentric scientist friend goes wrong. It can get crass and surprisingly sexual at times, but you’ll find lots of sci-fi classic adventure with a very PG-friendly feel.
Gnomeo & Juliet(G, 2011): A Shakespeare classic told through the eyesight of garden gnomes. You know, it’s for kids. Here’s what I said about it: “As forced as the idea for this flick may sound—and the movie’s trailers look—Gnomeo & Juliet has a lot of pottery-clinking playfulness going for it. In true Toy Story fashion, the gnomes can only come to life when people aren’t watching. And that definitely adds some smiles when human passersby happen to glance in the direction of the suddenly frozen feuders. The downside? A bit of toilet humor that could easily have been pruned.”
Big Hero 6: The Series (Season 2): From 2014 Disney hit to kids’ cartoon, this tale continues the adventures of 14-year-old tech genius Hiro Hamada and his compassionate robot Baymax. Our Kristin Smith said, “Aimed at kiddos ages 7 and up, Big Hero 6: The Series sometimes includes a bit of name calling, elementary-style jokes, explosions and mildly frightening bad guys. But that’s more than balanced with moral lessons, friendship, love and the truth about what it means to be a hero.”
You might also want to stay tuned to Disney+ for the release of the new series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier that releases on March 19. Check Plugged In for a full review.
Driving Miss Daisy (PG, 1989): This classic starring Morgan Freeman and Jessica Tandy tells of and an elderly widow named Miss Daisy who’s determined to maintain her independence. However, when she crashes her car, her son arranges for her to have a chauffeur, an African-American driver named Hoke. Hoke helps Miss Daisy see the world through different eyes. “In today’s cynical, youth-obsessed culture, teens can learn a lot while being entertained by Driving Miss Daisy. They may even walk away with a deeper appreciation for the frustrating symptoms of aging impacting their elders. A terrific motion picture ripe for family discussion,” said our Bob Smithouser.
Finding Neverland (PG, 2004): This well-made pic reveals the real relationships and events that served as the basis for author J.M. Barrie’s most iconic work, Peter Pan. Plugged In’s Rhonda Handlon praised the sweet film: “Finding Neverland does a masterful job of illuminating the creative process. Real-life events are grasped by Barrie’s imagination and brightly translated into scenes of fantasy.”
Rocky Balboa (PG, 2006): Yep, it’s another sequel about that boxer named Rocky. But in this one he’s now long retired but yearning to recapture a bit of his glory days. Our Adam Holtz noted: “The movie suffers from some language problems, and its focus on (sometimes bloody) boxing violence will surely drive away those who think the sport really isn’t one. But it still qualifies as one of the most redemptive films of the year.”