Summer’s technically a couple weeks away yet, but for most of us, we’re emotionally already there. School’s either out or kids are counting the days ’til it is. Parents are prepping for picnics, vacations, trips to the beach and hikes in the mountains. It’s a great time to reconnect as a family.
And sometimes, families reconnect by watching a movie together.
But is there anything really worth watching?
We’ve been critical of many shows on streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime before, of course. All you need to do is check out our reviews of 13 Reasons Why or The Handmaid’s Tale to understand why. But these services offer a broad array of entertainment options, and some of them aren’t that bad.
Be sure to check out Plugged In’s reviews of anything mentioned below to see if it’s right for you and yours. But after scouring lists as to what’s new this month on Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu in June, we have a few possible suggestions:
National Treasure (PG, 2004): This rip-roaring mystery/adventure starring Nicolas Cage earned plaudits from our reviewer Bob Smithouser, who said at the time that this movie suggests that “live-action PGs may no longer be limited to inane fodder that writes off anyone capable of long division.” Alas, we haven’t seen a large number of clean, fun, action adventures since National Treasure. But this one may fit the bill.
Tarzan (G, 1999): With Disney prepping to launch their own streaming service, Netflix is savoring the opportunity to roll with the Mouse House’s content while it can. While this film won’t be streaming until June 23, Plugged In’s Smithouser says it might be worth the wait: “It’s clear that Tarzan will charm viewers of all ages,” he writes.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi (PG-13, 2017): Netflix won’t unveil this polarizing chapter in the Star Wars saga until June 26. While parents should be aware of lots of talk about the Force and some violent moments, The Last Jedi still did land a Plugged In nomination last year as one of the best movies for teens.
The Lord of the Rings movies (PG-13): Listen, this Tolkien books-based film series can be really, really violent. And all of them are quite intense and, certainly, not made with younger children in mind. But chances are, if this sort of movie appeals to you, you’ve already seen Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King in all their powerful, resonant, heroic, Oscar-winning glory. Hulu is giving you a chance to see them again.
I Am David (PG, 2003): Twelve-year-old David has spent pretty much his entire life in A labor camp in the Soviet Union. But when he’s given a critical mission to deliver an important letter, he (with the help of a friend or two) escapes the camp and takes off on a sprawling adventure—one that eventually leads him back to his mother. Let me be honest: I had not heard about this film until it popped up on Amazon Prime’s queue, but Plugged In sure liked it back in the day. “It’s a beautiful thing when Hollywood takes a beloved work of fiction and turns it into something bigger and finer than it was,” writes Smithouser. “They’ve done so by allowing the noble heart of I Am David to shine through what could have been a dark, heavy tale.”
So there you have it—a few possibilities, at least, to consider watching with your family when the sun’s not shining (or shining a little too much). Again, don’t take these suggestions as blanket endorsements. But I might be watching (or re-watching) a couple of these myself.