What’s New and Streaming for Families In May (2019)

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streaming May NIMH

May flowers. May Day. Maypole. May I please have another?

May is one of those wonderful months that fills us with thoughts of renewal and fresh springy goodness. We go to festivals in the park, work in the garden and take bike rides in the soft sunshine in May. Things that’ll keep us outside and basking in the blossoming nature.

On that occasional rainy spring day when you’re not thinking about grabbing an umbrella and taking a nice walk through the dewy grass, though, you might just wonder what you can watch with the fam on the telly. So what’s streaming in May that’ll be as light and cheery as the season around us?

Netflix

Along with all the blooming perennials, let’s start our list with a perennial favorite sports pic.

Hoosiers (PG, 1986) A failed college coach gets a chance at redemption when he is hired by an Indiana high school to head up the basketball program. After the team’s star player quits to focus on his long-neglected studies, the coach struggles to develop a winning team in the face of community criticism for his temper and his unconventional choice of assistant coach.

This film, starring Oscar-winner Gene Hackman, is a winner itself on a number of fronts and explores everything from the folly of exalting athletes too highly to the power of believing in someone and the strength of a father/son bond. Plugged In’s Bob Smithouser said of the pic: “Hoosiers is almost perfect. There are a few mild profanities. On-court fisticuffs break out, but only in the context of players sticking up for each other. Most families will find these minor drawbacks worth navigating for the net benefits of an outstanding character study.”

For those who want their heroes in spandex, how about a few seasons of a fun-and-friendly superhero TV show? And with this next one, the streaming might just zip quickly past.

The Flash Young Barry Allen, in his day job as a Central City crime scene investigator, is known for two things: his steady, deliberate mind and always being late. But that was before Central City’s particle accelerator blew up during a fierce thunderstorm. Barry was struck by a bolt of physics-defying lightning that rebooted the perpetually tardy guy into a real speedster. He becomes a super-fast guy who not only investigates crimes but becomes a hero determined to stop crime in its tracks. Our own Paul Asay has said that “this show feels positively old-fashioned at times, a place where unabashedly good heroes battle nefariously villainous villains. Sure, maybe Barry experiences the occasional moment of self-doubt or deals with a moral quandary or two. But … there’s no tortured soul lurking inside that red hero’s outfit of his, no simmering gothic ennui. This guy’s a hero without an asterisk, a Central City denizen who is as good as they come.”

This next possible movie choice from Netflix isn’t exactly about a magical season of sunshine and spring flowers, but as our review of it says: “Is any season as magical as Christmas?”

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (PG, 2018) A young girl is presented with a long golden string by her godfather at an annual holiday party that leads her to a special key—a key to a gift her late mother once gave her. But that key is in a mysterious parallel kingdom, and the string leads the girl into this magical world. There she must brave the ominous Fourth Realm (home to the tyrant Mother Ginger), retrieve her key and hopefully return harmony to the unstable world.

Plugged In’s Adam Holz said, “Disney’s latest offers a rollicking adventure, an admirable young heroine, and solid messages about growing in courage, conviction and confidence.”

HBO Now

We haven’t mentioned HBO much when it comes to suggestions for family friendly programming (wonder why that is …), but if you have that service, there are several pics we can point out this May.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader (PG-2011) In the further adventures in C.S. Lewis’ fantasy adventure, Lucy, Edmund, and their cousin Eustace encounter merfolk, dragons, dwarves, and a wandering band of lost warriors. They join Prince Caspian for a voyage on the majestic royal vessel known as The Dawn Treader, and as the edge of the world draws near, their remarkable adventure at sea sails toward an exciting, yet uncertain, conclusion. This is a film of faith, adventure and child-endearing action. Reviewer Paul Asay put it this way: “For two hours, I was engrossed in a land I loved as a child and still love today. I was called into a magical world and I once again felt Aslan tugging at my heart. He wasn’t in my backyard, but it was the next best thing.”

My Dog Skip (PG, 2000) The year is 1942. Willie Morris is a kid with a good heart, but he relates better to books than to his peers. Picked on by bullies and ignored by everyone else, Willie has one pal, Dink Jenkins, the town’s star athlete. Soon, Dink leaves to fight overseas in World War II. Enter Skip, a tenacious terrier pup who helps Willie explore life beyond his social tethers. This family pic has solid lessons about loyalty, redemption, racial injustice, patriotism, nonviolence and stereotyping. Or as reviewer Bob Smithouser put it: “When pro-family film critics sit down to compile their Top 10 of 2000, expect the unanimous inclusion of My Dog Skip.”

OK, so if you don’t have HBO, how about a couple May-worthy, carefree selections from Amazon Prime and Hulu?

Amazon Prime

The Secret of NIMH (G, 1982) Adapted from Robert C. O’Brien’s acclaimed children’s book Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of N.I.M.H., the film focuses on a widowed mouse whose home is threatened; also, one of her children is gravely ill. On her way to find help, she discovers NIMH, a secret society of highly-intelligent rats who escaped from a nearby science lab. The rats help the widow to protect her family and home. Director Don Bluth led an exodus of animators from Walt Disney Productions in the ’80s, and this was their first full feature in the old Disney tradition. Christian Science Monitor reviewer David Sterritt said of the beautifully animated film: “Aside from its title, there’s no secret about it: The Secret of NIMH is exciting, engaging, and often magnificent to look at.”

Hulu

The Time Machine (PG-13, 2002) A brilliant scientist, desperate to undo the tragic death of his fiancée, invents a time machine in 1903. Fruitless attempts to change the past inspire him to seek answers in the future. After brief stops in 2030 and 2037, he’s hurtled forward 800,000 years where he befriends natives fighting to survive ferocious beasts. This is a fun pic for those who like a broad sci-fi adventure in their May viewing schedule. Plugged In’s Bob Smithouser said that “the movie raises issues of conformity, guilt, and deciding when it’s appropriate to accept one’s fate and when it’s better to fight it. The Time Machine isn’t a great film, but it’s likable, especially for its restraint.”

Who wrote this?

Bob Hoose is a senior associate editor for Plugged In, a producer/writer for Focus on the Family’s Adventures in Odyssey, a writer of plays and musicals and one-half of the former comedy/drama duo Custer & Hoose. He is a husband, father of three and a relatively new granddad.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Anonymous 9 months ago
I really don't enjoy the Voyage of the Dawn Treader as much as the first two. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is the my favorite because it's the closest to the book, and I think closer to the way C.S. Lewis envisioned Narnia. I wish they would make a movie of the Horse and His Boy or Magician's Nephew.
                by EmmaBibliophile
charitysplace 9 months ago
Netflix purchased the rights to Narnia, and intend to make a series / string of movie adaptations of them. (If they do as well in adapting them as they did with Lemony Snicket, I'll be delighted.)
Anonymous 9 months ago
I hope they are good if they really do make them. I heard it fell through, but that may be a rumor. 
      - Emma Bibliophile
Anonymous 9 months ago
Hey I read that same article! It was on Comic Book Resources a while back.

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 9 months ago
I have been binging The Flash and Supergirl for the first time over the last few months. I'm almost done with Season One of Supergirl and Season Two of The Flash. Supergirl has been pretty clean so far (almost to the Wrold's Finest episode which I know will be my favorite.) still going to watch the whole thing even though I will have to filter the gay relationship in Season 2. The Flash is better but sometimes a little less clean. Both are definately enjoyable nerdy superhero shows. The current Season of the Flash looks pretty awesome and I can't wait to catch up.

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 9 months ago
My mom watches the flash. She says its good.
   EmmaBibliophile
Anonymous 9 months ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

I used to really enjoy watching Supergirl, but towards the beginning of season 2 it got too left leaning for my taste. I did not watch her episode during the Elseworlds crossover last year and I'm glad I didn't!
Anonymous 9 months ago
I would ask why, but I would get it spoiled to me. I'm hoping once you get past the Gay relationship in Season 2 there isn't anything super bad.

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Karl The Klown 9 months ago
Haha! Haven't seen Hoosiers in years. Gene Hackman was brilliant in that.

Dawn Treader, on the other-hand, was obnoxiously bad. By far the worst of the mediocre Narnia movies 
Anonymous 9 months ago
Hoosiers was great! I enjoyed the Narnia movies when I was younger. I have distaste for The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe as that was the one we owned and watched way too much. Prince Caspian was my favorite of them, but the series all in all is mediocre.

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 9 months ago

My opinion:

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe: One of the best children's books ever written, movie was simply fantastic as well.

Prince Caspian: book stunk, movie slightly better but not by much.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: book stunk, movie was absolutely phenomenal. Basically a Sunday School lesson with adventure.

Really wish they would make movies out of The Magician's Nephew and The Last Battle, my two favorite books besides the first one.

Anonymous 9 months ago
The books did not stink! If you don't believe me check out the focus on the family radio of narnia because it is just like the book an phenomenal. C.S. Lewis has really great fiction.

Anonymous 9 months ago
Really, Karl, I really did think that Dawn Treader was terrible. My family and I love the book, but the movie did not live up to it.
Karl The Klown 9 months ago
Agreed. The book was far superior to the film. 
And that goes for  Caspian and LWW as well
Anonymous 9 months ago
The book is always better. I agree. I sometimes just forget to say that.

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 8 months ago
Some Guy, whoever you are, they DID change the drive of the plot in Dawn Treader! I remember watching and thinking, "Rats, they ruined all my favorite parts." Except maybe the last scene with Aslan. I liked that part.
     -Emma Bibliophile
Anonymous 8 months ago
Nothing will top the first film in my opinion, but Dawn Treader definitely came the closest. From Eustace being a dragon, Lucy almost not existing because she didn't think she was as important as Susan, to the whole banquet of dead kings and the awesome final lines by Aslan, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader was simply fantastic from start to finish, a miracle considering how boring the book is, lol.
Anonymous 8 months ago
And yes in my opinion some of the Narnia books are indeed boring as heck. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe is excellent, The Magician's Nephew is a lot of fun, and The Last Battle is quite emotional at times, but I'm sorry Prince Caspian and Dawn Treader are just bland books from start to finish, and the less said about The Horse and His Boy and The Silver Chair the better. I'm a huge childrens book fan, but some of those Narnia ones are just pure torture to get through. Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, The Phantom Tollbooth, The Wind in the Willows, The Prince and the Pauper, The Neverending Story, Tom Sawyer, just about anything by Dr. Seuss, Where the Wild Things Are, The Leaf Men, all those books are superior to say Dawn Treader or Caspian in my opinion.
Anonymous 8 months ago
Reepiceep rules. I love him almost as much as I loved the beavers. He looked so real. 
I actually enjoyed the book, (which is my opinion, you are welcome to yours) Especially the first few lines, which my siblings and I can quote:
"There was once a boy named Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it His parents called him Euctace and his teachers called him Scrubb. I cannot tell you what his friends called him, for he had none." 
 The movie doesn't have the opening sentences. Obviously, but it made me sad. 
 - Emma Bibliophile