Here we are in sticky August: the Dog Days of Summer. Few of us want to go charging about in the blazing heat of the day—especially if you’re wearing a fur coat and running around with no shoes. (Y’know, like a dog.) So as you follow Bowser indoors to lounge about in a bit of air-conditioned cool, how will you keep yourself busy? A family board game? A little web surfing? Some milk and cookies and a good book?
All serviceable choices. If Bowser insists on some TV time, though, you’ve got few growl-free options to choose from there, too.
This month on Netflix there are a number of pretty solid family choices.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (PG-13, 2001): This is the first of the Ring Trilogy, based on Tolkien’s classic novels. It’s packed with questing adventure, magic, some heavy hitting battle scenes, and an evil dark lord named Sauron. Oh, and hobbits, too. Obviously there are some elements to navigate and consider here, but if you and the (older) kids are cool with all that, it also offers plenty of heroic pluses and some underlying themes of faith. Or as Plugged In reviewer Bob Smithouser put it, “Tolkien’s novels reflect a distinctly Christian worldview, and although much is lost in their translation to the big screen, some of those themes come through loud and clear.”
And speaking of faith-focused themes and people setting off on quests, beginning on Aug. 16, Netflix will offer a Steve Carell comedy about a guy who gets some ark-building marching orders from God himself.
Evan Almighty (PG, 2007): Evan Baxter just wanted to go to Washington to change things for the better. But God has some world-changing plans in mind for him. Smithouser had some positive things to say about this pic, too. “Playful sight gags. Frisky animals. Whether real or CGI creations, the parade of leopards, camels, tigers, crocodiles, baboons and Kodiak bears is quite cool. But the movie also touches the heart with messages about family and religious faith that resonate because they contain an element of truth. Evan Almighty doesn’t pander to a demographic; it’s a labor of love by a filmmaker brimming with passion and religious sensitivity.”
Oh, and Amazon and Hulu have some solid family fare for you in August as well. Amazon features:
Hoosiers (PG, 1986): This high-flying sports pic tells the story of a failed college coach (played by Gene Hackman) who gets a chance at redemption when he’s hired to coach a small town, Indiana, high school basketball team. Our Plugged In review states: “Second chances. Teamwork. Faith. Discipline. Sobriety. Self-control. These and other life lessons make Hoosiers … worth recruiting.”
And if you’re in the mood for a classic western, you can’t get much better than this old Academy Award winner:
High Noon (PG, 1952): Gary Cooper stars as the stalwart Marshal Will Kane who’s about to retire to a new peaceful life with his lovely bride. But he has to push those desires aside to single-handedly protect his town from vicious outlaws set on revenge. There’s plenty of shoot-’em-up violence here. But this flick is all about good standing tall and pushing back against evil, no matter the cost.
On Hulu you’ve got a movie about another hero of sorts, only this one is short, pink and comes packing a curly tail instead of a six shooter.
Babe (G, 1995): It’s a talking animal movie. Now wait, this one is a really good talking animal movie. It tells the tale of a gentle farmer who wins a piglet named Babe at a county fair. But this little pig thinks of himself as more sheep dog than mere oinker. Now he just has to convince the sheep of that, too, and serve his master well. This film was nominated for a barnyard full of Academy Awards. And it is without a doubt a sweet movie about bravery and stick-to-itiveness that you and your litter will most likely love.