You’ve eaten your hot dogs, doused your sparklers and gobbled down a slice or two of apple pie. Now, what are you going to do for the rest of the month, hmmm?
Well, streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu have some ideas about that. And while they certainly have plenty of offerings that we’d not recommend (plenty!), those outlets have just introduced a few new offerings that might—might—be suitable for you and yours. (Check our full reviews, of course, to make sure.) Let me offer a few possible family viewing options, now newly streaming.
Journey to the Center of the Earth (PG, 2008): For the record, I’m a little disappointed that we’re talking about the 2008 version starring Brendan Fraser, not the original, delightfully crazy 1959 flick with James Mason. Still, the Fraser version has its merits, according to Plugged In reviewer Lindy Keffer, who writes that this Journey “has some good things to say about the importance of male bonding, family-style.”
The Princess Diaries (G, 2001): For those who would eschew Journey to the Center of the Earth’s action and familial male bonding, The Princess Diaries may give your family movie night a more genteel, feminine touch. Not that the boys in your fam won’t enjoy this delightfully funny flick starring Oscar-winner Anne Hathaway and screen legend Julie Andrews. Our own Plugged In legend, Steve Isaac, wrote that The Princess Diaries harkens back “to a time when movies were meant to be enjoyed, not torn apart by critics looking for hidden meanings.” (Sure hope he wasn’t talking about me.)
Bolt (PG, 2008): You’ll have to wait ’til July 22 to see this clever animated tale (tail?) from Disney, but it might be worth it. In some ways, Bolt marks the understated beginning of a Disney animated renaissance in an age when stablemate Pixar was dominating the scene. Writes our own Bob Hoose, “Bolt and his brethren teach us about being heroic even when we don’t have muscles of steel or laser beam eyes. They demonstrate self-sacrificial friendship in the face of growl-worthy odds. And they share a tail-wagging need for a loving family, no matter how flea-bitten it may be.”
Victoria and Abdul (PG-13, 2017): Talk about a long wait, this Oscar-nominated historical dramedy won’t roll onto Hulu until July 30. Nor is this film exactly suitable, or riveting cinema, for the whole family. But for fans of history, or of Oscar-winner Dame Judy Dench, or if you’re parents who simply want to watch a nice movie together, Victoria and Abdul might just fit the bill. Plugged In liked the movie so much that it was nominated as one of their “Best Movies for Adults” earlier this year.