The leaves are falling, the air is a-chillin’, and pumpkins are grinning out their scraggly-toothed, candle-backed smiles. Yep, it’s October. And as we pull on our sweaters and reach for our rakes, we’re also making plans for those nights when we can gather the family together to enjoy a fun show or movie.
So what’s streaming on the big three for the fam? Is there something on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon that’s as sweet as the candy corn you’re longing to munch or as tangy and fresh as the cider you’re about to sip?
Well, there is indeed a huge bag of new movie apples being poured into the Netflix apple-bobbing tub. But frankly, the majority of them have a few too many content worms than we can recommend. But there is one fantasy the kids might want to bite into.
The NeverEnding Story (PG, 1984): This epic fantasy tells the tale of a bullied book-lover who comes upon a book that he simply can’t put down. And as this boy reads about a fantastic land that’s being consumed by an evil Nothing, he soon realizes that he’s somehow become an important key to that world’s salvation. Based on a popular novel of the same name, this pic can get a bit scary in parts for the youngest tykes and a little sad in others. And there’s also all the magical stuff underlying the world at its core. But when looked at with the right tilt of the head, it can be used to illustrate biblical ideas, too.
If you and the kids aren’t really looking for something quite that broadly fantastic, how about something that some might call out of this world instead? Over at Hulu, for instance, you can start streaming a sci-fi funhouse that’s aimed at Comic Con fans.
Galaxy Quest (PG, 1999) This swooping adventure/comedy winks at Star Trek and blasts a crew of former sci-fi series actors out of the makeup room and into the great unknown of outer space. If they can keep themselves from freaking out and play their roles well enough, hey, they just might be able to save the universe, too. Our Plugged In reviewer Bob Smithouser warned that “The dialogue is set on stun with a dozen TV-grade profanities.” But he also stated that for teens and up, there’s lots of comedy and noble themes in the mix and that viewers will definitely “find signs of intelligent life.”
If you’re tired of fiction or fantasy, how about a real world boxing tale designed for mom and dad in particular?
Cinderella Man (PG-13, 2005): This Ron Howard-directed pic tells the story of Irish-American boxer James J. Braddock. During the depression, this light heavyweight pugilist is forced to give up boxing after breaking his hand in the ring. It’s only through pure grit and perseverance that he’s able to fight his way back into the ring for a Cinderella finish. Plugged In reviewer Marcus Yoars warned viewers that they’re going to be hit by some realistic boxing ring smoking, drinking and profanity. But he also said the film was “powerful in its portrayal of family” and loaded “with both tear-jerking and heart-swelling moments.”
Of course, if you’re just looking for something that’s fun for both young and old alike, you know, something that never throws a single punch below the belt—unless you count belly laughs—then there’s always a little fun to be had at Amazon Prime and …
Shaun the Sheep (TV-G, 2009): With your Amazon Prime account you get access to five whole seasons of this Claymation comedy all about a little sheep who regularly turns country calm into chaos and calamity whenever the Farmer’s back is turned. This sheep and his shearling crew are a hoot and they don’t even have to make a sound.
Oh, and if you’re looking for a sports hero documentary about a guy who’s worthy of the hero mantle, Amazon has you covered there, too.
Tim Tebow: On A Mission (Not rated, 2012): This documentary throws the deep ball on Tim Tebow, the human version of the little engine who could. It focuses on Tebow’s leadership skills, his never-wavering drive through college and the pros and his unashamed testimony to faith in Christ. He’s one of those guys who you wouldn’t mind your kids looking up to.