What’s Streaming for Families in December (2019)

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Mr. Popper's Penguins streaming

Christmas is here! Okay, not quite. But Christmas season is here. Cut down that tree, hang those pesky, tangled lights, whip up some chocolatey hot chocolate. Oh, and if the kids want to watch a movie or two, sit on down and take a look at a few of the flicks that just landed on the major streaming services for December.

Let’s start with Netflix.

The Secret Life of Pets 2 (PG, 2019): This sequel is all about the “secret” life of the pets that we love. You know, the life where they can talk and plan stuff. We find sweet messages here about bravery and courage, mixed with predictable potty humor and “gruffy” name calling. But the importance of friends and family in “an ever-changing world” barks far louder than those issues.

Lost in Space (PG, 2019): This 1960’s TV remake is rolling out its second season at the end of December and, though we haven’t seen it yet (and can’t vouch for it), we did watch Season One. What did we think about the first season, you might ask? Well, reviewer Paul Asay said that although it isn’t squeaky clean, it “seems to be an aspirational show, where the majority of folks are trying to do the best they can the best way they know how.” And for a show that focuses on family, that’s something “worth blasting off for.”

Then, there’s Amazon.

Bumblebee (PG-13, 2018): Here’s another Transformer movie. But  it’s not what you might expect if you’re familiar with the franchise. Whereas the previous films focused more on explosions, crude jokes and inappropriate language, this film is … nicer? It’s really a movie about a girl and her robot. And with that come heart-tugging, emotional moments that might make you sniffle. But while the storyline skews younger and, in many ways, sweeter, you can still expect some more-than-we’d-like mild violence and light language.

Aaaaaaand if you don’t have Netflix or Amazon, perhaps you could check out HBO.

Mr. Popper’s Penguins (PG, 2011): If you like trips to the zoo, this flick has plenty of wildlife featuring the goofy Jim Carrey and a bunch of adorable little birds. As an adaptation from the 1939 Newberry Honor book by Richard and Florence Atwater, the film certainly takes its contemporary liberties with bathroom humor and swearing. But when those icebergs are pushed aside, you’ll find, as Mr. Bob Hoose did, that Mr. Popper’s “emotional and relational growth, along with the realization that the world does not revolve around him are lessons that won’t leave penguin fans out in the cold.”

Pokémon Detective Pikachu (PG, 2019): Tim Goodman wanted to be a Pokémon trainer his entire life. But now he’s a young adult, and that’s just not realistic anymore—given that Pokémon themselves don’t exist. But what happens when the well-known Pokémon, Pikachu, comes to life? And starts wearing a Sherlock Holmes deerstalker hat?

This Poké tale is a combination of silly and endearing cuteness. The caffeine-addicted Pikachu, while crazy cute and charming, is still voiced by the witty, sometimes off-color Ryan Reynolds, so the dialogue can be a bit crude. Little ones may not understand all his jokes, but parents certainly will. Hoose says, ” “those negatives are never as off-putting as, say, a Weezing gas cloud, but they are a bit of Lickitung slobber that parents of young fans should be aware of.”

Who wrote this?

Kristin Smith is the most recent addition to the Plugged In team. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. When she's not writing or editing, she enjoys traveling the world with her husband, Eddy, and running through Colorado Springs’ Garden of the Gods. She loves coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan), and is eagerly awaiting the birth of her first baby, Judah.

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Anonymous 6 months ago
I don't mind any of the Lampoon movies really, but the only two I truly love are the original and my personal favorite guilty pleasure of mine Vegas Vacation. Europe and Christmas are both just okay to me with some truly funny moments in them but also way more stupid stuff than you'd expect, and frankly the least said about the Vacation remake featuring Clark's son the better.
[removed] 6 months ago
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The Mouse Of Non 6 months ago
Mine are (in order):
1. National Lampoons Christmas Vacation
2. Home Alone
3. Elf
Anonymous 6 months ago
My all-time favorite Christmas movies are The Santa Clause 1 and 3, Elf, Arthur Christmas, Rise of the Guardians, the Jim Carrey Grinch movie, Bad Santa 1 and 2, and all those Santa Buddies/Santa Paws movies, not to mention most of the various adaptations of A Christmas Carol (my favorites being the ones with Reginald Owens, Alistair Sim, George C. Scott, and Patrick Stewart, though I also quite like The Smurfs Christmas Carol and even the Flinstones one). My favorite tv Christmas specials are definitely Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer, The Year Without a Santa Clause, The Little Drummer Boy, The Life and Adventures of Santa Clause, The Story of the First Christmas Snow, Nestor, The Grinch, and Rudolph's Shiny New Year.