Family Holiday Movie Rental Review Roundup

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So another holiday weekend has come and almost gone. We've hardly left the house in days. However I, being a wise and intelligent mom (this ain't my first rodeo...) visited the handy dandy Redbox nearest our home on Wednesday morning to procure us some Holiday Rental Delights.To save you some trouble, here's my extremely opinionated view of the movies we saw this weekend:

Green Lantern

Green Lantern - Okay, first, what's the big deal with Ryan Reynolds? He's cute, but do people really think he was more deserving than Bradley Cooper for People's ahemist man alive? Have you *seen* The A-Team? Oy. Speaking of which, saw it again on cable a few weeks ago and still highly recommend. It's clever, a little violent, but mostly funny. Okay for ages 10+.

But back to Green Lantern. No. On second thought. Don't go back to Green Lantern. ("Over Macho Grande?")

It just wasn't that good. The plot, ugh. There was this feeble attempt to make a strong female character by having her be a fighter pilot, but then the rest of the movie they kept putting her in 4" teeter-tottery heels and having her swoon on balconies waiting for her beau. Barf. The special effects were just uber cheesy to me. And it was definitely entirely too long. The kids found it scary in many parts (and these are kids who are not easily scared...they've watched all Star Wars movies, all Harry Potters, all Lord of the Rings, and were more scared by Green Lantern. Sigh.)

Karen Recommendation: Skip it (I'm glad we only spent $1 at Red Box on this one...)

Kid Recommendation: Too scary (ages 8 & 10)

Spy Kids 4

Next Up, Spy Kids 4, a true made-for-kids movie.

Courtesy of The Weinstein Co

This is a cute run in the Spy Kids universe, actually called Spy Kids All the Time in the World in 4D. The first movie was always the best, but this is a cute side tale with Jessica Alba playing a stepmother (who is actually the spy) to two kids who become Spy Kids. There's an awesome part for both Carmen and Juni from earlier SK movies (dang they grew up!) While I fiddled on my ipad most of the movie, it was certainly tolerable adult fare. Kids really enjoyed it. Funny automoton dog who poops out blasting ball bearings, perhaps the kids' favorite part.

Karen Recommendation: Go for it

Kid Recommendation: Two thumbs up

Ocean's Eleven

Thanksgiving night proper, we rented Ocean's Eleven via On Demand for $4. Yes, we watched it with our children, we're pretty horrible parents. ;) Actually, other than some swear words and cigar smoking and drinking, it's actually quite a tame movie. The kids really like whodunnit style movies with puzzles that you have to work to figure out (they've watched the movie Clue a dozen times, trying to anticiapte all the various possible outcomes or explain the puzzle. Which, fair warning, has quite a bit of raunchy stuff in it, though it's mostly veiled/referred to obliquely.) This is one of my all-time favorite movies and the kids thought it was pretty interesting, though the youngest was less enthralled. 

Karen Recommendation: Always love this movie

Kid Recommendation: Probably best for ages 10 & up, the 8 year old was a little less engaged

Super 8

The last movie we watched this weekend was Super 8, and it was by far the best movie we've seen in a long time, Harry Potter 7 parts 1 and 2 notwithstanding. It was definitely pretty scary, though. There were many cling-to-mommy/daddy moments, however both kids were totally engaged the whole time and the scary parts were tempered well. There were several surprising "snatchings" in the movie that were the primary cause of mommy-clinging. The main characters are really relatable for kids and it's really the kids' story, which is different from a lot of movies where kids have starring roles. Even Spy Kids 4, to a degree, isn't really the kids' story the way Super 8 is.

The violence/scary parts aren't particularly gory, and in several cases someone is "snatched" that later turns up alive (though some seem to meet untimely ends, too.) The story revolves around a boy creating a movie, using his Super 8 camera, but mostly it's about his friend who helps and the relationships this boy (the friend) creates in the course of a few days in early summer in the late 70s in an Ohio steel town.

I don't want to give too much of it away, but it's a fantastic movie, very interesting, and worth every penny of the $3.60 we ended up spending since we returned it late to redbox. ;)

Karen Recommendation: Highly recommend, even if you don't have kids

Kid Recommendation: Highly recommend, but keep a parent close for hiding eyes and/or clinging when needed.

Oh, and I absolutely adore Redbox.  While they don't have every movie ever made and there's sometimes delays on new releases, it's still a fantastic rental solution for the busy family. I'm a little tired of getting ripped for $6+ On Demand HD rentals that have poor playback quality. At least with a DVD I know what I'm getting.

So - what movies did you watch over the holiday weekend and would you recommend them?


I write on Suburban (In)sanity. I have two kids, two cats, two dogs, a husband and a minivan. I live in the suburbs now and try to stay sane. Some days, I succeed.


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