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St. Paul, Minn. —
Movies about Families
1. Meet Me in Saint Louis – The film family into which I would most want to be adopted. Judy Garland and her turn-of-the-century clan celebrate Christmas, go to parties and ride the trolley around St. Louis. There is no dramatic plot, but who cares because they have a great script, Vincent Minelli directing and Judy singing "The Trolley Song."
2. Secrets and Lies – British director Mike Leigh’s funny, suspenseful and bitter look at contemporary English family life.
3. Grey Gardens – This 1975 documentary by the Maysles brothers (who also made Gimme Shelter) tells the story of a family that cuts itself off from the world. Mother and daughter Edith Bouvier Beale and Edith Bouvier Beale Junior will make you laugh, but they’ll also make you really uncomfortable and sad.
4. You Can Count on Me – An estranged sister and brother reunite. Makes it plain that life is complicated and there’s no replacing those that have known you all your life.
5. The Snapper – The 20 year-old daughter of an extended Irish family gets pregnant and won’t reveal who the father is. The movie is a wry and warm comedy and makes disfunctionality look fun.
MOVIES FOR FAMILIES
1. School of Rock – Jack Black teaches a group of school kids to rock out! The music is actually good and the kids aren’t cutesy. It’s just plain fun. Plus, the filmmakers spare us superfluous romance.
2. Nicolas Nickleby - Chaotic, charming adaptation of the Dickens classic. The hammy acting will appeal to kids and adults alike.
3. Arsenic and Old Lace – Like Some Like it Hot, this goofy classic can still charm adults and children. Yes, they are murderers in the movie, but they’re really sweet murderers.
4. Bad News Bears – It’s a little rougher than today’s kids movies. There’s swearing, alcoholism and a little bit of raciness…but I loved it as a kid and I loved it a few years ago as an adult. They’re remaking it, and will no doubt clean it all up and take away its charm.
5. Spellbound – A documentary about the kids who enter spelling bees and their families. Yes, it’s about spelling, but it’s also about the diversity of American life.