I’ve become a little obsessed with borrowing DVDs from the library. Given there are now multiple ways to watch (and pay for) any given movie or TV show, free movies feels like a coup.
The “problem” is that you have to dig into the catalog and search for older movies. Of course, this isn’t a problem at all. Sure, your kids may initially balk at older movies, but five minutes after you hit Play they’ll be hooked.
Here are nine movies and one TV series to kick off your summer family movie nights. All have an important message to impart or a tricky situation to explore later in conversation.
The age listings are based on the ratings of Common Sense Media (my go-to for family movie advice). They’re a bit high (I’d let my 10 year-old watch any of these movies), but your mileage may vary. Apply the gut test as necessary.
(I’ve also noted the options that are available for free via Amazon Prime Instant Video. Netflix users: if you see anything here that’s available on Netflix Streaming, please give a heads-up in the comments.)
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If your local library doesn’t carry these titles, don’t be afraid to ask your neighbors. One of my favorite ways to go DVD “shopping” is to look through my neighbors’ collections for movies we haven’t seen. We all happily swap movies and stories, and we sometimes end up watching together. Without school nights to worry about, it’s a lot easier to be spontaneous. And isn’t that one of the greatest pleasures of summer?
Asha Dornfest is the publisher of Parent Hacks and the co-author of Minimalist Parenting: Enjoy Modern Family Life More By Doing Less.