TV / Movie Reviews (sort of) …

Our family has a love/hate relationship with television and movies.

We love the storytelling of great movies and programs. We love the education that really great, well-thought and well-intentioned programs can offer : introduction to various cultures, reinforcement of positive values, insights into various human conditions, explorations of the world-at-large, etc…

However, we “hate” those programs and movies that offer our children the following: reinforcement of commercialization, violence, overly sexualized stimuli, negative stereotyping, relentless flashy stimuli (often found in cartoons), etc …

At first becoming parents, we were going to do away with television altogether – especially considering that even when we appreciate a program that is offered, we have no control over the commercials that are displayed. (Halis would love to have Isaac watch football with him – but the “boob & butt” / “T & A” commercials are ridiculous!) So, we opted for PBS (commercial free & educational) programming and movies that meet our approval. This seems to be working for us. However, it took alot of movie previewing to figure out which ones we would allow into our family! And we had to let go of some of our very favorite movies (i.e. Elf) when they did not meet our basic standards.

My parents and some friends picked on us a bit for being so careful and critical in deciding what our kids watch (we include Meg in this – thus the plural “kids”). But what you allow into your child’s brain & consciousness may have a profound effect on who they become, what their values are, and how they view the world. So, this is VERY important to us. Some may argue that we could do away with TV & movies altogether (I have read all those Waldorf articles) but we firmly believe in the benefits of great programming, and plan to use television as a positive tool (how could our son possibly grow up without having Mr. Rogers as his neighbor?).

As a result, we have come up with some very specific opinions on what is worth watching. And now I’d like to share our thoughts with you, with the idea that some of you may be as concerned as we are about what goes into our kids brains 🙂 Certainly, you may disagree with our opinions, as every family is different. I share our thoughts with you merely as a catalyst for discussion and not as a sermon. Your thoughts are most welcome!

Here are our faves:

“The Nice”:

Babe : our favorite movie of all. Frankly, there are too many reasons why. Just watch it 🙂

Sesame Street : love, community, diversity, education, respect, etc. We love almost everything Sesame related.

Secret of Roan Inish : ahhh … this movie has me believing in fairy tales! It is so refreshing. Great for showing kids that their family/ cultural history matters and is worth preserving.

Disney’s Cars: generosity & community will serve you better than narcissism and isolation. History is worth preserving. Folks from all walks of life can live together with respect and harmony.

The Little Bear Movie : such a gentle movie. Shows that we can learn much from one another’s differences.

Finding Nemo : a parents love can defeat all odds. We decide how our “handicaps” affect our abilities.

Ever After : (Meg) evil deeds beget negative consequences … and being true to yourself has its rewards.

Mr. Rogers : He likes you just the way you are because you are special and there is no one else like you. He loves the diversity of life and shows you things you might never see otherwise.

Dancing with the Stars : people learning to master something they never comprehended trying. Full of art, beauty and dedication.

Super Why : my 2.5 year old son is learning to recognize his letters & to solve personal trials through literature. Yes.

Nanny McPhee : talk to your kids. listen to your parents. respect one another. family comes first.

A Series of Unfortunate Events : siblings coming together to thwart evil & to protect one another — using their brains rather than violence.

Extreme Home Makeover : Thank God we don’t need their help. And Thank God they are helping others.

Whale Rider : Believe in yourself. Appreciate your culture. Seek to understand others. Participate in life. Honor your elders.

The Tigger Movie : Family is not necessarily created by blood … but by love. Great adoption film!

March of the Penguins : A beautiful and educational film that provides an amazing view of the life of penguins.

“The Naughty”:

Elf : was a fave of ours until we adopted a child. Terrible depiction of adoption. Makes a total mockery of adoption. Sad.

Hoodwinked : ultra flashy cartoon that would dizzy a race car driver & violence that is most unnecessary to the plot.

The Chronicles of Narnia : children fighting bloody battles? no thanks.

Shrek : all of them. Violent, highly sexualized, unnecessary adult innuendo.

SpongeBob SquarePants : Can someone please tell me what the value is in my child wasting a half-hour of his time with the program??? (How’s that for an opinion?)

Meet the Robinsons : Too much flash, not enough content … adoption messages are “iffy” at best.

So, there are the views of our family. We would love to hear about yours! Of course, our opinion is that “It’s A Wonderful Life” is the best movie ever made … and we are getting geared up to watch it several times this holiday season. Thank God for movies like this & for a television to watch them on 🙂



Jodi Renshaw

About Jodi Renshaw

Jodi is a homeschooling Mom, a photographer, a wife, and a proud resident of the city of Bangor. She spends part of her time working at a locally-owned shop in the downtown area, part of her time homeschooling her favorite young man, and most of her time behind a camera lens. She often writes about adoption, family life, homeschooling, and community.