Can My Kids Watch This Movie? Family Movie Guidance...For Parents.

Our parent movie reviews let you know which new releases to take your kids to and which ones you may want to hold off on. This week of Oct. 31, 2014 (Happy Halloween!), the only new films opening in theaters are rated R, and we won't be reviewing them for Popcorn Parents. Instead, we'll be linking to our reviews of films already released that you shouldn't miss. Next week, we'll be back with our regular review schedule. 

Opened Oct. 17: Family Review of The Book of Life

TheBookOfLife ChesapeakeFamilyMovieReviewRating: PG

Beautifully animated and charmingly constructed, 'The Book of Life' fantastically honors the Mexican Day of the Dead. There's a lot going on here, but it's one of this year's best children's movies......Read More





Opened Oct. 10: Family Review of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

AlexanderandtheTerribleHorribleNoGoodVeryBadDay ChesapeakeFamilyMovieReviewRating: PG

Children's book 'Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day' gets the Disney treatment with this big-screen adaptation. The film veers away from the source material quite a bit, but it has a likeable charm that goes down easy..........Read More



Opened Oct. 3: Family Review of Tracks

Tracks ChesapeakeFamilyMovieReviewRating: PG-13

Australian drama 'Tracks' retells the story of Robyn Davidson, a young woman who attempted to walk across the continent alone. The adaptation takes some frustrating Hollywood shortcuts, but for the most part it is engrossing and impactful..........Read More 



Interested in another previously released film? Read our reviews of films already showing in your local theater.

Our parent movie reviews let you know which new releases to take your kids to and which ones you may want to hold off on.


23Blast ChesapeakeFamilyMovieReviewKernel Rating (out of 5): whole-popcorn-kernalwhole-popcorn-kernalhalf-popcorn-kernal

MPAA Rating: PG-13       Length: 98 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 12+. The film is rated PG-13 for some underage drinking, but it's not depicted in any kind of positive way; it's presented as a bad choice and one that shouldn't be made. Also some kissing and some football-related violence, like pushes, shoves, tackles, and the like.

The second football-centered and Christianity-focused film of this year, '23 Blast' tells the story of a high school player who unexpectedly went blind overnight but persevered thanks to his faith and his family. It's almost overbearingly earnest, but it's gently inspirational enough for family viewing.

By Roxana Hadadi

On the surface, "23 Blast" and August's "When the Game Stands Tall" are fairly comparable movies: both about high school football teams, both told from a Christian point of view, both extolling the benefits of faith and family instead of typical teenage behavior, like partying, underage drinking, or superficial romantic relationships. But while "When the Game Stands Tall" was glossy and glitzy in terms of production and almost overwhelming in terms of religion, "23 Blast" is a clearly lower budget, gentler film. Its modesty is its most charming quality, even when the story hits all the inspirational notes you would expect.


TheBestOfMe ChesapeakeFamilyMovieReviewKernel Rating (out of 5): whole-popcorn-kernal

MPAA Rating: PG-13        Length: 118 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 14+. A fairly typical adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel: lots of romantic stuff, teenage and adult makeout sessions, constant male shirtlessness, a few sex scenes, and a pregnant high schooler; some cursing; a rough family who drinks, deals drugs, and is emotionally and physically abusive; and some violence, including some beatings and deaths. So much melodrama!

'The Best of Me' is yet another overwrought Nicholas Sparks adaptation, all about tragic love, bad romantic timing, and Southern class warfare. It would simply be typically silly if not for the final twist, which pushes it into egregiously horrendous territory.

By Roxana Hadadi

Does Nicholas Sparks actually believe in happiness? At this point, nine of the author's novels have been turned into films, and they practically all include fatal illnesses, untimely deaths, tragic romance, cruel parents, dire socioeconomic differences, and, of course, love (mostly) lost. Of his most recent adaptations, "Dear John" had a dying husband; "The Last Song" had a dying father and class differences; "The Lucky One" had a bad military experience and an abusive husband; "Safe Haven" had an abusive husband and ghosts (yes, ghosts); and his latest, "The Best of Me," has a dying father figure, class differences, and an abusive husband. It's like a game of cliched plot bingo, and we're all losers.


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