Entertainment Weekly

Subscribe

Stay Connected

Subscribe

Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content

Article

A Parents' Guide to Summer Movies

What to let the kids watch, what not to

Posted on

A Parents’ Guide to Summer Movies

The summer movie season is heating up and, hey, it’s a jungle out there. The Lion King roared into theaters in June, and will likely be the Line King until Labor Day. Also prowling the screens now are a Wolf and some two-legged predators: robbers (Getting Even With Dad), kidnappers (Baby’s Day Out), and — scariest of all — a baseball team owner (Little Big League). But this summer, The Lion King reigns.

BABY’S DAY OUT
*What It’s About: Nine-month-old Bink (played by twins Adam Robert Worton and Jacob Joseph Worton) escapes kidnappers and spends an adventure-filled day crawling around the big city.
*Will Kids Want to Watch It? Six- to 10-year-olds will probably laugh at the injuries that befall the bad guys.
*MPAA: PG.
*Sex/Nudity: None.
*Drugs/Alcohol: None.
*Violence/ Scariness: The bumbling crooks constantly get hurt, a la Home Alone.
*Objectionable Words/Phrases: Two.
*Mature Themes: Never trust strangers with your child.
*Appropriate Ages: 6 and up.

CITY SLICKERS II: THE LEGEND OF CURLY’S GOLD
*What It’s About: Yuppie Mitch Robbins (Billy Crystal) heads out West again, joined by brother Glenn (Jon Lovitz) and buddy Phil (Daniel Stern); they meet up with the late Curly’s twin, Duke (Jack Palance), to seek gold in them thar hills.
*Will Kids Want to Watch It? It’s doubtful. Although the movie is chock-full of juvenile humor, kids won’t be interested in the characters’ middle-age angst or their male bonding.
*MPAA: PG-13.
*Sex/Nudity: Mitch and his wife (Patricia Wettig) make love under the covers.
*Drugs/ Alcohol: None.
*Violence/Scariness: Two men steal a treasure map at gunpoint; a gunfight over the gold.
*Objectionable Words/Phrases: About 55.
*Mature Themes: The journey is more important than the destination; good friends will do anything for each other.
*Appropriate Ages: 10 and up.

GETTING EVEN WITH DAD
*What It’s About: Timmy (Macaulay Culkin) blackmails his long-lost father, ex-con Ray (Ted Danson), into spending a week with him.
*Will Kids Want to Watch It? Odds are against it. It’s criminal the way the filmmakers have turned this into a dysfunctional Three Men and an Adolescent.
*MPAA: PG.
*Sex/Nudity: None.
*Drugs/Alcohol: Ray and his partners drink beer at a bar; Ray toasts with cop Theresa (Glenne Headly).
*Violence/Scariness: Slapstick.
*Objectionable Words/Phrases: About 20.
*Mature Themes: Adults often underestimate children; kids should be the most important thing in their parents’ lives.
*Appropriate Ages: 8 and up.

THE LION KING
*What It’s About: Simba, a young lion cub, is forced to grow up and take his place as heir to the throne after his father, Mufasa (voiced by James Earl Jones), is killed.
*Will Kids Want to Watch It? Yes, the animation is beautiful, the story is emotional and meaningful, and this instant Disney classic is paws-down the family film of the summer.
*MPAA: G.
*Sex/Nudity: None.
*Drugs/Alcohol: None.
*Violence/Scariness: Mufasa is murdered by his evil brother, Scar (Jeremy Irons); a stampede of wildebeests; lions and hyenas fight.
*Objectionable Words/Phrases: Two.
*Mature Themes: We must all accept our place in the circle of life; listen to your parents.
*Appropriate Ages: 4 and up.

LITTLE BIG LEAGUE
*What It’s About: Twelve-year-old Billy Heywood (Luke Edwards) inherits the Minnesota Twins from his grandfather (Jason Robards).
*Will Kids Want to Watch It? It should be a hit with the boys (and some girls) of summer, who will eat up the baseball lore, trivia, and cameos by major league stars (Ken Griffey Jr., Paul O’Neill).
*MPAA: PG.
*Sex/Nudity: Billy watches a raunchy movie on his hotel TV.
*Drugs/Alcohol: None.
*Violence/Scariness: Very young children may be upset by Billy’s grandfather’s funeral.
*Objectionable Words/Phrases: About 15.
*Mature Themes: It’s not easy being the boss; people should be judged on their ability, not their age; kids need to be kids.
*Appropriate Ages: 8 and up.

RENAISSANCE MAN
*What It’s About: After being fired, ad executive Bill Rago (Danny DeVito) takes a job teaching Army recruits.
*Will Kids Want to Watch It? Sir, no sir. It’s an old sappy story, not done particularly well; kids will think they’re back in school, listening to a lecture.
*MPAA: PG-13.
*Sex/Nudity: None.
*Drugs/Alcohol: None.
*Violence/Scariness: None.
*Objectionable Words/Phrases: About 65.
*Mature Themes: Teachers and students can learn from each other; you need brains as well as brawn to succeed; anything is more important when you’ve earned it.
*Appropriate Ages: 10 and up.

SPEED
*What It’s About: The excellent adventures of L.A. cop Jack Traven (Keanu Reeves) as he tries to defuse a psychotic bomber (Dennis Hopper).
*Will Kids Want to Watch It? Yes. They’ll be driven wild by its nonstop energy, and although it is violent, it’s more action-packed than gore-drenched.
*MPAA: R.
*Sex/Nudity: None.
*Drugs/Alcohol: Police officers toast to two heroes.
*Violence/Scariness: Explosions, shootings, and a decapitation.
*Objectionable Words/Phrases: About 90.
*Mature Themes: In emergencies, people have to work together.
*Appropriate Ages: 12 and up.

WOLF
*What It’s About: A wolf bite brings out the animal in New York City book editor Will Randall (Jack Nicholson).
*Will Kids Want to Watch It? Kids love werewolf movies, but this one is more of an adult drama; they won’t care about the love story or appreciate the dead-on satire of the backbiting that goes on in the corporate world.
*MPAA: R.
*Sex/Nudity: Will and his wife (Kate Nelligan) fool around on the couch; Will and his girlfriend (Michelle Pfeiffer) make love under the covers.
*Drugs/Alcohol: Champagne flows at a publishing party; Will washes down his red meat dinner with wine.
*Violence/Scariness: Some graphic violence via Will and his protege (James Spader).
*Objectionable Words/Phrases: About 35.
*Mature Themes: It’s a wolf-eat-wolf world; no matter what happens, you have to remain true to yourself.
*Appropriate Ages: 16 and up.

WYATT EARP
*What It’s About: The adventures of the legendary lawman (Kevin Costner), presented in an epic style.
*Will Kids Want to Watch It? Yawn. Epic is a fancy way of saying, ”very long.”
*MPAA: PG-13.
*Sex/Nudity: Wyatt and his girlfriend (Joanna Going) make love under blankets.
*Drugs/Alcohol: Lots of beer and whiskey drinking in saloons.
*Violence/Scariness: Wyatt’s dad (Gene Hackman) teaches him to ”hit to kill,” so for 3 hours and 10 minutes, bullets fly from Dodge City to Tombstone to the O.K. Corral.
*Objectionable Words/Phrases: About 60.
*Mature Themes: There comes a time when you have to decide which side you’re on; it’s easy to manipulate the law when you are the law.
*Appropriate Ages: 12 and up.

Comments