Movie Nights – 25 movies for parents and teens

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I recently came across a book that I have to recommend. It is called Movie Nights: 25 Movies to Spark spiritual Discussions With Your Teen by Bob Smithouser. If I could change one thing in the title it would be to make “spiritual” into “spirited”, but that is me. The book does get a little into scriptures and such which many might like; I just skipped over those areas. The movies discussed are movies that both teens and adults will love and the type that will definitely spark discussion. It was actually described in one review as “This book will help you ‘Connect with your teens through Hollywood'”.

There are discussion questions and activities suggested for each movie. Also given are summaries, themes, stars and the movies rating. This is the list of movies included in the book:
  1. Apollo 13 – I can watch this over and over
  2. Chariots of Fire
  3. The Count of Monte Cristo
  4. Ever After
  5. Fiddler on the Roof
  6. Galaxy Quest – much better than I ever would have thought
  7. Groundhog Day – Bill Murray’s best
  8. Hoosiers
  9. It’s a Wonderful Life
  10. A Knight’s Tale
  11. Life is Beautiful
  12. Little Women
  13. The Mission
  14. Mr. Holland’s Opus
  15. October Sky – A very young Jake Gyllenhaal
  16. The Princess Bride – A teen classic
  17. Quiz Show
  18. Remember the Titans
  19. Searching for Bobby Fischer
  20. Sense and Sensibility – One of my favorite movies ever!
  21. Sergeant York
  22. Shadowlands>
  23. To Kill a Mockingbird
  24. The Truman Show – Family watched this together and loved it
  25. Unbreakable

See also:
15 Halloween Movies for Teens
75 Classic Movies Teens Should See! 

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  1. A knight’s Tale is a real family favorite around here.

    I think I’m going to check out this book. There are some good movies here for discussion.

  2. LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL is an excellent movie! At first, I thought that I wouldn’t like it, but quickly found that I love it with it’s comedy and drama during the war.

    Life Is Beautiful Review

  3. Thanks Jennifer. With the holidays approaching it will be handy to have the list instead of our usual aimless wandering around the video the store or red box.

    Some of my all time favorites are listed and I had forgotten them.

    I can not believe Spaceballs the Movie didn’t make the cut.

  4. My 18-year-old saw a clip of “Chariots of Fire” and burst out laughing, then said, “So THAT’S where that geeky song comes from!” Yes, NOT Vangelis at his best. In fact, check out:

    “Blade Runner” – The set design IS the film.

    Many of your films are for more serious boys, or for girls. Here’s my (short) list for more offbeat guys and cool girls:

    For your ’80’s fix: Repo Man, Buckaroo Banzai, Desperately Seeking Susan, Sid & Nancy, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. For the younger crowd: War Games, Parenthood, White Fang, The Corpse Bride.

    More mature themes: Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet, Dangerous Minds, JFK, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Kill Bill (Vol. 1 & 2), The Wedding Singer, Big Daddy, Clueless.

    My kid LOVED “The Holiday” more than I did (Kate Winslet, Jack Black, Cameron Diaz)!

    Sports Fans: The Natural, Field of Dreams, Bull Durham, Eight Men Out (older kids).

    For those into costume dramas: (I like Sense & Sensibility but my kid could not watch it!): Avalon (GREAT film by Barry Levinson w/young Elijah Wood), The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, A Room With a View, My Brilliant Career, Finding Neverland, Sleepy Hollow (LOTS of gore along w/costumes, so keep the little ones away!).

    Older kids/young adults:

    Blow (Johnny Depp as real life drug smuggler, George Jung). SMASHING!

    Lost in Translation (THIS is Bill Murray’s best, IMO). Scarlett J. will be enjoyed by the boys.

    A River Runs Through It (GREAT father-son bonding…not in the film, but in RL, after they finish sobbing!).

    Bye, Bye, Love – Matthew Modine, Randy Quaid and Paul Reiser, Janeane Garofolo & their kids negotiate the nasty world of divorce.

    When a Man Loves a Woman and Leaving Las Vegas–be prepared for harrowing scenes of drunkenness and in the latter, rape. Stunning performances, however.

    The Shawshank Redemption MUST be seen at least a couple times in one’s life!

    For laughs: Sleeper, by Woody Allen.
    Young Frankenstein, and of course, ALL the Monty Python films (My fave: The Meaning of Life).

    If your kid is as quirky as mine, he’ll also love TV shows like “Psych” and “Monk”–they’re on DVD now.

  5. Thanks for all your great suggestions. I agree with most and many are favorites of mine.

    Just to make it clear, the movies listed above were not my suggestions. They were the movies recommended in the book that I recommended. So I obviously approved of many of the movies, but I did not make the list myself.

  6. Whoops! I should have read more carefully. Thanks for posting this, and your comments about my choices. Now if my kid will only stay home long enough to actually WATCH a movie! P

  7. Hello! As a teenager reading this list I can say that the movies suit a very specific taste, and majority of teenagers will not find these movies interesting, exciting or relatable. For example ”The perks of being a wallflower” has a very widespread audience among teenagers and sheds light on the harshness of the world. It is very relatable among adolescents without seeming silly or over-the-top.

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