The Times' Family Movie Guide should be used as a supplemental reference for selecting movies suitable for children along with the Motion Picture Association of America rating system. Only films rated G, PG or PG-13 are included in this weekly listing along with occasional R-rated films that may have entertainment or educational value for older children with parental guidance.
Films are categorized as Recommended for family viewing, Recommended for family viewing with reservations and Not recommended for family viewing along with a description of content that led to that categorization. Films that may not hold the attention of children will be issued a restless alert of varying degrees. Parents should think twice about taking children to these films for their comfort and the comfort of other moviegoers.
Recommended for family viewing
Happily Ever After (G) _ Family-friendly sequel to the Walt Disney animated classic, but parents themselves may deserve a minor restless alert while they wait for the real McCoy later this summer.
Life with Mikey (PG) _ A couple of mild profanities, and young Christina Vidal plays a preteen con artist who picks pockets and constantly stretches the truth. Honesty wins out in the end, however, making this a suitable family movie selection.
Once Upon a Forest (G) _ Gentle fable with a subtle pro-environment message. A few minor frights for small children, but commendable cartoon entertainment for all ages.
The Sandlot (PG) _ Minor profanity, a gross (but funny) vomit scene and a few lightly scary moments for small children. The best family movie of the year so far.
Recommended for family viewing, with reservations
The Adventures of Huck Finn (PG) _ Profanity, mature themes (child abuse and racial prejudice) and a teen hero who smokes a pipe, skips school and scams his way through life. Restless alert. Ages 10 and older.
Aladdin (G) _ Mature themes if you can pick them out of Robin Williams' manic genie rap.
Benny & Joon (PG) _ Harsh profanity, sexual content (nothing shown,) mature themes (mental illness, adult romance) and mild violence. Mild restless alert, but Johnny Depp's sweet performance may keep children entranced. Ages 14 and older.
Cop and a Half (PG) _ Mild violence and profanity gross-out humor, and the villains are drug dealers. Good lessons in cooperation and respect for law enforcement.
Dave (PG-13) _ Profanity, sexual content, brief rear nudity. Mature themes (government corruption, political gamesmanship). Minor restless alert.
Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story (PG-13) _ Bloody kung fu violence in numerous scenes, profanity, sexual content and brief sexuality. Scary dream sequences too intense for small children. Ages 12 and older.
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (PG) _ Exaggerated violence that kids shouldn't try at home, alone or otherwise. Mild profanity. Urban frights possibly too intense for small children.
Hot Shots! Part Deux (PG-13) _ Harsh profanity, brief nudity and numerous sexual situations played for sophomoric laughs. Bloodless violence, but enough bullets fly to justify an on-screen body count ticker as one of the gags. Parents will squirm between the chuckles.
Jurassic Park (PG-13) _ Terrifying child-in-jeopardy violence (fear of electrocution and being ripped apart by T-Rex and his friends) and dino-deaths without gore, but filmed with intensity; a few mild profanities; mature themes (playing God with science, greed vs. responsibility, environmental issues); ages 10 and over, but the realistic dinosaurs can give anyone nightmares.
Last Action Hero (PG-13) _ Nearly non-stop violence including countless car crashes and thousands of bullet rounds sprayed to a fairly bloodless effect; notable child-in-jeopardy terror; numerous profanities, including a couple by 12-year-old star Austin O'Brien; scantily clad women; mature themes (Why does all of this violent mayhem look so fun?)
Lost in Yonkers (PG) _ Mature themes (dysfunctional families, adult romance, trying to steal from Grandma). Nothing truly objectionable in the screen version of Neil Simon's Pulitzer Prize-winning play except his insistance that all these family feuds are funny. Restless alert.
Super Mario Bros. (PG) _ Video-game violence (fireballs, explosions) and Three Stooges-style slapstick; mild sexual innuendoes; scary reptilian creatures and icky special effects that may scare small children. Other children will wonder why their Nintendo version at home isn't as loud, frightening and frantic. Ages 6 and older.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3: The Turtles Are Back in Time (PG) _ Bloodless martial arts violence that children love to imitate on the furniture or each other.
Not recommended for family viewing
Made in America (PG-13) _ Sexual situations, harsh profanity, nudity, adult themes (artificial insemination, masturbation jokes, interracial love affairs). Children love Whoopi Goldberg, but children will need courses in biology and sociology to get the jokes. Restless alert. Ages 15 and older.