1. Archive


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 categorizing.

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

Little Giants (PG) _ Rick Moranis (today's most dutiful "dad" actor) leads a pee-wee football team of nerds and misfits against the polished warriors of Ed O'Neill, representing everything that's wrong with youth sports. Only two minor curse words, and the violence is primarily limited to slapstick ouchs on the football field. No sex or nudity, although a budding crush between Moranis' daughter and the hunk quarterback for whom she blocks is sweetly portrayed. Still too many crotch-and-flatulance jokes for many tastes, but Little Giants has some good messages about overcoming odds and fears behind its sports-movie cliches. At least it doesn't feel as heartlessly contrived as Rookie of the Year or Little Big League.

Recommended for family

viewing, with reservations

Only You (PG) _ Norman Jewison's latest romantic comedy in his Moonstruck mode is a throwback to the fluffy films that used to star Audrey Hepburn or Doris Day in the 1950s and 1960s. That means no sex (although there are a couple of light innuendoes), no nudity or violence, and only a smattering of minor profanity. But Robert Downey Jr. and Marisa Tomei are well past their potential as pin-ups and Jewison's film has a delicate pace that will appeal only to the most lovestricken adolescents. Recommended for ages 12 and older.

Radioland Murders (PG) _ Hyperactive 1930's comedy that may grab some childrens' attention with its eager slapstick and comic muggings. No sex, although extramarital affairs figure into the murder mystery in a Chicago radio station. Profanity is mild, and violence is minimal and fairly bloodless for a movie with a body count of six. One totally unnecessary flash of a topless female for a cheap laugh _ one of the few times we've seen such skin in a PG-rated movie. Recommended for ages 10 and older.

Quiz Show (PG-13) _ A sprinkling of profanity is the only objectionable material in Robert Redford's superb recollection of the television game-show scandals of the 1950s. Younger viewers won't be very interested by the corrupt machinations, however, so a major restless alert is in order. Recommended for ages 13 and older.

The River Wild (PG-13) _ Most of the violence in this whitewater-rafting adventure is bloodless, but director Curtis Hanson creates tension that may be disturbing to younger viewers, especially since some of the danger is aimed squarely at 11-year-old Joseph Mazzello (Jurassic Park). Hints of sexual threat to star/hero Meryl Streep, but nothing happens in that respect. Numerous profanities (an "f" word). Recommended for ages 13 and older.

The Scout (PG-13) _ Not much baseball on display in director Michael Ritchie's film, which leaves star/co-writer Albert Brooks' high sarcasm in its place. Most kids won't get his jokes. Violence is limited to a couple of minor scuffles, and sex is discussed only once, after Brendan Fraser's kooky-pitcher character has a date. Occasional profanity befitting a major-league locker room (including one totally unnecessary "f" word). Too talky for most Little Leaguers after a promising goofy start. Cameos by real ballplayers such as Ozzie Smith and Bret Saberhagen may keep them interested. Recommended for ages 12 and older.

Terminal Velocity (PG-13) _ Plenty of violence in this skydiving spy caper, although the damage is displayed more by crashing glass and thudding fists than bloody wounds. The usual profanity for such a mindless action flick (including one "f" word). Recommended for ages 13 and older.

Not recommended

for family viewing

Love Affair (PG-13) _ Want to watch your tykes squirm for nearly two hours? Take them along for Love Affair, a major restless alert remake of a remake of a weepy 1937 film that only a mother and father could love. No violence to report (although the movie could use some kind of excitement on occasion) and no nudity. Profanity is on the mild side except for one "f" word that would seem tastelessly gratuitous if if didn't come from the legendary mouth of Katharine Hepburn. No sex, but real-life marrieds and co-stars Warren Beatty and Annete Bening share a palpable mutual sex appeal, and intimations of a tryst between their characters are strong.