Surfing the Net with Kids: Family Movie Reviews

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Surfing the Net with Kids: Family Movie Reviews

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Surfing the Net with Kids


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July 25, 2001

Dear Reader,

I’m a little behind schedule today, so I’ll dispense with
the usual chatter, and we’ll jump right into:

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Family Movie Reviews

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Today’s topic strays from my usual assortment of sites for kids of all ages; these site selections are for parents in charge of summertime movie and video selection. If you’ve ever wondered which PG-13 movies were appropriate for your kids, or why a certain movie (with no sexual references) was rated R, then these movie reviews are for you! Popcorn, anyone?

Film Reviews for Responsible Parents


Dr. Arthur Taussig is a film professor at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, California. He’s written over 900 film reviews, with an emphasis on “the information parents care about: violence, language, religious issues, sexuality and so on.” If you’re looking for a current movie, head directly to Recent Reviews. There you’ll find a mixture of film and video reviews, but I found all the summer movies covered. In addition to in-depth discussion of how sensitive topics are handled in the film, Dr. Taussig categorizes the movie’s appropriateness for six age groups (from under four to seventeen) which is very helpful when trying to find a family movie that will please everyone.

Grading the Movies, Music & Games


As implied in the site title, each movie is graded (on a scale from A to F) in five categories: Overall (a grade that rates the artistic merits of the film); Violence; Sexual Content; Language; Drugs and Alcohol. The best feature here is the section titled “Talking about the movie with your family” at the bottom of the review page. Check it out for interesting topics to discuss over an after-movie ice cream. “In the movie ‘Cats & Dogs’ Professor Brody struggles to spend time with his son. Besides being busy with his research, why do you think he felt awkward playing sports with his son?”



With kids-in-mind, this site summarizes a movie’s appropriateness with three numerical ratings (ranging from 1 to 10) for Sex, Violence and Profanity. For example, “Artificial Intelligence” was awarded a 3.5.2 which translates to a 3 for Sex, 5 for Violence and 2 for Profanity. Reasons for each rating are described in detail, and the review concludes with a short list of single-word discussion topics and a concluding message: ” Life, whether mechanoid or humanoid, is not worth living without love.”

Movie Mom


Nell Minow is Movie Mom, and she awards check marks for artistic merit. One check means “Really awful, almost impossible to sit through or particularly offensive” while five checks is “One of the all-time greats — don’t miss it!” In addition to her merit rating, Movie Mom offers a suggested minimum viewing age and evaluates the movie in five areas of parental concern: Profanity, Nudity/Sexual References, Alcohol/Drug Abuse, Violence/Scariness, and Tolerance/Diversity Issues. More great clicks are Movie Mom’s “Thoughts on TV and Videos for Foster Parents” and “Guide to Family Movie Watching.”

Screen It


Screen It reviews are written by a husband and wife team who’ve been at this since 1996. Each movie is quantified (from Mild to Extreme) in fifteen areas of parental concern including a few unique ones such as Smoking and Jump Scenes (those surprises that make you jump out your seat.) In addition to the parental review, Screen It provides a critique of the film’s artistic value on a separate page titled “Our Take,” and links to the movie’s user ratings at the Internet Movie Database ( .

Surfing the Calendar

Family Feud Premieres
Jul 12, 1976
Disneyland Opens
Jul 17, 1955
Man Walks on the Moon
Jul 20, 1969
Amelia Earhart’s Birthday
Jul 24, 1897

More Calendar

Related Book
(in association with

The Movie Mom's Guide to Family Movies


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Copyright © 2001 Barbara J. Feldman

Surfing the Net with Kids

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