Netflix: Top Picks for Moms and Families

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In my last Netflix Picks post, I mentioned that I was going to ask my tween daughter to review Mako Mermaids when she got back from overnight camp. Well, I have some good news and bad news. My daughter spent a month at Camp Walden where they have a strict screen-free policy. She came home very mellow and pretty disinterested in watching TV (the good news for me). As a result, she hasn’t watched Mako Mermaids (bad news for those wanting a review). We’ve watched a few movies, as a family and I’ve become hooked on 24.

24

With no more Homeland episodes, I turned my attention to 24 and I’m hooked. Lucky for me, Netflix is streaming all 8 seasons. The show premiered in November 2001. I never watched in 2001. I was busy getting married and having babies. I’m also not sure I would have been up for it right after 9/11.

I now have a new appreciation for Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer. He’s a pretty uncomplicated guy with a profound love of his country and what is morally right, even if it gets in the way of his family and personal relationships. Each season has 24 episodes and covers 24 hours in the life of Jack Bauer, an agent for the LA Counter Terrorist Unit (CTU).

The pace of each show is frantic, with music and sound effects pulsing in the background. You sense the urgency of each crisis and it is very hard not to stay up until 4 a.m. watching episode after episode. I’m half way through season 4 and so happy that I still have lots seasons in the hopper.

Akeelah and the Bee

Definitely a feel-good, family drama. Akeelah and the Bee is the story of an underprivileged African-American girl from south Los Angeles who goes on to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee. It’s a wonderful underdog story. My kids were cheering for Akeelah throughout, but also learned some lessons about how privileged they are.

 

Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief

My daughter has read all the books in the Percy Jackson series. She is now an expert on Greek and Roman gods. In anticipation of the release of Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters, we decided to watch The Lightning Thief to refresh our memories. My daughter loved the movie (though she annoyingly pointed out all the discrepancies with the book). My boys thought it was great, but I hope it does not dissuade them from reading the actual book.

I won’t sum up the plot, but essentially Percy Jackson is the demi-God son of Poseidon and in an adventure with many twists, turns and encounters with mythological gods and creatures, he sets out to return the lightning rod to Zeus. And did I mention, this all takes place in a contemporary setting in New York City?

The Illusionist

The Illusionist was my husband’s pick. None of us knew what to expect. The animation was absolutely incredible. The movie is the story of an illusionist (magician), a stage entertainer, whose career is eclipsed by the emergence of rock and roll musicians in the late 1950s. The movie starts in Paris and then the illusionist travels to England and Scotland, playing more and more obscure locales. There is a sense of melancholy throughout the movie. It was a true pleasure to watch something without sound effects and too much action. The whole family, including my 8 year-old boys, enjoyed the movie.

Knuckleball

I live with 3 baseball fanatics. One of my sons is obsessed with baseball and statistics. This documentary was not my first choice for family movie night. The film follows Tim Wakefield and R.A. Dickey, Major League Baseball’s only knuckleball pitchers. The movie follows the baseball players at the ballpark, on the road and at home with their families.

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About Author

Stephanie is co-founder and co-editor of Her Magazine. A graduate of Queen's University and The London School of Economics, she spent over 15 years in financial services marketing. Stephanie is a mom of 3, with a tween daughter and identical twin boys.

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