We do love movies at our house and watch plenty. Here are my favorites from 2011. . . .
Nacho Libre (2006 PG) - Typical Jack Black hilarity. A silly movie about "Nacho" who was orphaned as a boy and grew up in the monastery where he now serves as the monastery cook. He has always desired to be a famous wrestler, and begins secretly going out to wrestle in the local wrestling club where he hopes to win fame and fortune and the heart of his love (a very beautiful young nun who has recently arrived at the monastery). Our whole family enjoyed this movie!
The King's Speech (2010 R) - Has anyone not heard of this movie? Story of King George VI who came suddenly and unexpectedly to the throne when his elder brother abdicated in order to marry Wallis Simpson. This was particularly daunting for George as he had struggled with a severe stutter his entire life. This movie chronicles him overcoming that stutter. I love Helena Bonham Carter as his wife, Queen Elizabeth (that's the Queen Mom - current Queen Elizabeth II's mother). Rated R for language and LOTS of it, but within the context it is acceptable. If you trust your older children not to repeat the bad language that was part of King George's therapy, it would be a great movie for them to watch.
Cold Comfort Farm (1995 PG) - 1930's England is the setting for this drama-comedy about a young woman who goes to stay on a family-owned "farm" (more like a boarding house) where she is the lead caretaker. The Farm is inhabited by a cast of oddball characters which makes for a lot of craziness. Based on a 1932 book by Stella Gibbons of the same name. The cast is phenomenal: Kate Beckinsale, Ian McKellan, Joanna Lumley, Eileen Atkins, Stephen Fry, and loads more faces you'll recognize. Older teens might enjoy this, but for some reason I seem to remember one scene of drug use (marijuana), but can't find it mentioned in any of the reviews, so maybe I mis-remember!
Stone of Destiny (2008 - PG) - Set in early 1950s. True story of four young men who plot to steal the Scottish "Stone of Scone" from the British to return it to its rightful place in Scotland. Funny story and great history. Great family movie! Kids should enjoy the excitement of the boys plotting to steal the stone.
Opa! (2005 - PG-13, very brief nudity and some language) I'd let my kids watch this although I don't think they'd be all that interested. The nudity is not in a sexual context (we see a man's tush as he jumps in the water to go swimming). Stars Matthew Modine, whose acting is outshined by his co-star Agni Scott. Story is about an archeologist who comes to the Greek island of Patmos in search of a legendary artifact. In the course of his search he meets and falls in love with a Greek young woman who runs a local eatery. A sweet romance and comedy.
Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002 - PG) - In the 1930s aboriginal children were systematically removed from their homes and placed in training schools all across Australia. This is the story of two sisters and a cousin who escape from their school and head home on foot across the Outback. Kenneth Brannagh stars.
The Syrian Bride (2004 - NR, but I'd say PG) - A family drama and a political one. Thankfully the political didn't drown out the family. This is the story of a Druze family on the Israeli side of the Israeli-Syrian border whose daughter is marrying a young man on the Syrian side. Due to complicated politics, once she crosses the border to marry her new husband, she will never be able to return home to her family, so the marriage is very bittersweet. Funny, sad, educational.
Serenity (but only if you've watched the Firefly TV series) - :) If you watch Firefly, you get it...if not no amount of explanation can adequately describe. If you haven't watched Firefly - DO! It is still on Netflix streaming, I believe.
A Summer in Genoa (2008 - R) - Colin Firth stars in this movie about a newly widowed man and his two daughters who travel to Genoa for a summer. The father has been asked to come work in the university. While there they begin to heal after their mother's sudden death in a car crash. A slow movie, so if that isn't something you can tolerate, this might not be the movie for you.
The Way Back (2010 - PG-13) - a group of WWII Siberian labor camp escapees attempt to reach freedom. They travel through Siberia, Gobi Desert, and the Himalayas on foot. Fantastic scenery. Rated PG-13, but we would have no qualms about letting our 12 and 15 year old watch this. One bit of raunchiness (men in the labor camp drawing nude pictures of women) at the very beginning and a very little bit of language, but other than that a very clean movie.
The Lion in Winter (2003 - Not Rated, made for TV, but definitely PG-13 for some brief nudity and one scene with frank sexual language) - Glen Close, Patrick Stewart - remake of 1968 movie which was based on the 1966 Broadway play) - A fictional story based on King Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Set during a fictional Christmas Court during which King Henry is trying to determine who will succeed him. Fantastic acting, as you'd expect from the stars.
Housewife, 49 (2006 - Not Rated, made for TV - PG just due to the subject matter) - a British movie set in WW2 England. Follows a housewife from the start of the war to the end. She begins working in a women's auxiliary (to support the war effort) which, over time, gives her confidence in herself. True story based on a diary kept by the main character.
That Thing You Do (1996- PG) - Tom Hanks wrote, directed, and starred in this sweet movie about a group of young musicians who make it to the "big time" in the 1960's. Great family movie! Barely rated PG, in my opinion. Erik and I had seen this before, but watched it again with our kids who loved it, too.
And the worst movies I've seen in 2011: Frozen (I wasn't surprised this was bad because it didn't have good Netflix ratings, but thought it might at least be exciting. Sadly, it wasn't even exciting... it was just stupidly BAD), followed closely by Greenberg (highly rated by the critics), which I thought had NO redeeming qualities.