Your teenager is getting taller (and probably smellier). But he’s still your favorite little guy. And you miss curling up on the couch with him to watch a movie.
Peel him away from his group chat and tonight’s battle royale in Fortnite with one of these movies you’ll both love.
I’ve picked a few that are fun (so he’ll watch) and also touch on what it means to become a man of character (so you’ll feel like you’ve parented). Save some Milk Duds for the after-movie discussion.
“Dead Poets Society” (PG, 1989):
One of the late Robin Williams’ best. He plays a teacher who inspires his students to appreciate poetry — and also defy the expectations of their parents and their school in 1959 Vermont.
“Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” (PG-13, 2010):
If your kid is a gamer, he’ll love the references in this movie based on a graphic novel. Scott (Michael Cera) wants to date Ramona (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), but first he has to battle her evil exes.
“October Sky” (PG, 1999):
The true story of Homer Hickam (Jake Gyllenhaal), a 1950s coal miner’s son who dreams of becoming a rocket scientist despite his father’s disapproval. A science competition and a sympathetic teacher help him shoot for the stars.
“Dope” (R, 2015):
Geeky Malcolm (Shameik Moore) dreams of going to Harvard. He has to survive his rough LA neighborhood first, after a chance invitation to an underground party leads Malcolm and his friends on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
“Rudy” (PG, 1993):
Rudy (Sean Astin) doesn’t let his small frame get in the way of his big dreams of playing football for Notre Dame. You’ll cry. There’s no getting around that. Stock up on tissues.
“Miracle” (PG, 2004):
Kurt Russell plays the coach of the 1980 U.S. men’s Olympic hockey team, which overcame overwhelming odds on the world stage. Eminently quotable.
“Monty Python and the Holy Grail” (PG, 1975):
OK, I know I promised movies about coming of age and character, but sometimes you just want to laugh at supremely executed silliness. We took our tween to see this on the big screen on classic movies night, and now he understands the references his dad and I make about swallows and huge tracts of land.
“Galaxy Quest” (PG, 1999):
The cast of a sci-fi TV show gets caught up in a real-life space battle with a reptilian warlord. Wonderfully meta with heart, solid jokes and a great cast led by Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver and the late Alan Rickman.
“Empire of the Sun” (PG, 1987):
Many years before he put on Batman’s cowl, Christian Bale played a young man who is separated from his parents and grows up in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp during World War II. Directed by Steven Spielberg.
“Stand By Me” (R, 1986):
Friends in 1959 Oregon go looking for a body in the woods. Life lessons are learned along the way. With Wil Wheaton, Kiefer Sutherland and the late River Phoenix.