The 2014 Top Five Box Office Movie Winners For Grandchildren and Whether Grandchildren Should Actually See Them

GuardiansPeople Magazine, December 22, 2014, listed the top 10 box office winning movies for 2014. Most of them, if not all of them, seem to be geared to the children or preteen or teenagers. The top 5 clearly are for children. This Grandma is concerned. Some are clearly for children but some seem to have more mature themes and not appropriate for my grandchildren.

Fortunately, one day, this Grandma happened upon a website, Commonsense Media. It reviews movies, television, apps, videos, etc. and lets parents know content and review. When I mentioned it to the parent of my older grandchildren when she was with a friend, the friend said the website is too conservative for her. Wow! I was surprised. I wonder if those who write for the website are closer to this Grandma’s age. The website also includes parents’ reviews and kids’ reviews.

So, let us see about the top five box office movie winners beginning with the easy ones.

The Lego Movie came in as number 3 on the list in People Magazine and it is clearly a children’s movie.

It is recommended for age 6 and is given four stars. Parents say age 7 and give it three stars. Kids say age 6 and give it four stars. The review is:

Parents need to know that The LEGO Movie is an action-packed animated family-friendly adventure following original and existing LEGO characters. Featuring an all-star voice cast and some of the brand’s most popular figures (Batman, Superman, Gandalf, Wonder Woman, etc.), the inventive movie should appeal to all ages, from young Duplo players to teens who consider themselves Master Builders. Although there’s nothing overly objectionable (a few mild exclamations like “dang,” “heck,” “stupid,” and “darn”), there’s definitely a lot of action and peril, plus quite a bit of violence with the villain’s security forces shooting at the good guys, and a character getting “beheaded” (since minifig heads pop off) or erased (with nail polish remover). Kids will love seeing some of their favorite minifigures come to life, but of course they’ll probably ask for the tie-in LEGO kits after the movie.

The Transformers: Age of Extinction comes in at number 4 on the list in People Magazine and it is clearly a children’s movie.

It is recommended for age 13 and is given two stars. Parents and kids both say age 12 and give it three stars. The review is:

Parents need to know that Transformers: Age of Extinction is the fourth installment in director Michael Bay’s toy-based franchise, starring a new cast of characters but featuring the same amounts of over-the-top violence and explosive action audiences have come to expect from these films. The dialogue is peppered with strong language, mostly “s–t” or “ass,” but there’s also the occasional “a–hole” and one use of “f–k.” As for sex, while there’s only one big kiss, more problematic is the movie’s pervasive objectification of women, with nearly all of the female characters wearing tight, revealing clothes. Families sensitive to racial stereotypes may not appreciate the way some of the Autobots talk or how, in one scene, it’s implied that all Chinese people are magically experts at martial arts. Despite all its many iffy elements (and the nearly three-hour runtime), this film will appeal to teen boys who enjoy action flicks. While younger kids may be interested, especially if they play with the Hasbro toys, this series is best for older kids who can handle the non-stop chaos and massive destruction.

Guardians of the Galaxy came in as number 1 on the list in People Magazine and it is clearly a children’s movie.

It is recommended for age 12 and is given four stars. Parents say age 12 and give it four stars. Kids say age11 and give it four stars. The review is:

Parents need to know that Guardians of the Galaxy is a Marvel Comics-based sci-fi action adventure about a group of misfit outlaws who band together to defend the universe against a murderous villain. There’s violence, but it’s mostly hand-to-hand combat and a few deaths (or near deaths) that are heartbreaking for other characters and viewers alike (one involves a child’s loss of a parent), in addition to grand-scale action violence with explosions and weapons. There are references to Peter’s reputation as a ladies’ man and jokes about his past conquests; Peter and Gamora also have a lot of chemistry and almost kiss a couple of times. Language isn’t frequent but includes “s–t,” “bulls–t,” “bitch,” “ass,” “bastard,” and “d–k”; at one point, the Guardians also drink an unidentified liquid that makes them drunk. With a little less edge than Iron Man or The Avengers, this adventure is a good fit for a slightly younger crowd than some other superhero movies, especially since it encourages teamwork and friendship.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier came in as number 2 on the list in People Magazine and it is clearly a children’s movie.

It is recommended for age 13 and is given three stars. Parents say age 11 and give it four stars. Kids say age11 and give it four stars. The review is:

Parents need to know that Captain America: The Winter Soldier — the second Captain America movie in the Avengers franchise — is more violent than Cap’s first outing. While it focuses more on character and on the themes of military paranoia, it still features heavy fantasy fighting, with shooting, punching, and wince-inducing hand-to-hand combat, as well as some blood and death. Sex isn’t an issue, though there’s some commentary about Cap’s nonexistent dating life, and he shares a strategic kiss with Black Widow. Language is minor, but a few strong words can be somewhat heard during noisy battle sequences. Like the other superhero movies in this series, this one is marketed with toys, games, and other paraphernalia that younger kids might be clamoring for.

Maleficent came in as number 5 on the list in People Magazine and it is clearly a children’s movie.

It is recommended for age 8 and is given three stars. Parents say age 9 and give it four stars. Kids say age 8 and give it four stars. The review is:

Parents need to know that Maleficent is Disney’s retelling of its iconic animated princess movie Sleeping Beauty from the villain’s point of view. Audiences will learn the reasons why the “evil fairy” (played by Angelina Jolie) is so bitter and resentful at not being invited to baby Aurora’s welcoming party that she curses the infant princess. Far more so than the animated original (which itself is often too scary for younger kids in the preschool age bracket), this live-action version can get quite dark and may frighten younger kids, particularly during violent action sequences between the kingdom and the magical creatures of the moors. Characters die (or look dead) or are injured, and Maleficient is an intimidating figure. It’s also very upsetting when her wings are cut off. But the movie’s overall message — about redemption and love — is positive, and giving Maleficient more depth and context will help kids sympathize with her. As long as your kids can handle the battles, they’ll probably enjoy this new take on a classic Disney villain.

All in all, I still love Commonsense Media. In most cases, it was close or on target with the parents’ and kids’ reviews. The website is great for grandparents. It gives us a responsible resource to review movies before we offer to take our grandchildren to them. Oftentimes, it gives us arguments to allow us to take our grandchildren to a specific movie when the parents are skeptical.

The holiday season is upon us. We have five great choices of movies, but mostly for preteens and up. The most wonderful thing about taking grandchildren to movies is that they do not care how many times they see a movie so it does not matter if their parents or other grandparents took them already. The second most wonderful thing about taking grandchildren to movies is that we have an excuse to see the movies ourselves when we take grandchildren along.

No wonder the top box office winners are for children. We Boomer grandparents need little excuse to spoil our grandchildren with a trip to the movies. . . .and pop corn. . . and candy. . .and soda. . . .and then return them to their parents when they are on a sugar high!

Joy,

Mema

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