Another weekend, another search for choices suitable for parents and younger kids or teens to watch as a family. Fear not, we got you — and all of these can be watched on your TV, without a streaming app.
(All times Eastern; check local listings for times in your area.)
“Twister” (1996) — Friday, 8 p.m., AMC
In a summer and fall of extreme weather, this one reminds us that there are folks out there working to understand storms better so we can be better prepared. Written by Michael Crichton (“Jurassic Park”) and his then-wife, Anne-Marie Martin, and directed by Jan de Bont (Speed”), this humor-laced action film follows storm chasers studying tornadoes during a Midwest summer. But under the thrills and chills is the story of a divorcing pair of meteorologists — played by Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt — who rediscover each other, rekindle their love and save their marriage.
There are NO sex scenes, just some kissing, but the reproductive-therapist character played by Jami Gertz does give some mildly suggestive advice to couples on the phone — but hey, they’re trying to make babies! Also, the huge laptop used by the scientists, and the therapist’s early-model cellphone, are pretty funny compared to today’s technology.
“Moneyball” (2011) — Saturday, 6 p.m., TNT
Written by Aaron Sorkin and based on the 2003 book of the same name by Michael Lewis (who also wrote “The Blind Side” — see below), this surprisingly engaging film follows Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) as he employs revolutionary economic theories to help his cash-strapped team create a winning roster. It sounds dull as dishwater, but it’s anything but. And if kids want to know what math has to do with real life, this movie is a prime example of its importance in many fields, including professional sports.
“Moneyball” is a rousing, exhilarating ride, and along with the baseball, there’s a sweet subplot about divorced Beane and his relationship with his preteen daughter (Kerris Dorsey). I don’t even like baseball, but I love “Moneyball.”
Bonus: Chris Pratt makes an appearance.
“Cake Boss” — Saturday, 8 p.m., TLC
Buddy Valastro of Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken, New Jersey — a Catholic who made dessert for Pope Francis when the pontiff visited America in 2015 — and his colorful family pastry business return with a 9th season of new episodes of the hit reality series. Expect family highjinks sprinkled in with some amazing confectionary creations.
“Lincoln” (2012) — Sunday, 8 p.m., TMC
Directed by Steven Spielberg, and loosely based on historian Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Lincoln biography, “Team of Rivals” — this sprawling historical epic focuses on the last four months of Lincoln’s (Daniel Day-Lewis) life and his efforts to have the House pass the 13th Amendment (the one that abolished slavery). It’s PG-13, and it’s on pay cable, so it might not be suitable for younger kids (and it is two hours and 30 minutes long), but for preteens and up, it’s an absorbing look into a time in American history that reverberates right into today’s headlines.
“The Blind Side” (2009) — Sunday, 8 p.m., Spike
Based on the 2006 book by Michael Lewis, the film focuses on Michael Oher, an offensive lineman who played for the Baltimore Ravens (including the team’s 2013 Super Bowl win) and the Carolina Panthers. It follows him from his impoverished Tennessee upbringing, into Wingate Christian School (in real life, Briargate Christian School in Memphis), and his adoption by Christian couple Sean and Leigh Ann Tuohy (Tim McGraw, Sandra Bullock).
“The Blind Side” is often hailed as a rare pro-faith and pro-family film that accomplishes both missions without overt preaching, while managing to be a sports film at the same time.
Image: Courtesy TLC
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