Our kids are growing up in an age of entertainment where they think a movie can’t be good without lots of explosions, earth-shaking surround sound, and an excessive amount of computer generated images. I’m all for a fair amount of escapism that can be found in cars that turn into robots and Jedi Masters righting the wrongs of the Empire, but I think there is some good fun that can be found in dialing back the technicolor and 3D.

One of the best books I’ve come across in awhile helps your family find joy in a bowl of popcorn and a classic black and white. The Best Old Movies for Families: A Guide to Watching Together by Ty Burr gives a great argument for the appreciation of life that can be found in a classic film. Burr divides the chapters into the best of each genre of classic as well as the age appropriateness of the films. He even recommends the first movies to watch with your wee little ones and the ones to avoid regardless of how much they are heralded by critics.

Even as a member of the 80’s Generation, I can remember watching reruns of Lone Ranger and Tarzan on Saturday mornings and my best friend’s dad made us sit down and watch classics like King Kong, The Al Jolson Story, and Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid. It gave me an appreciation for the black and white and sometimes “cheesy” dialogue of the classics. I’m happy to say that my own kids have been able to adjust their expectations enough sit down and watch a classic with us…and enjoy it. My son has a big, loud laugh and it has been so fun to hear him in a full fledged roar at the antics of Dick Van Dike or Don Knotts.

This summer instead of more of the same from Hollywood, enjoy Bringing Up Baby with Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant (easily the runniest movie ever made), Singing In the Rain with Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds, or swoon to Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. If you need help spurring some ideas for a good movie this week, check out the American Film Institute’s 100 Top Films List. Let your family experience how a movie can bring you to life.

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