With many ways for a family to watch movies together, broadcast and cable television still make it easy to revisit old favorites. What may be familiar to one may be new to someone else! Here are a few choices for this weekend.
With Six You Get Eggroll (1968)
This was a banner year for movies about families with Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball bringing their broods together in Yours, Mine and Ours while Doris Day and Brian Keith rule the roost in this popular comedy. They play widowed adults who find love can be wonderful the second time around. And they discover that, when adults remarry, they often bring others to the party, including three sons from Day and a daughter from Keith. Together, they discover what it means to be a family in a comedy that still generates chuckles and a few healthy tears.
Sunday, Sept. 14, 6 p.m., Turner Classic Movies (TCM)
Like many Disney animated classics, this feels as fresh today as when it was first discovered by generations of young movie watchers. Of course, we know the story of the young girl who wants to go to the ball to meet her prince. While other versions may focus more on the girl and the stepmother who tries to stand in her way, Disney treats us to a collection of delightful animal characters trying to make Cinderella’s dreams come true. We may get less of the humorous tension between humans while we delight in the marvelous mischief from those kind-hearted creatures of the forest. The late Verna Felton delivers a delightful vocal characterization of the fairy godmother.
Saturday, Sept. 13, 2:45 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 14 2:15 p.m., ABC Family
Steel Magnolias (1989)
No matter how many times you visit this lovely group of women in a small town in Louisiana, the characters appeal, the dialogue crackles and the relationships jump off the screen. Director Herbert Ross wisely opens up the stage play — moving beyond the beauty parlor where the women solve the problems of life and loves as good friends do — to develop each woman’s story with careful handling. The actresses shine, from Sally Field’s touching portrayal of a mother trying to cope with her daughter’s decisions, to Shirley MacLaine’s delicious take on an exaggerated Southern woman, to Olympia Dukakis’ brittle one-liners that capture the essence of small town life. What a treasure this film continues to be.
Friday, Sept. 12, 5:30 p.m., CMT
Julie and Julia (2009)
Of course, any chance to watch Meryl Streep lead a master class in acting is worth the time. And this behind-the-scenes look at the life and work of chef Julia Child gives the actress the chance to create a vibrant characterization of a driven woman who never leaves any food on her plate. We can’t get enough of Streep’s spontaneous creation of this fascinating woman. Unfortunately, she is only half the movie, with the other half focusing on a less-than-compelling Amy Adams playing a woman who is inspired by Child to cook all the recipes in her first book about French cooking. If only writer/director Nora Ephron had given Streep more screen time, with occasional visits from Adams, the film would be sublime. Still, it’s a lot of fun.
Friday, Sept. 12, 7 p.m., Oxygn
Sweet Bird of Youth (1962)
While not appropriate for the entire family, this screen adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ stage hit offers plenty of Southern sizzle for mature viewers. Paul Newman is a wandering man with too much ambition and too little discipline who returns to the small town in the South he had to leave in disgrace. Traveling by his side is an aging actress trying to flee the bad reviews for her latest film. While they try to fool each other into thinking they could mean something as a couple, each delves into delusions of what life could have been if the choices had been smarter. Newman is perfection, Geraldine Page shines in her Oscar-nominated performance as the diva, and Ed Begley (who won an Oscar) steals his scenes as a man watching his world crumble.
Sunday, Sept. 14, 2 p.m., Turner Classic Movies
Sharing worthwhile movies can be as easy as turning on the television or going online. And, when you watch as a family, take the time to chat about what you’re seeing. That makes it even more fun.