School is nearly out, and it's time to congratulate your kids (and yourselves!) on surviving yet another academic year. Between the end-of-the year festivities and awards ceremonies and swim practices, it's a good to relax a bit and enjoy downtime with your clan. In just a week or two, summer will be in full swing, but this weekend, take a couple of hours and have family movie time together.
Rated G Pick: "Hercules" (1997, 90 minutes)
Kids Will Love: What could be more compelling to kids than a myth about someone with the strength of a god but the body of a human? "Hercules" is one of those lesser-known Disney movies that kids love to discover, because it's got humor and heart and (for boys) no princesses, just Greek gods!
Parents Will Love: "Hercules" is one of Disney's underrated '90s offerings. It's nowhere near as popular as "The Lion King," "Beauty and the Beast" or "The Little Mermaid," but it is definitely worth seeing: legendary story, great voice acting, funny sidekicks, and the requisite Oscar-nominated song by composer Alan Menken ("Go the Distance").
Did You Know? This is Disney's first animated feature film based completely on a myth rather than a fairy tale. Before "Hercules," the only mythological Disney story was the "Pastoral Symphony" segment in "Fantasia," which features a host of legendary creatures like centaurs, fauns and Greek gods.
Rated PG Pick: "Mirror, Mirror" (PG, 2012, 105 minutes)
Kids Will Love: The Snow White story is given a glossy, bright-hued overhaul starring Lily Collins (star of the upcoming "City of Bones") as Snow, Armie Hammer as her handsome prince, and Julia Roberts as the scene-stealing, poisoned-apple-gifting Queen. Between the snarky Queen, the silly dwarves, and the fantastic costumes, kids will find new appreciation for the fairy tale.
Parents Will Love: Julia Roberts as the Evil Stepmother? How can we resist the "Pretty Woman" of our youth turning into the vain queen who must get rid of the Fairest One of All? The movie isn't up to Roberts' Oscar-caliber films, but it's colorful enough to keep you and your tweens engaged.
Teen Pick: "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" (PG, 1986, 103 minutes)
Teens Will Love: Sure, the music and the clothes are particularly dated, and it's the '90s not the '80s that's the decade of choice right now, but even the most jaded of teens will muster a laugh (or at the very least a smirk) watching perfect Ferris lie, cheat and steal his way to the ultimate skip day.
Parents Will Love: If you had to boil down '80s teen comedies to one movie, it would be a dramatic toss up between "Ferris Bueller's" and "The Breakfast Club." Of course you don't have to pick, just see them both, starting with "Ferris," because it's funnier, stars a tremendously talented cast (most of whom are still famous enough for teens to recognize) and makes one of the best uses of Chicago in film history.
Did You Know? Back before Charlie Sheen was infamous for his substance abuse, he had to take pains to seem drug addled. To look convincingly stoned, Sheen (then 21) reportedly stayed awake for nearly two days. Oh how times have changed.