Eight movies to watch during Family Weekend
Family weekend begins Oct. 13, and soon campus will be bombarded with parents, siblings, grandparents and perhaps even extended relatives. In recognition of family, the Daily Wildcat has selected films for family, about family, and how it may drive you crazy but will always have your back.
This 1989 family comedy stars John Candy as Uncle Buck, a raunchy relative that finds himself in suburbia when his brother and sister-in-law leave to tend to an ill relative, leaving him in charge of their three children. Tia, played by Jean Louisa Kelly, is 15 and angry with being forced to move from Indianapolis to the Chicago suburbs. She frequently butts heads with Buck, while her younger siblings, Miles and Maizy, played by Macaulay Culkin and Gaby Hoffmann, are instantly best friends with their long-lost uncle. Ultimately, it’s Buck to the rescue when Tia starts heading down a wayward path. This film’s heartwarming message is that, even if your relatives are crazy or embarrassing, they’ll come through for you in the end, which we see as Buck and Tia exchange an affectionate wave goodbye at the film’s end, their bond evident. You can watch this film with Amazon Video or Netflix DVD.
“Field of Dreams”
Another 1989 classic, this film stars Kevin Costner as Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella, who hears the immortal words “If you build it, he will come.” In his own interpretation, Ray plows down his cornfields to build a baseball field, an idea many believe is insane. Nonetheless, Ray’s wife, Annie, played by Amy Madigan, and his daughter, Karin, played by Gaby Hoffmann, support him completely. This crazy dream turns into a beautiful reality as the ghosts of past famous baseball players begin playing games on the field, and you can’t see them unless you believe. This journey also brings a sense of peace for Ray, as the ghost of his father, played by Dwier Brown, appears as his young self. Ray introduces his father, whom he was estranged from for years prior to his father’s death, to his family and plays one last game of catch with him, which had been something they’d done together in life. Family is the central theme of this film, as Ray tries to be a good husband and father, and “eases his pain” as he finally gets the closure he never had with his father. You can watch this film with Amazon Video or Netflix DVD.
“We Bought a Zoo”
Based on a true story, the film follows Benjamin Mee, played by Matt Damon, and his family. In the film, Benjamin recently loses his wife Katherine, played by Stephanie Szostak, and is raising his two children, Dylan and Rosie, played by Colin Ford and Maggie Elizabeth Jones, on his own. Due to several events, from Benjamin quitting his job to Dylan getting expelled from school, Benjamin decides to start anew and begins looking for a new place to live. The place they find is ultimately a zoo, which Benjamin works tirelessly to reopen. Benjamin must win the trust of the zoo employees, scramble to remain financially stable and help his son, who is angry and struggling following his mother’s death and their subsequent move. This touching story is about a family finding a way to move on following a tragic loss and striding through their newest adventure that ultimately heals them and renews their sense of family. You can watch this film with Amazon Video or Netflix DVD.
Catherine Zeta-Jones stars as Kate, an organized and intimidating head chef in a New York City restaurant. Her fast-paced environment changes rapidly after her sister, played by Arija Bareikis, dies in a car accident. She suddenly becomes the guardian of her niece, Zoe, played by Abigail Breslin, and struggles to make changes while dealing with her grief. Not only this, but she feels threatened when a newly hired sous-chef, Nick, played by Aaron Eckhart, begins to make some changes in her kitchen. Kate learns to love and let go in this romantic comedy-drama as she learns to open her heart and to become a parental figure for Zoe. If anything, this film best represents the lengths family will go to for one another, as Kate tries to make a good life for her niece. You can watch this film with Amazon video or stream on Netflix.
“This Is Where I Leave You”
This hilarious film centers around the Altman family, particularly Judd Altman, played by Jason Bateman. Judd’s life unravels at the seams following his wife’s affair with his boss, and he returns home to attend his father’s funeral and sit Shiva with his family. Featuring Tina Fey, Adam Driver and Corey Stoll as his siblings and Jane Fonda as his mother, he finds that his life is not the only one with problems. This film reminds us that family — having known you long enough — is blatantly honest and unapologetic, will call you out, can offer the best insight into your life and ultimately, have your back. You can watch this film with Amazon Video or Netflix DVD.
Robin Williams stars as Mrs. Doubtfire, aka Daniel Hillard in disguise. He resorts to untraditional methods to see his children every day after his wife Miranda, played by Sally Field, files for divorce and the judge grants her custody of their three children until Daniel can adequately provide for them on his own. Miranda puts an ad in the paper for a housekeeper, and the charade begins, with both heartwarming and heart-wrenching results. Yet, Williams keeps the tone lighthearted. In this film, we see that sometimes even divorce offers a better means of life, that a family separated can still be happy and can still be a family. You can watch this film with a STARZ subscription or via Netflix DVD.
Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler star as single parents that initially despise each other but, through a funky series of circumstances end up on the same African vacation together — during which wind up falling in love. Of course, this doesn’t come without its challenges, especially when it comes to their children, who are wary of their respective parents dating someone they don't know. This romantic comedy shows us that families are not always made, but chosen — after all, family doesn’t always end in blood. You can watch this film with Amazon Video or Netflix DVD.
Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as John Matrix, a retired Special Forces Colonel who finds himself back in the action when he must chase after the mercenaries that have kidnapped his daughter Jenny, played by Alyssa Milano. Of course, being Arnold Schwarzenegger, there's plenty of gunfire and explosions, and even a scene in which he drops a guy headfirst over a ledge. Perhaps an extreme example of familial loyalty, it’s nice to know that, when push comes to shove and we’re ever kidnapped by mercenaries, our parents will take out everything and everyone to get us back. You can watch this film with a STARZ subscription or via Netflix DVD.
Each of these films represent the strength of bonds among family, from parents and their children to extended relatives. Other noteworthy films include "The Aristocats," "Definitely, Maybe," "Over the Top," "Despicable Me," "Home Alone" and many more. As Michael J. Fox has said, “Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.”
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