Family Movies for The Homebound — Part II

Posted on March 25, 2020 at 7:54 am

Copyright 2006 Lionsgate

More great family movies to share while we stay safe at home:

Bells are Ringing: The adorable Judy Holliday in her signature role as Ella Peterson, who, in the days before voicemail and texting, worked for a small company that took and delivered phone messages in New York. She enjoyed putting on a French accent for phone calls to a French restaurant and pretending to be Santa for a mother whose boy wouldn’t eat his spinach. And she especially enjoyed the wake-up calls for a playwright working on his first script without his long-time writing partner. When she starts to meet the people on the other end of the phone, she changes their lives, and they change hers. The terrific cast includes Jean Stapleton, Dean Martin, Frank Gorshin, and Eddie Foy. Jr. and the classic songs include “Just in Time.”

Akeelah and the Bee: Keke Palmer plays a young girl with a talented for spelling and Laurence Fishburne plays her irascible coach. His “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” co-star Angela Bassett plays Akeelah’s mother. It’s an inspiring story of dreams, determination, and community.

Spellbound: And while we’re in the mood for spelling bees, be sure to watch this thrilling documentary about the annual Scripps-Howard spelling bee, with children under 14 competing to spell words even highly educated grown-ups would be daunted by. The featured kids come from a wide variety of families, from an undocumented Texas girl to the daughter of a single mother in Washington D.C. who calls herself a “prayer warrior” to the Indian-American boy whose grandfather paid 1000 people in India to pray for him.

Blinded by the Light: This neglected gem from last year is based on the real-life story of journalist Sarfraz Manzoor, who as a teenager in Thatcher-era Great Britain, found that the songs of Bruce Springsteen were truer about his life than anything he heard from his immigrant family or racist community. Few films depict as joyously the thrill of finding who you are through music that reveals you to yourself.

Masterminds: This is by no means a great movie, but it is very entertaining. Think “Die Hard” in a posh private school. A rebellious teenage happens to be in his step-sister’s school when it is taken over by a brilliant “mastermind” who holds the children for ransom. Future “Mad Men” star Vincent Kartheiser plays the teenager and the villain is an all-in Patrick Stewart.

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