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Family movies to check out

Why is it that so many teens today think the elements of a good movie are foul language, violence, sex and gore? Believe it or not, I find my favorite movies are the family-oriented, get a good laugh-tearjerker ending-must-watch-over-and-over-again kind of movies. Next time you're stuck inside on a rainy (or snowy) day, have a little fun and check out one of my personal favorites:

* Cheaper by the Dozen 1 & 2 (2003, 2005)

My family can't watch either of these movies without having to watch it again the next day. The cast of 12 kids (including Piper Perabo, Tom Welling, Hilary Duff, and Alyson Stoner) are all, with the exception of Duff, outstanding actors. Top it off with the comical Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt playing Mr. and Mrs. Baker, football coach and author. These two hilarious movies are the story of the laughs and tears of a crazy family of 14. After seeing them, you'll want to be a Baker, too!

* Pride and Prejudice (2006)

This is the movie for the modern romanticist. Keira Knightley does a magnificent job portraying Elizabeth Bennet, one of five girls in an 18th century English family being married off by their mother. Based on the novel by Jane Austen, this movie will become as classic as the book. Even if you're typically not into classic love stories (like me), don't be turned off, you'll love it anyway. You will fall in love with the Bennet family (and Mr. Darcy, girls!).

* The Kid (2000)

This family comedy takes Bruce Willis out of his action film element -- and it totally works. Willis plays Russ Duritz, a cynical 40-year-old image consultant who is denying both his horrible childhood and his love for his co-worker, Amy (Emily Mortimer). Just when he's about to hit rock bottom, he is visited by his 8-year-old self (Spencer Breslin) who helps him come to terms with his past, and the person he's become. A very sentimental plot, but it is full of humor and is very quotable!

* Holes (2002)

Based on the book by Louis Sachar, this is probably one of my all-time favorites. It has a great cast, including Shia LaBeouf, Jon Voight, Sigourney Weaver, and newcomer Khleo Thomas. Stanley Yelnats (LaBeouf), cursed by his "No Good Dirty Rotten Pig-Stealing Great-Great Grandfather", is sent to the notorious Camp Green Lake, where he is forced to dig holes all day in the hot sun. Slowly the 18 months at camp turn from an unjust criminal sentence, to the unraveling of a mystery that's been haunting his family "for always and eternity."

* New York Minute (2004)

Featuring Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, this one is for the corny days. Jane and Roxy Ryan are (of course) polar-opposite identical twins headed for New York City -- one a rebel rocker planning to slip her band's demo to Simple Plan, and the other an uptight overachiever about to make "the most important academic speech of her life." All this takes place while they are being chased by a not-really Chinese man and a truant officer (Eugene Levy). Moral of the story: two sisters who didn't get along do in the end. The script is hilariously funny and dumb -- and yes, they both end up with an unrealistically cute guy in the end.

* Joshua (2002)

I don't want to tell you too much about this movie but I will say it's about God. Whether you're a religious person or not, every word has inspiration. (Don't worry; it's not too "preachy.") For those interested in Christian rock music, it has a great soundtrack.

Sara Elizabeth Genco is a homeschooler from Alden.

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