One of the activities our family looks forward to every Friday is our Family Movie night. Instead of watching a random movie each week, we’ll theme them. Occasionally, we’ll even have a movie marathon (a.k.a. binge watching). In years past, we would watch a recently released animated movie if we could find one, or we’d re-watch a Disney movie. Now that most of the kids are older, we’re able to open up a new world of PG and PG-13 live-action movies! The two kids that are still in G Rating watch an animated movie in a different room.
No need to buy each movie; your local library may have free rentals, and other low-cost options like CD Exchange may be available in your city. Don’t forget to check Netflix, etc.
Take-out pizza and cookies are consumed in great quantities during the movie. Every now and again, we really get into the spirit and tailor our menu to the movie: Hotdogs and Popcorn while watching The Sandlot, for example.
I’m starting to realize that we watch a lot of movies with our kids, so we’re going to have to break this Post up into Part 1 and Part 2.
The Retro-Pop-Culture Must-See Movie Marathon Idea:
Popular Culture today is big on all of the fantasy-type heroes that my generation grew up idolizing. Now that my generation are adults, we are excited to see our youth modernized with expensive badassery (is that a word?).
Star Wars Saga (PG or PG-13)
It’s a matter of debate as to the watch order, but I prefer the Mostly-Production-Order: Episode IV: A New Hope (1977); Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980); Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983); Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999); Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002); Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005); Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016); Episode VII:The Force Awakens (2015); Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (2017).
If you’re a fan of comedy, take a break after Episode VI, and watch Spaceballs (PG, 1987).
If you have concerns about the big Vader reveal, here are some alternate ways you can think about customizing the experience: Star Wars: The Perfect Viewing Order. If you want a strict chronological guide, complete with the animated movies, this might be for you: Star Wars Timeline.
Star Trek (PG-13)
My husband and I loved the old movies, but the kids found their pace difficult to sit through. I’d suggest watching Star Trek II: TheWrath of Khan (PG, 1982), The Trouble with Tribbles (Original TV Series Season 2, Episode 15), just to give the kids a taste of history. We watched a couple of Seasons of The Next Generation before watching the Star Trek: The Next Generation movies, but you might move straight into the reboot: Star Trek (2009); Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013); Star Trek: Beyond (2016).
If you discover you or your children are Trekkies, you can check out the Star Trek Cinematic Universe. There is definitely binge-worthy material there!
Comic Book Adaptations:
For those who grew up reading comics, these movies are an exciting and satisfying experience.
Marvel Cinematic Universe (PG-13)
The watch order for the MCU is fairly straightforward. Captain America; Iron Man & Iron Man 2; Thor; The Incredible Hulk (optional); The Avengers; Iron Man 3; Thor 2: The Dark World; Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier; Guardians of the Galaxy & Guardians Vol.2; Avengers 2: Age of Ultron; Ant-Man; Captain America 3: Civil War; Spider-Man: Home-coming; Black Panther; Doctor Strange; Thor 3: Ragnarock; The Avengers: Infinity War.
If you are interested in the MCU Timeline as far as Netflix, comics, and webisodes are concerned, this picture has it all (though I apologize, the link to the actual article I got this pic from doesn’t work):
Now that Marvel has the rights to X-Men back we may see a different story/timeline emerge for these comic book heroes, but until then: X-Men (2000), X2: X-Men United (2003), X-Men III: The Last Stand (2006). We skipped the origin stories with the kids because they were more drama and less quality than the root series. [Notice I did NOT list Deadpool; this movie isn’t appropriate children at all. It’s hilarious… but seriously, not for kids. I made the mistake of watching it at the theater while sitting next to my 20-year-old son… awkward.] From there, we moved on to the prequels: First Class (2011), although the way the villain meets his death is gruesome; Days of Future Past (2014) [Look for the Rogue Cut]; and Apocalypse (2016).
With so many Batman and Superman movies out there, it’s hard to find the time to watch them all. I would stay away from the older versions (sorry Christopher Reeves and Michael Keaton) unless you have a die-hard Superman or Batman fan on your hands. For the sake of keeping the quality, let’s stick to the new DC model that is trying to compete with the MCU.
Man of Steel (2013); Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016); Suicide Squad (2016); Wonder Woman (2017); Justice League (2017).
In Part 2, there will be a list of movie marathon ideas that don’t involve capes or spaceships. Until then, start gathering your movies and planning your themed meals!