During our recent days of sheltering in place, many of us turned to movies we had around the house to entertain us. Many of you with children probably found yourselves viewing the same features over and over again. Instead of watching Frozen for the twentieth time, think about giving the film collection here at Jackson County Library Services a try. With access to your library’s catalog and streaming services, you just might find something new, thought-provoking, and fun to watch with the whole family.
What makes a great movie so magical is that it can transport you to other fantastical worlds. Great pieces of animation do that easily, but there is also magic to be had with other genres, too. Take, for instance, silent films. Once you get past the idea of a black-and-white film without dialogue, you will find that the movies are truly a lot of fun to watch. Kids love the broad, slapstick comedies of Charlie Chaplin (The Gold Rush), Buster Keaton (The General), Harold Lloyd (Safety Last!) and the Little Rascals shorts (Fourth Alarm), so introducing them to those artists might be the easiest path toward viewing and appreciating old silent films.
Besides comedy, there are grand swashbuckling adventures, too, with actors like Douglas Fairbanks Sr., portraying heroes and rascals like Zorro, Robin Hood, and the Thief of Bagdad. Silent films are filled with powerful emotion, great music, incredible visuals, and just a few printed words to set up the scene. As for the “silent” part, you will discover how the lack of dialogue helps to make them accessible to everyone, especially children.
Beyond Disney, the world of animation is vast and impressive. There are plenty of great animated pieces available to be streamed through our online services, hoopla and Kanopy – and through Kanopy for Kids you can watch unlimited children’s films including animated features like Nocturna and Patema Inverted. Check out our catalog for fun features as well. For local animation, give Kubo and the Two Strings, Coraline or The Boxtrolls at try. They are produced by our own Laika Studios, out of Portland, OR. A relative newcomer, Ireland’s Cartoon Saloon, has made acclaimed arthouse favorites, including Secret of Kells, Song of the Sea and The Breadwinner.
One of the most beloved animation studios in the world is Studio Ghibli. Many of the films are considered to be classics of world cinema, including My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service and Howl’s Moving Castle, with Spirited Away being awarded Best Animated Feature at the 2003 Academy Awards.
How about sharing some exuberant dance routines? The musicals of Busby Berkeley (42nd Street), Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire (Top Hat) and Gene Kelly (An American in Paris) are top-notch. Whether in black-and-white or color, they are filled with technical brilliance, snappy songs, and incredibly complex dance routines. What helps to make musicals so much fun is that they are big, showy, and spectacular. Know that you can never go wrong with Singin’ in the Rain, The Sound of Music or the all-time great family classic, The Wizard of Oz.
When it comes to suggesting classic movies, the American Film Institute’s “100 Years, 100 Movies” list is pretty hard to beat. It is filled with plenty of great movies produced in the 30s, 40s and 50s, many of which are perfect for family viewing. If newer films are your style, then there are plenty of contemporary directors and film genres – like the Marvel superhero films – that are great to share. Many of the films directed and produced by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, like ET, Indiana Jones and Star Wars, are wonderful Saturday afternoon family film fare, too.
So make a bowl of popcorn, gather up the family, and share a new movie tonight, courtesy of Jackson County Library Services! Check out our Bibliocommons list of films.