With many schools set to go on winter vacation in the coming weeks, it can be hard to find things to keep the whole family entertained. A great way to have some family fun during the holidays while staying indoors is to pop some popcorn, have a beverage of your choice, and watch a movie.
While there are an abundance of streaming options to choose from, it can be daunting to choose. It can also be difficult to find something the whole family can enjoy. These days, real home movies can be hard to find. That said, they do exist on major streaming services, and viewers just need to know where to look. In fact, 2021 had a number of winners that will delight the whole family.
ten The Waterman – 5.4 (Streaming on Netflix)
This family fantasy drama is more serious than most of the genre. The water man follows a boy who embarks on a quest to save his sick mother by searching for a mythical figure who is said to have magical healing powers. Released in May, the film is 78% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes with an audience score of 69%.
The directorial debut of actor David Oyelowo, the film also stars Rosario Dawson, Alfred Molina and Maria Bello. This heartfelt coming-of-age tale doesn’t speak to its intended audience. While it may tackle more serious themes and ideas, it still has a PG rating, making it safe for families who may want something a little more grown-up.
9 Yes Day – 5.7 (Streaming on Netflix)
yes day is a fun, breezy comedy about the importance of family starring Jennifer Garner, Edgar Ramirez and Jenna Ortega. It follows a mom and dad who usually say no to everything, but they say yes to their kids’ wildest demands on a whirlwind day of fun and adventure.
While kids might have more fun with the crazy antics and imagining what they’d do someday, yes, there’s always something for parents. Garner and Ramirez add a fun presence, and the film gets a comedic boost from Nat Faxon and Fortune Feimster. PG rated, yes day is ideal for those looking for a sweet and harmless family comedy.
8 Clifford the Big Red Dog – 6.0 (in theaters and streaming on Paramount Plus)
Based on the long-running children’s books written by Norman Bridwell, Clifford brings everyone’s favorite big red dog to the big screen. The film shows how a young girl’s love for a tiny puppy named Clifford causes the dog to grow to enormous size. This live-action adaptation takes the tale to New York and seems to have won over audiences with a score of 94% on Rotten Tomatoes.
The cast contains a number of familiar faces to its adult audience. The film stars Darby Camp, John Cleese, Jack Whitehall, Tony Hale, David Alan Grier, Horatio Sanz, Russell Peters, Siobhan Fallon Hogan and Kenan Thompson. Putting a big red dog in a small New York apartment is a fun storyline, and the movie can be entertaining for people of all ages.
seven Finding Ohana – 6.1 (Streaming on Netflix)
This fun scavenger hunt adventure brings back previous family favorites like the Goonies. Located in Hawaii, Finding ‘Ohana follows two siblings raised in Brooklyn who discover a journal pointing to a long-lost treasure. Along with new friends and family, they set out to rediscover their Hawaiian heritage. Audiences have certainly enjoyed the film, as it boasts an audience score of 83% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Rated PG, this comedy adventure stands out for its scenic Hawaiian location. The film does a great job linking Hawaiian culture and the importance of family. Featuring a cast of mostly unknown Hawaiians, the film has some familiar faces in Chris Parnell, Marc Evan Jackson and Goonies starring Ke Huy Quan. The fun location, adventure, and themes are sure to keep everyone engaged.
6 Peter Rabbit 2 – 6.2 (Streaming on Netflix)
Based on Beatrix Potter’s beloved children’s books, Peter Rabbit 2 is the delayed sequel to the 2018 original. With James Corden returning as the voice of Peter, the bunny travels to the big city, encounters shady characters, and creates mayhem for the whole family. The sequel has an audience score of 89% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Domhnall Gleeson returns in one of his best roles with Rose Byrne, and the duo is joined by David Oyelowo. The PG-rated sequel is filled with enough silly slapstick to keep kids entertained while adding enough jokes to amuse parents. Despite a delay of almost a year, Peter Rabbit 2 enjoyed being pure family fun. While certainly not trying to be an all-time great, the film has enough going for it to be an entertaining adventure.
5 Flora and Ulysses – 6.3 (Streaming on Disney Plus)
Supported by a strong cast of familiar faces, Flora & Ulysses offers a fun comedy adventure for families of all ages. When Flora rescues a squirrel she names Odysseus, she is amazed to find he has superhero powers that take them on an adventure that changes Flora’s life forever. The film was a hit with critics, with 73% fees on Rotten Tomatoes.
PG rated, Flora & Ulysses is a great film about animal and human friendship. It has a solid cast of TV comedy stars adults will know, including Alyson Hannigan, Ben Schwartz, Danny Pudi, Bobby Moynihan, Kate Micucci and Janeane Garofalo. The film is a fun watch for families who love the worlds of Marvel and DC superheroes and perhaps want a lighter take on the genre.
4 Mixtape – 6.5 (Streaming on Netflix)
This coming-of-age story lets viewers party like it’s 1999. mix tape follows a young girl who accidentally destroys a mixtape that once belonged to her mother. She sets out to find each of the obscure songs on the tape. This family film mixes comedy with beautiful serious moments where a young girl tries to understand her deceased parents. Audiences also enjoyed the film, with a score of 73% on Rotten Tomatoes.
PG rated, mix tape co stars modern family standout Julie Bowen as Grandma Gail and has something for the whole family. Children can relate to the story of a 12-year-old girl who finds her voice and develops friendships as she navigates life. Meanwhile, adults can enjoy the nostalgia of creating mixtapes and a retro soundtrack. Set at the turn of the century, remembering the year 2000 scare and all that comes with it is a fun addition.
3 Blue Miracle – 6.7 (Streaming on Netflix)
blue miracle is an uplifting family drama starring Dennis Quaid. In order to save their cash-strapped orphanage, a guardian and his children team up with a stranded boat captain for a chance to win a lucrative fishing contest. Based on a true story, the film is 70% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes with an Audience Score of 72%.
PG rated, blue miracle may be a predictable story, but it’s an entertaining ride nonetheless. Also starring Bruce McGill, families can’t help but invest in the plight of the orphans and support them in the final competition. Quaid does an admirable job as a grumpy sailor who builds on the past and clings to his legacy, while the ocean adds a nice backdrop.
2 8-Bit Christmas – 6.7 (Streaming on HBO Max)
A nostalgic breath of past Christmas, 8 bit Christmas transports viewers to the 1980s. Set in Chicago, the film follows a 10-year-old kid on a quest to get his generation’s Christmas present: the latest and greatest video game system. Returning to healthy holiday favorites like A Christmas Story, the film was well received, sitting at 79% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes with an audience score of 75%.
PG rated, 8 bit Christmas stars Winslow Fegley, Neil Patrick Harris, Steve Zahn and June Diane Raphael. The relatable story can remind everyone to hope for the perfect Christmas present under the tree and the lengths kids and parents will go to make it happen. It’s a heartwarming tale of holidays and family togetherness that will also remind viewers of past follies like Nintendo and Cabbage Patch Dolls.
1 Cruella – 7.4 (Streaming on Disney Plus)
Over the past few years, Disney has cracked open the vault and created live-action remakes of childhood favorites. Cruel is a prequel film following a young Cruella de Vil from the streets of London as a little girl to the adult she would become famous. while the remakes had mixed reviews, Cruel is one of the top villain origin stories, with 74% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes with an Audience Score of 97%.
Rated PG-13, the tale stars Emma Stone as the infamous Estella, alongside Emma Thompson, Mark Strong, Paul Walter Hauser and Joel Fry. Audiences are allowed a glimpse into Estella’s childhood as she struggles to survive on the streets to become a fashion designer. The entertaining acting is aided by strong acting and a stellar 60s and 70s British rock soundtrack. Between music, high fashion and London decor, this origin story has a little something for that everyone can enjoy it.
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