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Last night I finally watched The Day the Earth Stood Still. I can’t believe I waited so long to watch it – it was a fantastic movie! Reading the Wikipedia entry, I’m a little disappointed to see that a remake is being made. Tyler watched the film with me, and was entirely engrossed by the story. I figure if Tyler can enjoy a black and white film made in 1951, it’s good enough that a remake isn’t necessary.

I’m glad to finally be able to have context for many of the popular culture references this movie has inspired; but more than anything I’m simply astounded by what a good movie it was. This reminds me of why I don’t often take the kids to the movies any more: I’m disappointed that there are so few family-friendly movies being produced today of the caliber of this 50 year old masterpiece. A quick look at the G and PG films (presumably “family friendly”) playing in theaters today shows mostly light-hearted, if not downright silly, fare with many following the formula “stereotypical outsider gets a big break and earns the friendship of the popular crowd”.

I’ve observed before that they just don’t make movies like they used to, and I hold by that claim. We’ve watched films such as The Maltese Falcon, Man of LaMancha and Lawrence of Arabia with the twins, and our girls really enjoy watching the classics. The stories are rich, the characters are nuanced, and the entertainment we receive is more than just mindless escapism or laughing at someone else’s misfortune. It never ceases to amaze me that the kids will ask questions about these old movies long after we’ve watched them – I’m delighted that these films have caught their interest and that they continue to think about them.

I wish more writers and directors would produce intelligent, thought-provoking films suitable for an entire family.

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