Staff Recs: Best Movies to Watch With Parents

It’s movie night! But with the ‘rents...

The cast of Mrs. Doubtfire (via facebook).

These recommendations are for when your mom wants a movie night and you don’t want to waste an hour going through Netflix trying to find something you’ll both like.

“The Paper” (1994)

Let’s face it — parents love to talk about their golden years. If a Donna Summer song plays on the radio, you already know that mom will be reminiscing about college. If your parents grew up in the 1980s, then any John Hughes movie will suffice for nostalgia material and tons of “I wore that!” or “I haven’t heard that song in 30 years” from mom and pop. If your parents started working in the 1990s as mine did — bonus points if their careers were in communications — then “The Paper” is the perfect family flick. Between cheesy comedic moments and outdated technology (see: Xerox machines and pagers), “The Paper” makes for a perfect lighthearted film that the entire family can enjoy. — Nicole

“Thank You for Smoking” (2005)

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“Thank You for Smoking” has historical precedent, a compelling voiceover and a cute little kid caught in the crossfire of his parents’ divorce. It’s the perfect dad movie. Nick Naylor (Aaron Eckhart) is the chief spokesperson for Big Tobacco at “The Academy of Tobacco Studies.” His job is to get people to keep smoking, which occasionally involves going on live television to meet children dying of lung cancer. At lunch, he eats with his best friends, lobbyists for firearms and alcohol. They call themselves the MOD (Merchants of Death) Squad. Throughout the movie, we get to see Nick roast a Vermont senator reminiscent of Bernie Sanders, get seduced by a career-hungry journalist and teach his son the meaning of capitalism. If “Thank You for Smoking” isn’t your dad’s favorite movie, I don’t know what is. — Claire

“Mrs. Doubtfire” (1993)

One of my favorite movies growing up was Robin Williams’ “Mrs. Doubtfire,” and a big reason why was because I would only watch it with my parents. Any time it was on TV, suddenly it became movie night for all of us, so I can guarantee that it’s likely to bring wonderful family memories. Although it is a hilarious comedy — one of Williams’ best roles — it also directly deals with how difficult it can be for parents and kids alike to go through a divorce. The film ultimately preaches a hopeful message of how family bonds transcend distance and tragedy, along with the funny shenanigans of Williams trying to hide his maid disguise from everyone around him. The film also features amazing performances from Sally Field and Pierce Brosnan, and great makeup for the titular character that looks amazing even today. With its humor and lovely themes, “Mrs. Doubtfire” is a timeless family classic that can be enjoyed by anyone. — Guru

“Escape Room” (2018)

When I watch a movie with my parents, I have a couple of criteria. Nothing too highbrow — my parents aren’t big moviegoers, and I don’t think either of them would enjoy sitting through A24’s newest release. Nothing too racy — there’s not many experiences more uncomfortable than watching a sex scene with the people who brought you into the world. I’m looking for something fun, light, frothy — maybe a thriller or the newest summer blockbuster. “Escape Room” was the perfect choice for a winter break trip to the movies with my dad. Think one of the later “Saw” films, but with way less gratuitous gore and a healthy sense of play. Six strangers are invited to participate in an escape room challenge; whoever completes it gets $10,000. Our intrepid band of puzzlers soon realizes, however, that the stakes of this game are life or death. Forced to navigate a series of increasingly complex puzzle rooms, the group must use their wits if they have any hope of making it out alive. Each room is cleverly constructed, in a sick, twisted way. They’d be fun to try if the only consequence for running out of time was a bit of sheepish embarrassment. “Escape Room” is marketed as a horror film, but I wouldn’t call it a horror movie — it’s more of a thriller, albeit one that cranks the tension up to 10 and then keeps going. It left me and my dad on the edge of our seats. — Alex

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