Parental Guidance

Parental Guidance: Forrest Gump, Draft Day, and More

We give you what you need to know about the family-friendliness of this week's new releases.

by | September 5, 2014 | Comments

In Theaters This Week:

Forrest Gump


Rating: PG-13, for drug content, some sensuality, and war violence.

Robert Zemeckis’ drama, the winner of six Academy Awards including best picture, is back in theaters in honor of its 20th anniversary — in IMAX, no less. Life is like a really, really big box of chocolates. In case you’re unfamiliar: Tom Hanks stars as the title character, a mentally challenged man who nonetheless finds himself at the center of the most important events of the second half of the 20th century. He teaches Elvis Presley how to dance. He meets Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon. He takes part in the civil rights movement. He fights in the Vietnam War. There’s a lot of mature subject matter as well as some explicit language, bloody war violence, drug use and a suicide attempt. Its ultimate message is inspiring and all — and it was revolutionary from a technical perspective in its day, so that might be worth revisiting — but it’s probably only suitable for kids around 11 or 12 and older.

The Longest Week


Rating: PG-13, for sexual content and smoking.

Jason Bateman stars as the wealthy and useless heir to a hotel fortune who finds he must fend for himself on the mean streets of fashionable Manhattan when his parents cut him off financially. Billy Crudup plays an artist who’s his equally vapid best friend, and Olivia Wilde plays the model they both love. It’s got a lot of Woody Allen and a lot of Wes Anderson and a lot of French New Wave (which influenced both of those directors), so the pretentious settings and intellectual talk will go over younger viewers’ heads. Bateman’s character prides himself on his family’s exclusive brand of cigarettes, so there’s a lot of smoking. His character and Wilde’s also have sex. For mature tweens to young teens and older, probably.



Rating: PG-13, for violence including a sexual assault, and for brief strong language.

Ed Harris stars as a retired sheriff whose beloved wife dies under mysterious circumstances on the family’s rugged property along the Arizona-Mexico border. An illegal immigrant (Michael Pena) who was trying to help her instead finds himself charged with her murder, and the man’s pregnant wife (Eva Longoria) ends up in trouble herself when she crosses the border to try and find him. Lots of gunfire and dangerous situations, plus about half of the dialogue is in Spanish with subtitles. Most importantly, though, a woman is subjected to a brutal sexual assault. This is probably only suitable for mature younger teens and up.

New On DVD:

Draft Day


Rating: PG-13 for brief strong language and sexual references.

Director Ivan Reitman’s comic drama takes place in the testosterone-fueled world of professional football on one of the most important, impactful dates on the calendar: draft day. Hence the title. So it’s no surprise that there’s some rough talk and profanity, including the one well-chosen F-bomb you get with a PG-13 rating from star Kevin Costner. He plays the general manager of the beleaguered Cleveland Browns, who must juggle the demands of athletes, agents, team executives, competitors, the media, fans and even his own mother. There’s also a slightly mature subplot involving Costner’s relationship with a fellow executive, played by Jennifer Garner. But this isn’t the best film for kids and pre-teens — not because of anything inappropriate, but because they’ll be bored. Reitman focuses on the nitty-gritty of NFL machinations: the phone calls, manipulation and trading that go on between teams. But teens and up will probably enjoy it, especially if they’re into football (or even fantasy football).

Moms’ Night Out


Rating: PG, for some thematic elements and some action.

This Christian-themed action comedy is pretty wholesome and harmless for the whole family. Three stressed-out moms (Sarah Drew, Andrea Logan White and Patricia Heaton) dare to go out for a much-needed evening of fun. Crazy but ultimately faith-affirming things happen: a visit to a tattoo parlor, a chase involving the nicest bikers you’d ever hope to meet, and a trip to jail, eventually, where a wacky stun-gun accident occurs. An ugly fate befalls a pet bird but it takes place off-screen. No one drinks or even curses. This is perfectly suitable if you’re looking for bland, inoffensive entertainment for all ages. It’s also terrible.

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