Parental Guidance

Parental Guidance: If I Stay, When The Game Stands Tall, Plus The Amazing Spider-Man 2 on DVD

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

by | August 21, 2014 | Comments

In Theaters This Week:

If I Stay


Rating: PG-13, for thematic elements and some sexual material.

The latest movie based on a best-selling Young Adult novel takes place in the aftermath of a gruesome, deadly car accident. Chloe Grace Moretz’s Mia, a teen cello prodigy who’s headed to Juilliard, barely survives the crash and hovers in an out-of-body state, running around the hospital as various friends, family members and her rock-star boyfriend (Jamie Blackley) worry and wait for signs of life. Director R.J. Cutler’s film (like the Gayle Forman book it’s based on) jumps back and forth in time between Mia’s precarious, present-day state and the years leading up to it, which fill in her back story. These include some extremely chaste partying after the boyfriend’s concerts and on New Year’s Eve, as well as the moment in which Mia loses her virginity, which is implied rather than shown. Some of the images in the hospital are also quite bloody and traumatic. Probably fine for tweens and older.

When The Game Stands Tall


Rating: PG, for thematic material, a scene of violence and brief smoking.

This inspirational sports drama is based on the true story of the De La Salle High School Spartans of Concord, Calif., a football team that enjoyed a historic 151-game winning streak in the 1990s and early 2000s. Director Thomas Carter’s film focuses on how the players respond when they finally do lose a game, and how they bounce back following various traumas both on and off the field. A star player is shot to death outside a party and another player loses his mother to cancer. A wide receiver on the verge of breaking a touchdown record must deal with physical and emotional abuse from his demanding dad. And head coach Bob Ladouceur (Jim Caviezel) suffers from heart trouble because of his smoking habit. But the film’s messages about teamwork, dedication and sacrifice are worthwhile. Suitable for about age 8 or 9 and up.

New On DVD:

The Amazing Spider-Man 2


Rating: PG-13, for sequences of sci-fi action/violence.

Multiple villains populate this sequel to 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man, causing the kind of 3-D, computer-generated mayhem and violence you’d expect from a summer blockbuster about a comic-book character. Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker/Spider-Man must contend with Jamie Foxx’s Electro, who gets zapped by a bunch of electric eels when he falls into a vat at work, then uses his newfound powers to wreak havoc on New York City. (Times Square bears most of the brunt of his fury.) Peter also continues to investigate the mystery surrounding his parents’ fate, which includes a flashback to a frightening airplane ride. There’s the general threat of mass destruction at all times, as well as intimate moments of peril. These include the sight of a young boy dressed in a Spidey costume who dares to confront the metal beast Rhino (Paul Giamatti) in a moment reminiscent of Tiananmen Square. This is probably suitable for tweens and up, who’ve seen this sort of stuff many times before.