Innocent Entertainment
June 8, 2007 9:21 AM   Subscribe

I'm showing a group of single 20-something people a movie tomorrow night for a church activity. The leader of the church has said that the movie must be rated-G. Besides Napolean Dynomite (which everone has seen a million times) what is the best rated-G movie out there for that age group? Funny, entertaining, etc. Thanks.
posted by crapples to Society & Culture (64 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Napoleon Dynamite is rated PG.

The best G-rated movie ever is clearly 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Your church group should love it.
posted by xmutex at 9:24 AM on June 8, 2007 [3 favorites]

Why not use Rotten Tomatoes' Tomato Picker browser to narrow it down to your criteria by G-rating, genre, era, and rating?

Most of the movies that fit your criteria are animated films but then there are some live-action ones like Babe, or The Rookie.

If foreign film is an option, I highly recommend The Road Home, a recent Zhang Yimou work starring a pre-Crouching Tiger Zhang Ziyi.
posted by roomwithaview at 9:29 AM on June 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

Pee-Wee's Big Adventure? March of the Penguins? It's hard to think of a funny G-rated movie that isn't for little kids and that everyone probably hasn't already seen a million times. There are some PBS documentaries that are really captivating and would probably fit the bill as far as inoffensiveness goes but they aren't that funny, Country Boys comes to mind.
posted by Jess the Mess at 9:29 AM on June 8, 2007

Any of the Wallace and Gromit movies. Curse of the Warerabbit or Chicken Run.
posted by dog food sugar at 9:29 AM on June 8, 2007

Chicken Run is actually quite enjoyable on an adult level. Also, the Wallace & Gromit movie.
posted by nomad73 at 9:30 AM on June 8, 2007

Go for the classics.
I recommend Arsenic and Old Lace or the Marx Brothers. Still really funny.
posted by landedjentry at 9:31 AM on June 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

On the off chance that PG is okay, I recommend David Lynch's The Straight Story, which is a beautiful and poignant film about family and aging, and does not feature anything resembling a meat-baby or a dumpster-wraith.
posted by hermitosis at 9:32 AM on June 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

I second Babe. Also, I thought Millions was a really sweet movie and it has a positive depiction of Christianity to boot, although it is probably rated PG.
posted by Jess the Mess at 9:33 AM on June 8, 2007

The Incredibles was PG, but only for "action violence", so you might be able to get away with something like that.
posted by waterlily at 9:36 AM on June 8, 2007

How about an old Hollywood classic? Something from the Hayes era should be plenty G.
posted by yohko at 9:38 AM on June 8, 2007

How about The Muppet Movie? Amazon shows it as rated G.
posted by dilettante at 9:43 AM on June 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

David Mamet's The Winslow Boy (1999)

Yes, it's rated G. And it's Mamet. Kool-aid is for closers!
posted by The World Famous at 9:44 AM on June 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

Willy Wonka (the 1970's one) and Bedknobs and Broomsticks are two of this twentysomething's favorite movies. For a non-kid-themed one, I second yohko's suggestion: how about something like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington or His Girl Friday or even (not really funny, per se) Lost Horizon (which may especially appeal to Lost fans.)
posted by transona5 at 9:48 AM on June 8, 2007

I thought Finding Nemo was pretty funny and meets the criteria.
posted by 0xFCAF at 9:48 AM on June 8, 2007

If you haven't watched them yet, I strongly recommend Winged Migration and March of the Penguins. The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill. Also the Wallace and Gromit films are fun (also, Chicken Run by I think the same animators). Spellbound. David Lynch's The Straight Story (yes, that David Lynch; but it's not at all like his typically surreal and edgy films).
posted by aught at 9:50 AM on June 8, 2007

I second Millions. I think it would be just right for the demographic you describe. Not boring at all. It's by the same director that did Trainspotting.

Also, Babe Pig in the City rather than Babe.
posted by tfmm at 9:51 AM on June 8, 2007

Another recommendation for Wallace and Gromit. They are absolutely superb.
posted by jockc at 9:56 AM on June 8, 2007

Any Pixar film. Here's a list, from my favorite to my least favorite:

The Incredibles
Monsters, Inc.
Toy Story
A Bug's Life
Toy Story 2
Finding Nemo

(I'm 23, FYI)

posted by flyingcowofdoom at 9:57 AM on June 8, 2007

nth-ing Millions.
posted by malaprohibita at 10:04 AM on June 8, 2007

It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World.
posted by rhizome at 10:05 AM on June 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

A few ideas:

His Girl Friday
Buena Vista Social Club
The Odd Couple
The Twelve Chairs
A New Leaf
Yellow Submarine
Silent Running

And of course, all the Star Wars movies are G, except for Episode III.
posted by j-dawg at 10:08 AM on June 8, 2007

And, and with respect to its fans, The Straight Story retells the tale of a six week journey by tractor, and feels like it's presented in real time. Not a good choice for a general audience.
posted by j-dawg at 10:11 AM on June 8, 2007

You could watch something from the pre-rating days, too.

Some favorites:

Double Indemnity
The Maltese Falcon
Key Largo
The African Queen
The original Ocean's Eleven
(rated "Approved")

Never underestimate the awesomeness of old movies.

Oh, and the Star Wars movies aren't rated G. Sorry.
posted by The World Famous at 10:16 AM on June 8, 2007

Winged Migration is really fabulous -- fabulous enough for me to watch repeatedly -- but it is undeniably plodding and plotless and might leave your church singles sort at a loss for chatting afterward. It really is best enjoyed curled on a couch with an SO.

Disney? Lion King? Something from a 20-something-year-old's childhood?

Old movies can be great and G-rated, but might not appeal to your age group. Might be excessively.... old and churchy. Not such if that would be a problem.
posted by bluenausea at 10:17 AM on June 8, 2007

Non-animated choices:
Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines (1965) Probably not many of them would have seen this and it is an excellent family movie

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - another good family choice and now a stage production in the West End of London

and of course Mary Poppins.

(I might even throw in the Sound of Music as well).
posted by worker_bee at 10:19 AM on June 8, 2007

I just showed "The Princess Bride" to 50 women on a bus on the way to church camp. They loved it. Plenty of stuff in there for guys too.

It is rated PG, but it's pretty mild.
posted by clh at 10:21 AM on June 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

posted by The Straightener at 10:22 AM on June 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

Yeah, you guys, Millions is PG.

I support Babe. That movie fucking rules.
posted by mckenney at 10:23 AM on June 8, 2007

if you want a movie that no one has seen a bazillion times try The Hudsucker Proxy. You know, for kids. I'm not sure of the rating though. (where does one find ratings on IMDB?)
posted by Gungho at 10:23 AM on June 8, 2007

Or how about a Three Stooges marathon. At least the guys would like it....
posted by worker_bee at 10:25 AM on June 8, 2007

If you're going to recommend musicals, you might as well recommend the best one ever made (though its rated PG. People talk about "screw"-ing one another at one point.)
posted by ChasFile at 10:27 AM on June 8, 2007

I see that Hudsucker is rated PG, but I can't imagine why.
posted by Gungho at 10:28 AM on June 8, 2007

Something from their childhood = something they were sat in front of a hundred times in school and at similar functions, let alone at home. If it's going to be treacly crap for kids, I'd way prefer it to be something either so old or so new that I hadn't ever seen it.

Microcosmos is a good call!
posted by hermitosis at 10:29 AM on June 8, 2007

Old movies can be great and G-rated, but might not appeal to your age group. Might be excessively.... old and churchy.

I've never thought of classic film noir as being particularly "churchy."

Hitchcock movies would fit the bill, too.

My all time favorite movie, North By Northwest, is apparently rated G. Not the least bit churchy. And it's not arty, avant garde, or even black & white.

Cabaret, on the other hand, is the very definition of risque. Do not show it at a church function.
posted by The World Famous at 10:30 AM on June 8, 2007

Cabaret is not appropriate for a church function, I'd imagine. Lewd and lascivious cabaret acts and a homosexual love triangle are not exactly what the poster is after (as much as I love the film).
posted by hermitosis at 10:31 AM on June 8, 2007

I'd recommend going for an older movie, pre-MPAA, if you really need something that can't be even PG. There's a lot of good cinema, too many to really even make recommendations, so I'd just pick a genre and go from there, maybe using the AFI Top 100 Movies list or something similar. (And also, what's the crowd going to be like? Is this going to be a "Maltese Falcon" kind of group?)

If PG is okay, then The Princess Bride would be my pick.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:33 AM on June 8, 2007

Thirding David Lynch's The Straight Story. More people should see that wonderful film. One acquaintance of mine called it "pure religion", appropriately, I think. Note that it moves at the pace of lazy summer day, though, so if your audience has a short attention span, maybe consider something else.

I'd also second The Road Home -- delightful and inspirational (and dating oriented, which may be a bonus or bane for this particular singles group, depending). And it passed muster to be shown at BYU's international cinema, so it should be kosher if your church group isn't more strict about content than a Mormon university. But again... this is a character drama. Not as slow moving as Straight Story, but nothing blows up and there aren't many chase scenes, so, gauge your audience.

I also want to point out that it's almost inevitable that any choice you make will offend someone. I chose The Princess Bride for a group when I was managing a summer camp at BYU. I thought it was a squeaky clean film if there ever was one, but no, someone got offended because the word 'breast' was used. How that girl's parents got her into a bra is beyond me.
posted by weston at 10:38 AM on June 8, 2007

Cabaret, on the other hand, is the very definition of risque.

I don't know about that: there is no nudity, no swearing, no graphic violence. There is a good amount of sexual content, but its almost all the fantastic, verbal kind, and not at all graphic. Nothing beyond first base ever occurs on-screen. I think it strikes a good balance between maintaining a high level of decorum while being a mature, adult film.

I think nixing a film because it has gay people in it is pretty absurd; many of the animated films mentioned above have effete, "gay" characters in them. Almost every Hitchcock film is practically bursting with sexual anxiety. March of the Penguins has a sex scene in it that is probably more graphic than anything that happens in Cabaret. But to each their own.
posted by ChasFile at 10:44 AM on June 8, 2007

Some non-kiddie possibilities:

1. Dark Side of the Rainbow (Wizard of Oz with the Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon) soundtrack. G rated fun with a humorous, dark adult-themed slant.

2. Rifftrax. I think they mock some G-rated titles, and the commentary is humorous and probably in the PG area but not rated by any MPAA type authority.
posted by antipasta_explosion at 10:53 AM on June 8, 2007

How about one of the 31 Elvis movies?
posted by The World Famous at 10:57 AM on June 8, 2007

I guess its a matter of where you draw the line on "offensive:" sex & violence depicted on screen, or even the presence of those adult themes in dialog, etc. That's a call you have to make yourself.

Also, the real reason I felt compelled to post again is that revealing that there is a bisexual love triangle is a pretty major spoiler, and that's not very cool.
posted by ChasFile at 10:58 AM on June 8, 2007

Does it have to be a film, or can it be a documentary? Spellbound (wiki) is absolutely fantastic, and the age group is perfect. It's rated G.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 11:06 AM on June 8, 2007

Bringing up Baby with Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant is a great movie. It's rated NR - Suitable for Children.
posted by Elaisa at 11:07 AM on June 8, 2007

I just went to a midnight movie of the Muppets Take Manhattan, and the room was filled with overjoyed twentysomethings. But the Muppet Movie is better.

Cabaret is not what you're looking for.
posted by Bookhouse at 11:15 AM on June 8, 2007

Seconding The Parrots of Telegraph Hill. Sort of "dry" in terms of style but I was absolutely transfixed and for like a day afterward I walked around in love with the world. Just beautiful and surprising.

And not a single thing in it that would be offensive to anyone.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 11:21 AM on June 8, 2007

I highly recommend the old movies. There have been some great suggestions.

Bringing up Baby
Desk Set
Pillow Talk
Arsenic and Old Lace

I could go on and on. I love old movies!

I am 27.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 11:22 AM on June 8, 2007

Harold and Maude is an excellent movie for 20 something singles, especially if you're a bit older yourself. I must have seen it when I was 9 or 10, so it's probably safe for 20+ year old church folk.
posted by roue at 11:23 AM on June 8, 2007

Microcosmos is a good call!

I just saw it for the first time this week. When that dung beetle got his little poopy ball dislodged from the twig that impaled it I almost jumped up yelling like I was watching the Stanley Cup or something.
posted by The Straightener at 11:37 AM on June 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

Seconding the Marx brothers. "A Night at the Opera" is my personal favorite.

Also seconding "The Muppets take Manhattan."

"What's up Doc?" is pretty cheesy, but good for some laughs.
posted by SBMike at 11:41 AM on June 8, 2007

"singin in the rain"
nthing marx brothers, specifically Horse Feathers, as it is about college life, ostensibly.
and if you dont love the muppet movie, i have serious doubts as to your value as a person.
posted by softlord at 11:49 AM on June 8, 2007

The original Italian Job is rated G.
posted by Mitheral at 11:50 AM on June 8, 2007

Just a nitpick, but The Straight Story is not rated PG, it is G-rated. For David Lynch, this was a notable departure.
posted by Eldritch at 11:57 AM on June 8, 2007

North By Northwest is a great choice, and it's shocking how many people haven't seen that film.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:31 PM on June 8, 2007

When that dung beetle got his little poopy ball dislodged from the twig that impaled it I almost jumped up yelling like I was watching the Stanley Cup or something.

posted by neuron at 12:41 PM on June 8, 2007

Does it have to be an American movie?

How about: El Norte -- a brother and sister flee Guatemala and try to survive as undocumented workers in the U.S. There are two horrifying moments (both mentioned in the review linked) but nothing remotely sexual or crude. It's beautiful, it's topical (it's not at all as much a downer as Ebert's review might imply) -- I'd think it would be perfect for a twenty-something church group.
posted by Methylviolet at 12:42 PM on June 8, 2007

I like old movies too. Sitting Pretty (1948) is subversive and hysterical. It appears to have no rating, actually, but is definitely G stuff.
posted by contessa at 1:40 PM on June 8, 2007

Nthing Babe, Spellbound. I kinda got the nauseous jibblies from Winged Migration, so no thumbs-up there.
posted by solid-one-love at 1:41 PM on June 8, 2007

ChasFile, if the church leader is sensitive enough to set such a low rating as the standard, then s/he is definitely not looking for boundaries to be pushed at all, whether conceptually or explicitly.

Clip from Cabaret, for example. Imagine watching that at a church function... awkward.
posted by hermitosis at 2:05 PM on June 8, 2007

I can't believe I totally forgot about all the old unrated movies. How about His Girl Friday, Sullivan's Travel's or The Palm Beach Story. Those are all funny and romantic which would be good for a singles' group.
posted by Jess the Mess at 2:57 PM on June 8, 2007

Microcosmos is seriously a good call.

(Perhaps not for this crowd, perhaps)

Worth looking into, either way.
posted by Ian.I.Am at 3:42 PM on June 8, 2007

Another nixing of "Cabaret" here as being totally wrong for a church group: did you forget the part about the three-way M/M/F relationship, including implied three-way sex while they're all at the villa, leading to an unmarried pregnancy of undetermined parentage, leading to Sally getting the abortion (she swaps the fur coat to pay for it), which is largely in response to her not wanting to trap a homosexual (Brian) into a heterosexual marriage with her, because she says she knows he'll eventually cheat on her? Yeah, this one is not for a church group.

If you want a musical, "The Sound of Music" sounds like a far better choice for this crowd.

Ooooh, or how about "UHF", with Weird Al Yankovic? It's PG, but totally, totally clean and very funny.
posted by Asparagirl at 4:06 PM on June 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

First, if you're looking for something more contemporary, try Akeelah and the Bee. I don't know what the rating is, but it was perfectly fine for any age I can imagine. And it doesn't have that nervously old feel about it. I personally like old films (as do, apparently, most of the people commenting here, but there's a segment of the population that want things more new-release-y).

I'm going to n-th Babe and I think I might be alone in enjoying the sequel, Babe: Pig in the City. The "thank the pig" scene has some wonderful Christian resonances, I think.

"And it passed muster to be shown at BYU's international cinema, so it should be kosher if your church group isn't more strict about content than a Mormon university." BYU's International Cinema isn't always the safest bet. I watched the deliciously wicked Delicatessen there, as far as I could tell, unedited. Profanity in the subtitles and all. I think it was during that film I realized I wanted to marry the woman who is now my wife. That was, of course, in the good old days, nearly fifteen years ago.
posted by terceiro at 6:36 PM on June 8, 2007

I've got to second "the Winslow Boy" which is my favorite G rated movie of all time.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:07 AM on June 9, 2007

Sorry, it's a little late for you now but The Parent Trap (the old one, not the new one) would fit this wonderfully.
posted by anaelith at 3:13 PM on June 9, 2007

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