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Posted at 1:07 PM ET, 12/30/2010

Family Filmgoer's Top 10 of 2010

By Jane Horwitz


In compiling this list, The Family Filmgoer looked critically at the quality of films, then assessed whether families can enjoy them together, and starting from what age. Those criteria kept a good film, "Easy A" (PG-13), and a great film, "The Social Network" (PG-13), out of the mix because of the level of sexuality and, in the case of "The Social Network," the level of dissipation, they depict. High-quality animated films, such as "Despicable Me" (PG) and "Megamind" (PG) didn't make the final list because so much of their humor seems geared to older audiences.
There wasn't room, either, for the documentary "Waiting for Superman" (PG), about the state of American education in cites, but it is something every parent and plenty of kids 12 and older should see.

So, caveats aside, here's The List of best family films of 2010, all of which are still in theaters or available in DVD:

Animated and Live-Action Fantasies

1) "Toy Story 3" (G). Funny and poignant in showing how brief and precious childhood is and how sad when it ends. 7 and older.

2) "Alice in Wonderland" (PG). Tim Burton's wildly inventive live-action/digital effects/3-D riff also takes an end-of-childhood view. Alice is now a young woman. 10 and older.

3) "How to Train Your Dragon" (PG). A young Viking spares a dragon's life, befriends it, going against his people's tradition, ultimately teaching peaceful coexistence to his elders. Funny and smart. 8 and older.

4) "Tangled" (PG). An animated 3-D update of the "Rapunzel" fairy tale. Very, very funny and not scary, with some priceless musical comedy bits. 6 and older.

Live-Action Real-World Stories

5) "Ramona and Beezus" (G). A friendly, charmingly acted adaptation of the Beverly Cleary books, about dreamy 9-year-0ld Ramona and how she deals with issues, such as a parent's job loss, that come up in her loving family. 7 and older.

6) "The Karate Kid" (PG). Jaden Smith is a charmer in this nifty remake as a boy who moves to China with his mom and triumphs over bullies by learning Kung-Fu from a janitor (Jackie Chan). 10 and older.

7) "Unstoppable" (PG-13). The one action movie of the year that keeps your adrenaline flowing with a runaway train, Denzel Washington's star power and no horrific events. Middle-schoolers on up.

For older teens

8) "True Grit" (PG-13). A gorgeously filmed and acted, highly eccentric, very violent Western. Not to be missed by film buffs of high-school age and older.

9) "Inception" (PG-13). The surreal images and thinking in this sci-fi fantasy break new cinematic ground and blow your mind. Okay for middle-schoolers, but intellectually more for high-schoolers on up.

10) "The King's Speech" (R). Stupidly rated R for strong profanity (nonsexual use of the F-word) in speech therapy scenes about King George VI of England trying to overcome a stuttering problem, this fine film makes a king human and brings history to life. Most teens on up.

By Jane Horwitz  | December 30, 2010; 1:07 PM ET
Categories:  Movies  
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