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Top films: The best family fare from 2011

Published: Thursday, Dec. 29 2011 4:25 p.m. MST

In 2011, the silver screen shone with an abundance of wholesome films. From familiar franchises ("The Muppets," "Winnie the Pooh") to under-the-radar Christian-themed fare ("Warrior," "Courageous"), you could find it all at the movies this year. With the year coming to a close, we offer our top family movies of 2011. They were chosen not just for their level of appropriateness (in fact, many are not recommended for very young audiences), but for storytelling and themes that convey positive values and teaching moments. Films are listed in the order they were released. And don't be holding your breath hoping to find "Bridesmaids" or the latest "Harold and Kumar" reboot. We only considered movies we think parents will feel comfortable taking teens to see.
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A voice of Reason
Salt Lake City, UT

I loved Hugo! Great film with a wonderful story.

D.N., as much as everyone likes a 'top 10' list- there are a few online trends worth keeping up with. Listing all films on one page would be less tedious and for those who have slower connections, would be an easier format to use. This is nothing more than a friendly suggestion.

Lagomorph
Salt Lake City, UT

Article, on "Courageous": "...even though the acting is mediocre and Christian themes are bluntly overt... only 37 percent of critics liked the films while a whopping 93 percent of audience attendees liked it."

I would hope that a Top Ten list would consider the technical merits of a film as well as the thematic content. It's hard to see how a film that even the compiler of the list concedes has mediocre acting and clumsy screenwriting could qualify as a Top Ten film.

The gap between critics and viewers in the Rotten Tomatoes ratings is easy to explain. Critics are looking at the film as a whole, as a creative work of art, and responding to the quality of the script, acting, and production values, which even the DesNews writer admits are not great. Viewers are reacting from the gut with a more emotional response that is related to the theme of the film. Also, for a niche film like "Courageous," only people predisposed to like it are likely to see it. It's not hard to imagine that the viewer ratings are pumped up by highly motivated group of viewers actively trying to raise its profile.

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