The family that road-trips together ... must stay sane.
Those little red plastic boxes could save your family road trip from spiraling into mayhem. Here’s why: You can rent films at your first potty-break spot and have the kids entertained until the next stop, where you can return the movies and rent some more.
That’s right: You can return your rented DVDs at any Redbox location. This gives you the luxury of not having to lug around the DVDs that no one is watching at home and allows your family (and the driver) a peaceful drive to your spring break destination.
Pro tip: On your smartphone or tablet, log in to your Redbox account to “find a box” along your route, then reserve the DVDs to save some time. If you have more than one child, let them take turns choosing one film so no gets left out.
Here are five film recommendations for your road trip (all made my top family films of 2016):
Disney’s “Zootopia” introduces us to an evolved Eden where animal species — predators and prey — live in a melting pot in a modern mammal metropolis. On the surface, Zootopia is a witty, wondrous buddy-cop film filled with enough childlike antics that 5-year-olds in the audience squealed with delight and shuddered during some slightly scary moments for the protagonists. At a deeper level, the Academy Award-winning film allows parents to bring tough topics to the dining-room table, topics such as bullying, stereotyping and inclusiveness.
2. ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’
From its captivating narration and first stormy scene, “Kubo and the Two Strings” lures the audience into its vivid storytelling and exquisite execution of stop-motion animation. The Oscar-nominated film does have some scenes that may be too frightful for the youngest audiences. Overall, the story of family and compassion will resonate with all.
3. ‘Finding Dory’
On Dory’s journey to find her mom (Diane Keaton) and dad (Eugene Levy), she meets Hank (Ed O’Neill), a testy octopus and escape artist; Bailey (Ty Burrell), an over-dramatic beluga whale; and Destiny (Kaitlin Olson), a nearsighted whale shark. The film nicely fleshes out the back story of Dory, who was an affable but two-dimensional character in “Finding Nemo.” Parents will appreciate the exploration of Dory’s short-term memory loss to teach how one’s struggles could turn into strengths.
4. ‘The Secret Life of Pets’
So what do your pets do when you’re not at home? That’s the premise behind the animated film “The Secret Life of Pets,” which is cute, charming and a little hyper — just like a new puppy. With all of the comedic stars in its cast, the film has a fair share of LOL moments. And while you won’t find any revelatory insight into the mind of your pet, parents and children alike will fall for this fun, fast-paced tale about furry friends.
5. ‘The Jungle Book’
In the opening sequence of Disney’s retelling of the classic novel “The Jungle Book,” Mowgli (played delightfully by newcomer Neel Sethi) runs through the jungle like a live-action version of the video game “Temple Run.” Based on Rudyard Kipling’s timeless tale of a “man-cub” being raised by a family of wolves, the new film’s stunning computer-generated creatures and backdrop put audiences right in the middle of the jungle.