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Five for Families: Live-action Christmas films to kick off the season
Jimmy Stewart stars in "It's a Wonderful Life." - photo by Deseret Connect
With December right around the corner, kick off the Christmas season with these live-action holiday films.

Amazon Instant: 'It's a Wonderful Life'

An angel gives a man a glimpse of what life would be like without him. Common Sense Media calls the film a Christmas classic that takes on the human condition in all its complexity. While the film contains some dated behavior particularly in the way an African-American maid is treated, Common Sense Media also highlights its beautiful message about how much each person means to the world. According to the website, audiences can expect some gunshots, a short fist-fight, and other scenes involving temper issues as well as the despair that drives George to consider ending his own life but overall this is a family friendly pick for the holidays (or anytime)." recommends the film for viewers ages 4 and older.

iTunes: 'The Muppet Christmas Carol'

The Muppets take on Charles Dickens holiday classic tale, which results in a wonderfully corny comedy (that) solicits laughs with hardly any profanity that is full of sight gags, according to Parent Previews. The website highlights the presence of a few touching scenes and praises the films music with catchy lyrics that help to move the story along. recommends the film for viewers ages 3 and older.

iTunes: 'Jack Frost'

An often-absent father who never keeps his promises dies in a car accident but returns a year later as a snowman with one last chance to make things right with his son. Parent Previews says that although the film offers a little charm and portrays a father going the extra mile to patch things up with his son, it also includes some crude remarks. recommends the film for viewers ages 10 and older.

Amazon Instant: 'Home Alone'

When an 8-year-old boy is accidentally left home alone while his family goes on Christmas vacation, he must protect their home from burglars. calls it a delightful movie with a generous supply of humor that portrays a young boy learning important lessons. The website warns, however, that there is quite a bit of slapstick violence shown as the boy defends himself and his home. recommends the film for viewers ages 9 and older.

iTunes: 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas'

Based on the well-known Dr. Seuss story, the hard-hearted Grinch is intent on ruining Christmas for all the people of Whoville. emphasizes that the film retains the central message that theres more to Christmas than presents and augments it with tremendous visual and special effects but cautions that it contains infrequent scatological humor and some slapstick violence. recommends the film for viewers ages 7 and older.
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