Father of Cinemaparenting recommends 11 films to watch with your daughter in 2011

Instead of letting Miley Cyrus, Gossip Girl, Teen Mom's Amber Portwood, Jersey Shore's Snooki and Lady Gaga be role models, parents should be more involved with what their daughters consume and turn negative messages into positive lessons.
By: Chad Freeman
Dec. 31, 2010 - PRLog -- There’s been a lot of discussion this past year about young celebrity women and their place as role models for young girls. But instead of expecting Miley Cyrus, Taylor Momsen (Gossip Girl), Amber Portwood (Teen Mom), Alexis and Collin Gosselin (Kate Plus Eight), Snooki (Jersey Shore) and Lady Gaga to teach them how to act, bestselling author Dr. Gary Solomon believes in taking negative messages and transforming them into positive lessons.

“We spend too much time looking for the negative,” said Dr. Solomon, who has had his works profiled in Prevention, Entertainment Weekly, Self, and The Wall Street Journal. “Open the lines of communication to your children and reach them in a place where they can talk and learn.”

Dr. Solomon gained notoriety as “The Movie Doctor” after the release of his first bestseller, The Motion Picture Prescription: Watch this Movie and Call Me in the Morning in 1995. Reel Therapy: How Movies Inspire You to Overcome Life’s Problems followed in 2001 and Cinemaparenting: Using Movies to Teach Life's Most Important Lessons in 2005.

The tenured professor of psychology at the College of Southern Nevada uses the latest news in his classes, but says watching movies with your child is an even easier way to do this.
Dr. Solomon says Cinemaparenting uses stories and messages dramatized in movies so that parents can open doors to communication that otherwise might have remained closed.

But good role models for girls in movies seem to be lacking as much as in real life. Damsel-in-distress Disney princess films are a billion-dollar empire and according to the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, the ratio of male to female characters is three to one in movies, and two to one on television.

Mulan was recommended recently on the physician-mothers blog MothersinMedicine.com. The post was ended with the question “Does anyone have any other examples of movies we can show our daughters to inspire them not to turn into whiny brats ogling some handsome prince?” Shrek and Bend it like Beckham were among suggestions from readers.

Disney’s latest animated film Tangled seems to be positive as well. Tangled features what Shelley Fralic of the Vancouver Sun says is an “emancipated princess.” Rapunzel “is brighter and far more enterprising than her Disney sisters,” Fralic wrote of the box office hit.

However, according to Dr. Solomon, if parents dig a little deeper and become more involved in what their children view there are plenty of positive, inspirational films from which to choose.

With that in mind, here are 11 films Dr. Solomon is recommending you watch with your daughters in 2011 that offer healing themes, life lessons and empowering role models.

11.  The Boy with Green Hair (1948) - Joseph Losey film was part of the inspiration behind Dr. Solomon’s Cinemaparenting. The film stars Pat O’Brien and Dean Stockwell and centers on a boy that is rejected by a town after his hair turns green. “The great message of this movie is that people have the right, the choice, to be different,” Solomon said. (Unrated, recommended for ages 7 and up.)

10. My Girl (1991) – Dan Aykroyd, Jamie Lee Curtis, Macaulay Culkin and Anna Chlumsky star in this Howard Zieff film set in 1972. “Many parents and guardians have difficulty contemplating life’s most universal feature, death,” Solomon said. “They are terrified to talk about it with their children. My Girl approaches the subject in a gentle, nonthreatening manner.” (PG)

9. Brokedown Palace (1997) - Jonathan Kaplan’s film starring Claire Danes and Kate Beckinsale tells the story of two women that get arrested for smuggling while vacationing in Thailand. “You don’t want to make your children afraid of the world, but you do want to make them smart, cautious and aware of their surroundings,” Dr. Solomon said. (PG-13)

8. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1994) – Lasse Hallstrom’s film stars Johnny Depp, Juliette Lewis and Leonardo Dicaprio. It deals with prejudices, family obstacles and becoming an adult before your time.“This is a movie with a lot of wonderful, healing messages,” Dr. Solomon said. “We heal when we get in touch with feelings that we don’t want to deal with.” (PG-13)

7. Steel Magnolias (1989) – Dr. Solomon says Herbert Ross’ film gives a “beautiful portrayal of the intimate relationship between mother and daughter.” Starring Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine, Darryl Hannah, Olympia Dukakis and Julia Roberts, Steel Magnolias is, according to Dr. Solomon, “a touching movie that will reach inside of you.” (PG)

6. Terms of Endearment (1983) – James L. Brooks’ film shows 30 years of ups and downs in a mother/daughter relationship. “This movie is for those of you who are having problems communicating with other family members,” Dr. Solomon said. “It’s also for those who are working at letting go of someone who has died.” Terms of Endearment stars MacLaine, Jack Nicholson, Debra Winger, John Lithgow, Jeff Daniels and Danny DeVito. (PG)

5. Drop Dead Fred (1991) – Dr. Solomon calls Ate DeJon’s film, which stars Phobe Cates, one of his all-time favorite movies. Drop Dead Fred tells the story of a young woman and her rambunctious imaginary friend from childhood. “You can act like an adult and have a job and get married,” Dr. Solomon said. “You can even have children yourself, but you will never feel like an adult until you come to terms with your past.” (PG-13)

4. Benny and Joon (1993) – Jeemia Chechik directed this film that stars Depp and Mary Stuart Masterson. “Benny and Joon is a love story,” Dr. Solomon said. “It teaches us that there is someone in this world for everyone. This movie is here to tell you that if Benny and Joon can find each other, your special someone is just around the corner.” (PG)

3. Welcome to the Doll House (1996) – Todd Solondz’s film is about a girl named Dawn played by Heather Matarazzo. Day in and day out, Dawn is made fun of at school. She is called “Dog Face” and “Wiener Dog” by her seventh-grade peers. Dr. Solomon says he was a bit like Dawn as a boy and was known as the “dumbest kid in the school.” He hopes that anyone that watches this will no longer find a reason to treat Dawn, himself and others with such disrespect and disregard. “Be kind, not mean to others,” Dr. Solomon said. “Help, rather than hurt. Be loving instead of hateful.” (Rated R for language and subject matter.)

2. Norma Rae (1979) – Martin Ritt directed this film that centers on a textile mill worker played by Field. The young single mother and agrees to help unionize her mill despite the problems and dangers involved. “Every once in a while, we need to be reminded to stand up for what we believe,” Dr. Solomon said. “That’s what Norma Rae does for us: She makes us realize how important our human rights are in this world.” (PG)

1. Pretty in Pink (1986) – Directed by Howard Deutch from a John Hughes script, Pretty in Pink finds the a poor but fashion-conscious Andie Walsh, played by Molly Ringwald, having to choose between the affections of her best friend Duckie and a rich playboy. “Teaching children to be individuals with strong moral character can be a trying task for parents,” Dr. Solomon said. “Andie is a model of the kind of person who makes the world a better place. She sticks to her beliefs. Her strong ethical and moral character won’t allow her to be torn from those beliefs by love or money.” (PG-13)

What do you think of Dr. Solomon's list?

What do you think of young celebrity women as role models?

Are there any other movies that parents should watch with their daughters?

Join in on the conversation at http://www.facebook.com/balladforallison

Connect with Dr. Solomon online




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SocialMediaChad.com is the home of Chad Freeman, the social media specialist of the Las Vegas PR firm MassMedia Corporate Communications. His blog's mantra is "Educate! Engage! Entertain! Empower!"
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Page Updated Last on: Dec 31, 2010

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