Except for the few post-Labor Day states, school has started in the majority of the country, so this week's '10 for Families' is back-to-school themed. There are once again some '80s goodies (what can I say, I loved my primary-and-middle-school decade) with some more contemporary picks and a holdover from last week in case you're still desperate for some theatrical concessions. So take a two-hour break from the academics this weekend and watch one of these with your family. The selections vary from G-rated musicals and documentaries to R-rated dramas, so there's something for every family configuration. (For more on this weekend's new releases, check out our What to See guide.)

1. For High-School Classics: 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' (PG-13) - on DVD
Who's In It:
Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, Mia Sara
What It's About:
Caution: Teens, don't try this at home. You're most likely not as smart as Ferris, and your parents are surely not as easy to push over as the Buellers. On the bright side, you definitely don't have a principal with a personal vendetta like Jeffrey Jones' unforgettable, unstoppable Principal Rooney. If Broderick's entire career came down to just one film, it would be this: his Ferris is clever, witty, handsome, wealthy, popular and hip -- if a bit selfish. This adventure in a day of skipping school isn't iconic because of nostalgia factor (although there's loads), but because it's just that good. Ohhh yeaaah.

Buy or rent the DVD

Except for the few post-Labor Day states, school has started in the majority of the country, so this week's '10 for Families' is back-to-school themed. There are once again some '80s goodies (what can I say, I loved my primary-and-middle-school decade) with some more contemporary picks and a holdover from last week in case you're still desperate for some theatrical concessions. So take a two-hour break from the academics this weekend and watch one of these with your family. The selections vary from G-rated musicals and documentaries to R-rated dramas, so there's something for every family configuration. (For more on this weekend's new releases, check out our What to See guide.)

1. For High-School Classics: 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' (PG-13) - on DVD
Who's In It:
Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, Mia Sara
What It's About:
Caution: Teens, don't try this at home. You're most likely not as smart as Ferris, and your parents are surely not as easy to push over as the Buellers. On the bright side, you definitely don't have a principal with a personal vendetta like Jeffrey Jones' unforgettable, unstoppable Principal Rooney. If Broderick's entire career came down to just one film, it would be this: his Ferris is clever, witty, handsome, wealthy, popular and hip -- if a bit selfish. This adventure in a day of skipping school isn't iconic because of nostalgia factor (although there's loads), but because it's just that good. Ohhh yeaaah.

Buy or rent the DVD



Mean Girls2. For a Primer on How Not to Act in School: 'Mean Girls' (PG-13) - on DVD
Who's In It: Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Tina Fey
What It's About:
For a moment, let's just forget about all of Lohan's myriad Troubles, and remember her as the fine young actress she can be, under the right circumstances. The right circumstances here is a whip-smart comedy written by Fey. Lohan is perfectly cast as the outsider who's welcomed into the inner circle of her high-school's queen bees (scene-stealer McAdams, along with the hilariously vapid Amanda Seyfried and Lacey Chabert). This could be an instructional video for young women -- please, don't be a 'Mean Girl'! You'll get yours in the end.

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Dead Poets Society3. For Teacher-Student Inspiration: 'Dead Poets Society' (PG) - on DVD
Who's In It: Robin Williams, Robert Sean Leonard, Ethan Hawke
What It's About:
Chances are slim your teenager attends a posh, all-white New England boarding school, but that doesn't mean he or she won't learn to carpe diem thanks to a life-changing, motivational teacher like Williams' Mr. Keating. Parents can marvel at how young Leonard, Hawke and Josh Charles -- and Williams -- look, and teens can a) thank the Almighty that their mom and dad aren't anything like Neil's soul-crushing parents and b) hope they too will have a prof to passionately yawp "Oh captain! my captain!" to this year.

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone4. For Boarding School Magic: 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone' (PG) - on DVD
Who's In It: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson
What It's About:
It is completely possible, however, that your child *thinks* he's enrolled at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (believe me, I hear spells flying all the time in my house -- even my toddler says "Lumos!"). If you want to be truly prepared for "the beginning of the end" -- aka 'Deathly Hallows: Part I' this November, it's time to start at the very beginning with Harry's first encounter with magic, Hagrid, Hedwig, his best friends Ron and Hermione, and nemeses like a dangerous Troll and a two-headed evil professor.

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St. Trinian's5. For Boarding School Shenanigans: 'St. Trinian's' (PG-13) - on DVD
Who's In It:
Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Gemma Arterton
What It's About: And for a look at how girls fare at boarding school, here's a thoroughly slapsticky farce about the worst all-girls school in England. Even their Head Girl (the always irresistible Arterton) is in on the misbehavior. There's moonshine and weaponry and all manner of craziness at St. Trinian's, most of it condoned by the headmistress played by Everett in drag. A remake of a1950s British comedy based on a popular cartoon series, this updated version is quite funny -- although you may need to ask a Brit to explain some of the jokes.

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The Sound of Music6. For Homeschooling Tales: 'The Sound of Music' (G) - on DVD
Who's In It: Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Eleanor Parker
What It's About: Writing about all those boarding schools made me think of the film where the words were uttered like a curse -- by none other than that tarty Baroness. Here's to the ultimate governess (well, without magical powers, anyway), who teaches all those von Trapp children how to sing, how to play, how to enjoy being children again, and how even the most innocent, inexperienced of women could fall blissfully in love with someone she never expected to find attractive. It's a love story, a musical, a war drama, all rolled into one. And I defy you to find someone who can resist the songs!

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March of the Penguins7. For Intro to Documentaries 101: 'March of the Penguins' (G) - on DVD
Who's In It: The voice of Morgan Freeman and a bunch of adorable Emperor penguins
What It's About:
To those who are completely uninterested in nature documentaries -- this one is sure to change your mind. Yes, it's about the life-cycle of the Emperor penguin, but it's so compelling you'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll applaud. Plus, the velvety voiced Freeman narrates the entire story. Be warned: Not all of the penguins survive, and in one particularly harrowing scene, a penguin couple loses their egg, so keep the Kleenex on hand if you (or your little ones) can't handle the grief.

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Little Women8. For Page-to-Screen Studies: 'Little Women' (PG) - on DVD
Who's In It: Winona Ryder, Susan Sarandon, Claire Danes
What It's About: I'm not claiming that the 1994 version is better than George Cukor's 1933 original starring Katharine Hepburn as Jo March, but Gilliam Armstrong's adaptation shines with great casting (I can take or leave Ryder as Jo, but Danes as Beth, Sarandon as Marmee and Gabriel Byrne as Friedrich is simply divine) and positive themes (about feminism, family and faith) that are such a joy to revisit again and again. It's truly one of the best literary adaptations of the past 20 years.

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The Breakfast Club9. For Advanced High-School Studies: 'The Breakfast Club' (R) - on DVD
Who's In It: Emilio Estevez, Molly Ringwald, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy, Anthony Michael Hall
What It's About:
Not every parent wants to see an R-rated movie with their teens, but if you're OK with it, and especially if this was one of your favorite movies back in the '80s, then go for it. It's still a must-see for high-schoolers. The stereotypes may have changed, but not as much as you think. The brain, athlete, basket case, princess and criminal still entertain, still speak to adolescents, even if the music and the clothes are now ridiculously dated. Sigh. John Hughes, we'll never forget about you.

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Nanny McPhee Returns10. For One Last Trip to the Movies: 'Nanny McPhee Returns' (PG) - in theaters
Who's In It: Emma Thompson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Rhys Ifans
What It's About: Thompson reprises her role as Nanny McPhee -- the ugliest nanny in the world -- in this 'Babe'-meets-'Mary Poppins' sequel that finds her helping a frazzled army wife (Gyllenhaal) keep her farm afloat and her three country kids from killing their snooty London cousins. Synchronized-swimming piglets, baby elephants, an adorable youngest child and sweet-talking hit women are just a few of the reasons this British family flick will tickle your kids.

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