Alexander’s Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is a Walt Disney Studios motion picture based on a popular children’s book. It is rated PG due to rude humor, language, and behavior, and it is directed by Miguel Arteta. The cast includes Jennifer Garner, Steve Carell, and Ed Oxenbould.

Alexander Cooper comes home after a terrible day at school where he managed to set the science lab on fire. He hopes that his family will make him feel better. Rather than getting some much needed solace, he has to listen to them talk about what a great day they all had while they eat dinner together. Alexander goes to bed worrying about tomorrow which happens to be his birthday. He can’t sleep and decides to make a birthday sundae for himself. He adds a candle which he blows out and makes a wish. He wishes a bad day upon his family so that they would understand how he feels.

When he gets up the next morning he discovers the entire family has over slept. His dad needs to get to a job interview, and his mom worries about showing up late to a celebrity book reading that she’s in charge of. Emily, his sister, awakes with a cold on a day where she’s supposed to perform in the school musical. His brother will soon find out his evening at the junior prom won’t be perfect.

Although films like this often portray unrealistic situations, this movie does contain situations that many families may come up against. The switch is that in normal life you probably won’t experience all of these problems on one particular day. This fact makes the humor behind each scene relatable to the average parent. Children enjoy the slapstick comedy found throughout the film such as a baby licking a marker and turning his face green.

The parents are portrayed as hard working, intelligent, and caring. They try their hardest to turn things around for their children throughout the story. They try to make sure each child’s special event becomes just that, a special and memorable event.

Positive Element

The theme of this movie is to keep your head up when you’re in the middle of a terrible day. It will get better, and when it does, you’ll appreciate it all the more.

Throughout the film the characters support each other the way family should. It ends up making them even stronger than they were to begin with. They come together, and they find the humor in an otherwise horribly bad situation.

Sexual Element

After accidently walking in on her son while he’s in the bathroom, the mother makes the statement that she’s “seen every penis in the family.”

Reference is made to a teenage couple making out in a minivan. A toddler boy is shown using the potty without any clothes on, but explicit details are omitted.

Cell phone pictures show women in bikinis with a boy’s face placed over theirs. Three hired men who are supposed to perform at a child’s birthday party end up being strippers. After they are told to keep it PG they alter their performance and keep their clothes on.

The words “butt-crack” and “boobs” are in the movie as well as the dad announcing that he wishes he could swear.

Violent Element

One boy places another one’s face on pictures of women in bikinis with an app on his smartphone. After texting the images to classmates, the victim is ridiculed by his peers.

One character’s shirt is caught on fire during a scene in a restaurant. He does extinguish the flames without injury. Another scene depicts a student’s notebook in a science lab catching fire. The notebook catches a poster on fire as well, but the teacher is able to put both fires out.

While taking his driver’s exam a teen boy loses control of the car while answering his cell phone. Both the car and public property are damaged as a result.

Drug and Alcohol Element

A teenage girl who is suffering from a cold ingests a large amount of cough syrup. She does this so she can still be in the school’s play. She becomes drunk, and she is shown vomiting twice. In a restaurant characters are seen drinking socially.


The overall theme of caring for others elevates Alexander’s Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day above its shortcomings. It does give parents and children the chance to enjoy a live action movie about family and allows them to laugh together. It is not recommended for children 12 and under. Parents should take the PG rating seriously and consider their child’s age and maturity level before letting them to see this film. This is definitely not a family friendly movie for all ages.

Parents of any age child should discuss situations shown in the movie with their kids. Bullying, drunkenness, and bad language all make an appearance. Even though it is funny in the movie, they need to understand just how serious this behavior would be in real life and that it would have consequences.

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About Paul B. Murray
Paul is founder of Southern Outdoor Cinema, an outdoor cinema event production company based in Atlanta and a dad to 2 pre-teen girls. When he is is not traveling to create outdoor movie nights for communities, he is spending time playing board games, reading books and of course watching movies with his girls.

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5 Movies to watch on National Read a Book Day

Posted by Paul Murray on Monday Sep 1, 2014 Under Movie Articles

Movies About Books

September 6 is National Read a Book Day and this is one day that is truly about relaxing. Whether it be to a good book or to a great movie, this day should be spent focusing on you. Here are a few amazing movies perfect for celebrating the day with.

Nims Island

Nims Island tells the story of a young girl separated from her father and left alone on the island that they have been living on for quite some time now. When she finds a group of tour companies on the island with plans to destroy her paradise home, Nim is left to take matters into her own hands. She begins communicating with the author of one of her favorite books through emails, and comes up with a way to save her island home once and for all.


Inkheart is the story of a bookbinder with unimaginable skills the likes of which surprise even his own daughter. You see whenever he tells a story, the characters in the story are amazingly transported into the real world. One night while telling his daughter a bedtime story, he is kidnapped by the villain in the story, and it is up to his daughter and her adventurous friends to save dad. Watch Inkheart to see if the book is closed on this story once and for all.

The Neverending Story

The Neverending Story is a tale that brings fantasy and reality together for one young boy named Bastian (Barret Oliver). After his mother suddenly dies, Bastian is left to deal with things alone with his father (Gerald McRaney). If that weren’t bad enough, Bastian is also forced to deal with the school bullies who want to jump him in the schoolyard. He decides to cut school one day and ducks into a nearby bookstore. It is in the attic of the bookstore that Bastian finds a book called “The Neverending Story” and this is where his adventure begins. The book tells the story of the child-like empress (Tami Stronach) of Fantasia, who is very sick, and who needs help if she is to survive. The empress dispatches a young warrior named Atreju (Noah Hathaway) who searches the land looking for a cure for the empress. What Atreju finds is that Fantasia is just as sick as the empress and is being consumed by a plague that will destroy the land if help isn’t found soon. Bastian gets so engrossed in his reading that he somehow finds himself literally drawn into the story. He is found by Atreju and the two begin a quest to save both Fantasia and the empress while putting Bastian’s life together in the process.

The Tale of Despareaux

Despareaux Tilling is a tiny mouse with a tremendously big heart and a destiny to match. Dor is a kingdom that is experiencing a string of bad luck in that it suffers a terrible accident that leaves the king heartbroken and the the townspeople in complete despair. This once bright and colorful kingdom is now a world darkened by misfortune, and this world is the world that Despareaux is born into. This brave little mouse learns all too quickly just how important it is follow the rules of the land as Despareaux is banished from Dor after breaking one of the kingdom’s many rules. It is while exploring the outer realms that Despareaux meets a kindhearted rat named Roscuro, who was also banished from his kingdom, and the two become traveling buddies immediately. Despareaux finds himself embarking on a quest to save Princess Pea, Roscuro finds himself in the middle of a self destructive phase in his life, and the unlikely pair find themselves in the middle of a battle against the vicious leader of the sewer rats. Watch The Tale of Despareaux and follow Despareaux and Roscuro as they come to terms with their extraordinary destinies and the part that they play in saving the land.

Harry Potter

Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) is a young boy who finds out, on his 11th birthday, that he is the orphaned son a two very powerful wizards. He receives the message from Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane), a giant sent to rescue Harry from the uncle and aunt who have no interest in keeping him around. Harry is given an opportunity to attend Hogwarts, a school for the children of wizards, located in a magical realm just beyond the sight of normal humans. It is at Hogwarts that Harry learns the real reason behind his parent’s deaths. It is also at Hogwarts that Harry makes several amazing friends for life.


About Southern Outdoor Cinema

Southern Outdoor Cinema, LLC, is the LARGEST producer of high quality outdoor movie events in the United States for movie studios, film festivals, marketing agencies, Fortune 500 Companies, schools and cities. Southern Outdoor Cinema produces extraordinary outdoor movie experiences with big screens and bright and colorful images so that your audience members feel like they are at a real Hollywood film premiere. Contact Southern Outdoor Cinema to receive a free consultation for your next special event.

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