"The Lego Movie"

This joyously silly animated film, built from everyone's favorite brightly colored plastic bricks, is one of the best kid's movies I've seen in a long time.

Chris Pratt stars as the voice of Emmet, a round peg in the very angular Lego world where everyone works as part of the larger collective to build and run society in an orderly way. But it turns out there's an evil president and Emmet teams up with a cavalcade of famous Lego characters, from C-3PO to Batman, to try and save the day.

Shot in a very creative style, this is not a traditional cartoon, but instead it appears as if the Lego figurines are alive and dwell in an all-Lego world. On top of this visual treat, the jokes are funny, the action compelling and an infectious love for all things Lego permeates throughout.

Not just for Lego-obsessed boys; my 10-year-old daughter also thought it was terrific. Fine for kids at least 5 years old. (PG: Rude humor). 1 hour and 40 minutes.

Ratings (out of 4 stars):

Overall: 3½ stars

Kids: 4 stars

Teens: 2½ stars

Adults: 3 stars

Seniors: 2½ stars

Should you watch it? Yes -- a fabulous film for kids and their parents.

"Friday Night Lights"

I am admittedly late to this party -- as in the party's hosts are asleep and the doors locked late. But if you are like me and made the mistake of missing this top-notch series when it originally aired on NBC, don't be deterred.

Friends repeatedly recommend "Friday Night Lights," and we relented despite initial reluctance due to misplaced snobbery about watching a broadcast network show.

Kyle Chandler stars as the good-hearted coach of a high school football team in fictional Dillon, Texas.

All of the hopes and aspirations of this small, working-class town are placed on the shoulders of the coach and his team of young men.

What makes this show special is not the usual melodrama around teenagers' relationships or who will win the next big game but instead is the truly thoughtful writing and equally genuine cast. Shooting the series on location in Texas also lends a visual authenticity.

Despite a large cast, Executive Producer Peter Berg manages to tell coherent stories week after week and do it in a way that doesn't continually try to raise the emotional volume. Based on a book and an earlier film of the same name, the show is able to go much deeper than most sports-themed movies, allowing us to acutely care about the characters.

Best of all, I don't go to bed glum after watching an episode. Sexual and mature themes make this best for kids 13 years old and up. (TV 14). 43-minute episodes.

Ratings (out of 4 stars):

Overall: 3½ stars

Kids: N/A

Teens: 3½ stars

Adults: 3½ stars

Seniors: 3 stars

Should you watch it? Yes -- a terrific, uplifting, football-themed dramatic series.

J.B. Alderman lives in Piedmont and can be reached at jason@alderman.net.