1. Monsters Inc.
With John Goodman and Billy Crystal, hardly anything can go wrong. Then you add Pixar and we have magic. This movie was one of my personal favorites as a kid. Not only does it take away the fear of monsters in the closet, it teaches kids that’s it’s better to befriend people than scare them. This innovative comedy will have the parents laughing as well. You probably saw it, loved it, and never gave it a second thought. This movie, with a 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, is worth it, trust me.
We all want a tiny sarcastic dragon to guide us through battle—especially if it’s Eddie Murphy. Mulan is the perfect story for strong and ambitious girls. Mulan saves her father by going into battle disguised as a man. She befriends three men in the camp who, after a little time, accept and defend her. The score will be stuck in your head all day, as it should be. This is a treasure among the Disney princess movies, because we can look up to a woman who didn’t accept being the damsel in distress. She took control.
Source: The New York Times
A more recent Disney movie, Up, has the all the makings for a perfect story. A curmudgeon turned adventurer with a motivated Boy Scout and assorted friends. This story has exceptional illustration. It is the perfect blend of comedy and heart. The pair are an unlikely friendship, but they learn to help each other and embark on a life changing adventure. I warn you, the first five minutes are going to warrant some tears, but it’s worth it. Rotten Tomatoes doesn’t give out 98% for mediocre.
Source: Checkerboard Collective
OK, enough of the animation for now. Dustin Hoffman, Julia Roberts and Robin Williams all have one fabulous movie in common—Hook. Peter Pan is always thought of as a small boy who never grows old, but my peter pan grew up and saved his kids. Hook is the wonderful tale of a father who loves his children and works hard to get them back. The funny, exciting and heartwarming story connects to the world of parents who struggle to find time for the family. Plus, it’s just cool to imagine your dad trying to make it as a lost boy!
If you’ve ever said “You’re killin’ me Smalls,” you understand the need to include this movie. A great movie for summer days, Sandlot delivers on baseball, scary neighbors, and friends. It’s the kind of movie you feel at home in. A band of children taking on problems and staying strong together. A funny and fun tale for parents too, who may remember it better than the kids. Sandlot is a baseball fan’s rainy day favorite.
6. Karate Kid
Source: Jeff Gothelf
My dad was the first one to show me this movie, which has been the subject of many of our Christmas gifts. It’s a movie about inner strength. Mr. Miyagi shows Daniel that fighting is something you can learn, but it is not the answer to his problems. The story teaches kids to stand up for themselves, but not to stoop to the bully’s level. It’s perfect for kids struggling with confidence or kids who love an underdog. After watching this movie, rated at 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, I guarantee you will be “wax on, wax off”-ing all day.
7. The Incredibles
Source: The Nerd Reactor
Here is another awesome animated movie you watched a few times and forgot existed. The Incredibles hits home for me and my big family. Having to stay undercover as super heroes, it’s hard for this family to stay normal. When the world is threatened they make the choice to be true to who they are and save the world. This action-packed and funny movie is full of family bonding and witty social commentary. I’m sure your kids will be picking out who each charter would be in your family at the end of the film. Rotten Tomatoes and I give it a 97%.
8. Smart House
Source: Do you Remember
A great place to get a good kids movie is the Disney Chanel Original Movie Vault. One of the best is Smart House. This movie will have your kids laughing at the “high tech” things in the house, but there are still some surprises in store. This self-running house shows what could be the problems of technology in the future. The comedy and teenage angst is perfect for the family to enjoy and laugh at together. Every kid will be wanting to win the smart house sweepstakes. A little dated, this movie is still a great watch and still an enthralling subject today.
9. The Goonies
Source: The Hollywood News
If your kids are the treasure-hunting type, Gonnies is the best movie to watch. A group of kids who are in search of pirate’s treasure to save their house, stumble upon something very unexpected. This group of friends is made up of every personality type on the planet. You can pick out the character you are most similar to no matter how different you are— a great confidence boost for kids. This comedy celebrates adventure and friendship with enough sneaky lines and sarcasm to entertain adults as well.
If you have a love of scary movies, but they are all too scary or gory for kids¸ here is the answer. Jumanji is a childhood thriller, but with Robin Williams in it, it has to be a comedy as well. The kids play a board game that has them threatened in the real world. After many years, two new kids pick it up and realize they are in the same game. Great for kids with a big imagination and an even bigger need for adventure. Jumanji is an oldie, but a goodie for the whole family.
Sometimes kids need some convincing to watch a movie that looks too old for them, but, as I did with my parents, they will be telling you how much they loved it when it’s over. Grab some popcorn and settle in for a movie night with the kids with this list of forgotten kids’ movies.