100 Things I Want to Show My Kids Before They Turn 12 Part 3

by - Friday, September 06, 2013

And we are on to part 3!

41. Elf- This is such a sweet happy movie, and Will Ferrell's Will Ferrellness is put to great use. I think it is actually a perfect movie from start to finish; at the very least, it is perfectly cast. Seems like it would be a great one for kids- "Buddy the elf, what's your favorite color?"

42. Toy Story Trilogy- Actually not my favorite Pixar movies, but I am not sure you could raise a child without seeing them. As I write this, I am getting deja vu, so if this is a list repeat, I apologize. My one hang up would be that the end of the third movie is really scary and dark. The part where they all seem to accept death and hold hands was a lot. Also, Pixar is genius at manipulating emotion, because I am not sure I ever need to see the end again. Too sad for me. But the first one is still pretty magical, and it is a great adventure movie.

From sf.funcheap.com
43. Space Balls or Robin Hood Men in Tights- Ah Mel Brooks. How do you introduce Mel Brooks to kids? These seem like the best two options. Maybe Young Frankenstein? I don't know. They are all good. And they all have like 13 year old boy humor, with fart and sex jokes and such, but nothing that seems too scandalous for kids. Also, is it more important to introduce your kids to John Candy or Gene Wilder?

44. The Incredibles- Another Pixar classic. One that actually has women, so that is a nice change (why do they have to be so lame? Girls are fun!). I also think Edna makes the whole trip worth it.

45. Mary Poppins- Love this movie!!! How can you not? Any children's movie that has a number that says "Though we enjoy men individually, we admit that as a group they're rather stupid" has to make you smile. Also, I love the Mary Poppins and Mrs. Banks combo, though they are never in a scene together. Just fun and magical. Plus, I remember drinking things out of spoons like the spoon full of sugar scene, so I am not sure I understood what was going on there. Still, a great one for kids.

46. Meet me in St. Louis- Vincent Minelli and Judy Garland greatness. Also, it is a movie where the only conflict is that a family may not get to be together and to stay in their community. That is it. It's a movie about community and how important it is to be a part of yours. All of the songs are classics now too. It's one of those movies where you just want to move into that world.
From wikipedia.org
47. How the Grinch Stole Christmas- Just another Christmas classic. I don't think the live action version is quite as great as the old 1966 cartoon.

48. The Music Man- 76 trombones bah buhda bahdaaa. Worth the whole schbang just for the Marian the Librarian number, but the whole musical is great. Plus, we can start indoctrinating our children to be in marching band. Clearly this is very important. Can we raise an entire family of trumpet players? Because that would be awesome and horrible.

49. Dumbo- You know what is weird about watching the really old Disney movies? Especially Snow White? They are not exactly good in many ways. Dumbo still holds up pretty well story wise, and I basically privilege any animation where shit gets weird. It definitely does here with the Pink Elephants on Parade drunkeness.

50. A is for Art- A great way to introduce art and the alphabet! Woot! It really is a nice book for 4-6 year olds. Especially if you are an art teacher who wants to improve their spelling, but only a little bit. Kindergartener bad spelling is heaven on earth.

51. Tuck Everlasting- Who doesn't want their children considering the downsides of immortality? A great book by Natalie Babbitt that smartly deals with some big metaphysical issues through teen romance. But in a good way. I swear, I am not encouraging my kids to read twilight or something.

From darkhallmansion.com
52. Yellow Submarine- I can remember watching this movie as a kid and loving the color and thinking some of the parts were just so pretty. It is still a really good-looking movie (thank you, George Dunning and Bill Sewell). The plot is incomprehensible in a way that didn't bother me at all as a kid, though I am not really as clear on it now. I also think the movie is a great way to introduce the giant Beatles catalog (not to mention their personas) to kids. I love George Harrison best, and I am pretty sure a good chunk of that is just from his quiet oddness in this movie. Anyway, just a necessity for kids.

53. The Secret of Nimh- This is one of the Boy's absolute favorites of all time.

54. The Redwall Series- Is it weird that I still remember loving one of the first chapters, where a character is run over by a wagon with spiked wheels. I must have been a gory little kid. Very dark.

55. Howl’s Moving Castle- Another movie with an incomprehensible logic underlying its plot that is absolutely, ridiculously gorgeous. If you have never seen this movie or Spirited Away or another Miyazaki movie, go and do it now. They are basically the prettiest animated films in the world. I like that in this story the heroine is a girl/ old woman. Also, weirdest twist ending I can remember in my life.

56. Up- Basically so I can openly weep in front of my children. I actually dread the beginning of this movie, because it leaves me like a crazy person. I go back and forth on how much I like the rest of it (the plot is actually kind of stupid), but I think the morals are good, and the beginning is worth weeping over.

57. Walk Two Moons- Two weepers in a row! Wonderfully written book, and it just makes you sad.

58. Matilda- The book is better than the movie,but it has less Rusted Root. You just have to weigh the options on that one.
From feministdisney.tumblr.org

59. Aladdin- The Boy's favorite Disney movie of all time. Jasmine is pretty high on the Princess scale, and the songs are really good. It also has weird, dirty, hidden messages which caused me to spill a pop on what would become our loveseat 10 and a half years ago with the Boy. It has sentimental value, and Robin Williams makes me laugh. Also, we reference the Cave of Wonders (and the Diamond in the Rough) at least once a month.
60.Catherine, Called Birdy- Great book. A diary of a disatisfied girl in the 13th century and her hierarchy hating shenanigans. You get to learn all about Medieval culture, food, clothes, etc. You also get to read all about saints and martyrdoms. I loved that part. Again, I apparently had a real dark side as a kid!

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  1. 43-- I'm enjoying the list, but I have to speak up here. There is no question at all that any Mel Brooks education must start with Young Frankenstein.

    At some point Mel Brooks started making movies that were just silly, rather than smart satire. These later, lesser Brooks movies are missing something critical from the earlier stuff.

    First, and perhaps most important, is knowledge of the material. When Brooks was doing the movies that he knew intimately from his own movie-going life, his grasp of the genre is clear. Young Frankenstein is dead-on in its understanding of the conventions it's lampooning (to the point that Brooks bought pieces of the original Frankenstein sets to use). Likewise Blazing Saddles is a pitch-perfect take on classic westerns. Every detail is funnier because if you know the source material, you recognize it.

    But Spaceballs (which I recognize is deeply loved by your generation) is an outsiders movie. YF is a satire of monster movies by somebody who loves them. Spaceballs is a satire of Star Wars by some old guy who still can't figure out what the big deal is. Blazing saddles is a satire of westerns by a guy who loves them and knows them so well that he finds the stupid parts delightful. Spaceballs is a satire of Star Wars by a guy who just thinks they're stupid and wants to make fun of them the same way somebody's grandfather makes fun of rap-- with jokes that often show that he doesn't really know what he's talking about.

    Second, every classic Brooks movie is really a love story between two men. Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder, Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder, Gene Wilder and the Monster-- each of his big hits has at its center a sweet bonding between two guys that often gives the whole story its arc. They give the movies heart that they later movies lack.

    Also, Marty Feldman.

    Blazing Saddles probably has a bit too much language, race and sex, plus a heavily post-modern meta-ending, for your ten-year-old to enjoy. But if you don't show my grandchild Young Frankenstein first, I am totally showing it to him/her at my house.