10 movies to spruce up your kids’ movie library

If you’re as sick and tired as I am of watching the same ten or so boring (but initially adorable and charming) animated movies released in the past five years or so, you’re not alone – I’m 100% with you. I think I was the last person (along with my husband) to see “Frozen,” but I couldn’t be more DONE with it than I am right now (knocking on wood, of course – they’ll want to see it three times just tomorrow). I’m starting to refresh my library of kids’ movies; here are some oldie-but-goodie finds that might save your sanity, too:

Tim Allen (fabulous), Julie Bowen, Hayden Panettiere (so adorable when she was little), Patrick Warburton (LOVE HIM), Jim Belushi. Guy tries to stand up for himself, learns self defense; teaches his daughter about life. Good moral of the story, plus super cute and funny.

This review says there’s “cartoonish violence [and] profanity,” but this movie is seriously (slapstick) hysterical. “Love, and a bit with a dog” (kidding – that’s a line from “Shakespeare in Love”), but there is a love element, and a bit with a psycho cat. It stars Nathan Lane (who’s beyond funny, from “The Birdcage,” “The Producers,” and the voice of Timon from “The Lion King”), Lee Evans, and Christopher Walken.

I used to love this one as a kid; now that my kids watch it, it’s okay, but it’s still a huge improvement from the first five minutes of “Peter Pan” on repeat. Besides, this one’s just over an hour long, and is it just MY kid that watches the first five to ten minutes of a movie over and over for an hour?

What kid doesn’t love watching animal movies? Yeah, it’s an animated one, but it’s got some cute songs that you get stuck in your head and actually, no – cross this one off the list. Whatever – if you can stand the stick-in-your-head songs, okay, fine, watch it. Count me out.

Danny DeVito, Rhea Perlman (when they were still together – sad how they could spend more than 30 years together and just be done), and Mara Wilson; both of my kids could watch the chocolate cake scene over and over again, and even my husband – who watched it for the first time ever this past weekend said he thought it was cute, and he’d watch it again!

I love Ben Stiller. And Robin Williams (especially in “Popeye” – if you haven’t seen that one, you need to do yourself a favor: find it on Amazon, and hit the “buy now” button; you won’t regret it). And Dick van Dyke (I’m reading one of his books right now, which is pretty good). New night guard at a NYC museum. Catastrophe and hilarity ensues. Simple but good; simply good.

  • Curly Top (or any other Shirley Temple movies)

My kids don’t glue themselves to the TV often, but when they do, it’s because they’re entranced by singing and/or dancing, like Shirley Temple dancing and singing “Animal Crackers in My Soup” (K even searches our drawers for a couple of spoons for that one)!

Kidding. Just making sure you’re paying attention. Good movie, though. Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey (Have you seen “House of Cards”? I love that show. Have you seen the new season? I haven’t, so shut it.). As you were…

Okay, confession: I may have had a motive in introducing my girls to this one, since I’m a big Tim Burton fan (even though I’ve never seen “Mars Attacks,” “Corpse Bride,” or “Ed Wood” all the way through). How could anyone not love the stop-motion animation, though? K squeals with joy every time Jack or Sally pop up on the screen; it’s adorable, and I love that she loves what I love.

I’m a child. Honestly and with no sarcasm at all, this is probably one of my top ten or twenty movies of all time; I love it. There’s love, drama, comedy, and a cat (I’m not a cat person, but like I said, don’t kids love animals?). It’s got some seriously funny lines that fit into almost any conversation:

“Amok, amok, amok!”

“He’s got a little woman!?”

Clean, wholesome, and funny? Does that even exist anymore? No drugs, sex, or rock-n-roll? Plus, Rick Moranis is always a kick. I loved this movie series when I was a kid.

As a BONUS, most of these movies are ones the whole family can (not necessarily “will,” because kids – and adults – can be jerks) enjoy, but (from my discussions with other mom friends) these aren’t overwhelmingly popular in the normal rotations in average households. Another HUGE plus (at least in my house), very few of these are animated. Cartoons have their time and place, of course, but if that’s ALL kids watch before they turn five or ten years old, please dear God help us – and I mean that. “Moderation in all things,” right?

And even if you can’t convince anyone that they like any of these movies, at least they’ll have to watch them once each in order to say definitively that they DON’T like it, which at least gives you that much of a break.

What are some movies you’ve found as a relief from the non-stop barrage of animated “classic” true-love’s-kiss Disney movies your kids love? Please – I need more suggestions!

3 thoughts on “10 movies to spruce up your kids’ movie library”

  1. James liked Land Before Time once. I Love Mouse Hunt, so maybe we’ll have to give that a try 😁

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