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5 Movies I’m Super Excited to Show My (Eventual) Kids

By Nadia Chaudhury | Parenting | February 26, 2014 | Comments ()


childrenmovies_totoro_main.jpg

One day, I’ll have kids (though not soon enough for my mother), and I think about the things I’ll get to do for them, besides adorning them in adorable onesies and showering them with all of the stuffed animals. What I look forward to the most is re-experiencing some of my favorite (age-appropriate) movies with them: watching them laugh at the same jokes, hiding their faces during the scenes that also scared me, and crying, oh god, crying.

Here are the first five I might pick (I’ll save Eternal Sunshine for their first break-up):

1. My Neighbor Totoro
childrenmovies_totoro.jpg
I recently rewatched the Hayao Miyazaki classic in theaters, starring Japan’s answer to Mickey Mouse, and it was just as delightful as I remembered it being. Who wouldn’t want to take a nap on a ginormous woodland creature who’s as heavy as he is dainty (just look at him twirl on spinning top), and who can call up a flying cat bus with rat headlights? Which is to say, I’d finally have an excuse to get this Totoro bed.

2. A Little Princess (the one directed by Alfonso Cuarón in 1995)
childrenmovies_alittleprincess.jpg
A story of riches-to-rags-to-riches, the humble and strong Sara is a great role model for little girls (and Mexican film directors, I guess). The moment where her father doesn’t remember her gets to me every single time I watch it, while the scenes where the man next door sneaks into the dark, rundown attic bedroom, where Sara lives in after she becomes a servant at her own boarding school, and brings her daydreams to life with a recreation of India makes me uncontrollably smile. I’d even pass down my worn and torn copy of the book that I scribbled little notes all over.

3. Beauty and the Beast
childrenmovies_beautyandthebeast.jpg
My favorite film from the Disney Renaissance. As a kid, I wanted to be Belle, the perfect spokesperson for reading and dreaming who can be admired by boys and girls alike. As a kid AND as an adult, I NEED THAT LIBRARY.

4. The Phantom Tollbooth
childrenmovies_phantomtollbooth.jpg
I’m fascinated by mediums that twist learning on its head. You don’t realize you’re learning, but you are! (I think I read that in a museum brochure once.) The Phantom Tollbooth’s slightly trippy transition from live action to animation makes you feel like it could actually happen to you. It reminds me of a series of writing books I was obsessed with, where a group of friends went on adventures and learned about grammar, but I cannot remember the name at all. I want my son or daughter to have vague recollection of books inspired by movies, too.

5. Coraline
childrenmovies_coraline.jpg
Another darker children’s movie, with a take on being brave, Coraline Jones is the kind of adventurous child I’d want, maybe without some of the angst from the beginning. It doesn’t hurt that the stop-motion is gorgeous, and that it’s one of the few films to make good use of 3D (Future speech: “Kids, don’t ever pray for a 3D revival.”). Plus, there’s the talking cat.

The first movie Nadia Chaudhury remembers seeing in theaters with her father was Ghostbusters II.



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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • Sassy Pikachu

    I want to get the Totoro bed and my boyfriend's trying to convince me not to because "we don't have enough space for it"

    :(

  • ZombieMrsSmith

    My kids loved these when they were little, and still watch them pretty regularly, even though they are teenagers now:

    Iron Giant
    Ponyo
    Howl's Moving Castle (might be a little scary for little kids)
    Monsters Inc.
    Fantastic Mr Fox
    James and the Giant Peach
    Coraline
    101 Dalmatians (Disney animated one)
    Ferris Bueller (all John Hughes actually as they've gotten older)

    They prefer Indiana Jones to Star Wars.
    Also, all the stop motion Tim Burton movies, Corpse Bride, Nightmare Before Xmas

  • Uriah_Creep

    You and your kids sound awesome. ^_^

  • Rebecca Hachmyer

    Does anyone remember this? And more importantly, can we talk about the fact that every person who does remember it likely thought at one point that it was actually just a nightmare? https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

  • Melina

    That is the SINGLE most horrifying movie that I can remember. I vividly remember my dad renting it for me after I had my tonsils out and I sat there in horrified silence staring at what was unfolding in front of me.

  • Melina

    I took my 4 year old son to see Frankenweenie...within the first five minutes we had the discussion of the ephemeral nature of life and then when Victor revives his dog we had to have another chat because he leaned over and said, "When you die, I'll bring you back". I made him promise me that he wouldn't because I think he'll be smart enough (and probably a little crazy enough) to try in the future...and it never turns out well :)

  • stella

    I know everyone hates Johnny Depp and Tom BurTon these days& but if I ever kids I'd want to show them Edward Scizzorhands so badly.

  • Jamie

    totally agree. i hate that a few recent poor Depp/Burton films seem to have made everyone forgetting how good they used to be. Edward Scissorhands is hauntingly beautiful.

  • Rebecca Hachmyer

    I LOVE that version of A Little Princess. It is beautiful and fun. But methinks this list should be MUCH longer. You forgot a few:

    The Neverending Story
    The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
    Jim Henson's The Frog Prince
    The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (animated version)
    Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
    Polly (with Phylicia Rashad)
    Anne of Greene Gables
    The Sound of Music
    Charlie Brown Christmas Special (the one with "Hockey stick!")
    Star Wars Episodes IV, V, and VI
    and the documentary Babies

    Edited: I almost forgot Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH!

  • BabyBearStrikesAgain

    I ADORED the Neverending Story but I think you have to be a bit older (8 yo and above) to not get horribly frightened. Then again, I was scared of Oompa Loompas when I was 8...

  • elenaran

    Beauty & the Beast? Really? Stockholm syndrome much?

  • Ben

    Gotta go with Iron Giant and How to Train your Dragon for me, those movies are just amazing.

  • lmtj

    Animated Charlotte's Web will for-e-vah live in my heart to make you feel every emotion possible long before you need to. I need to sit down and watch it with my daughter soon.

  • Az

    There are few things as wonderful and memorable as watching your kid watch Star Wars for the first time. At his request.

  • googergieger

    Iron Giant, umm, oh yeah, not planning on having kids.

  • As if anyone *needs* a reason to buy that Totoro bed. Treat yo self.

    I love all of these suggestions, and I would share them with my own hypothetical children.

  • kinoumenthe

    Unfortunately, my nephews are too young yet to see all those movies (one 2 and a half and the other will only be born in May…), and my godson is only one…
    I compensate by watching those myself. Sometimes numerous times. Aunt's got to be prepared.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    My favorite short growing up, Lambert the Sheepish Lion, is really my only requirement.
    Oh! And Lilo and Stitch, since my dog is essentially a little alien bent on destruction and I need my kids to have a context for that.
    http://i184.photobucket.com/al...

  • BabyBearStrikesAgain

    I wanna share Lilo and Stitch, it made me cry and I watched it when I was 26! I loved Beauty and the Beast, Little Mermaid, and Aladdin as well but mostly for the music.

  • Zirza

    I was in London over the weekend with thirty-odd students and the one time we managed to escape them, we went to Camden (which is really the best place to go if you want to escape the bustle, but anyway, shopping). I got a pair of Iron Man socks which are awesome, but my colleague hit the jackpot when she saw a stand that sold Miyazaki wear. She spotted a Totoro sweatshirt, bought it and immediately put it on. After that, we went for cupcakes and coffee and the people behind the counter were all "Ooh, Totoro. You get Totoro discount."
    And when we got back she was surrounded by students who had no idea what was on her sweatshirt, but they all wanted it.

    The store also sold a tiny Totoro backpack and my ovaries started doing the tango the moment I pictured my eventual child wearing that to school.

    Totoro's powerful stuff, y'alls.

  • idiosynchronic

    My daughter got one for her birthday last summer. On a shopping trip to Target, Totoro was in Mom's purse while Idiosyncranky & I were toy shopping & mom was in the groceries. Mom realizes that when she had her back turned, some reprobate picked up her purse while walking past. Massive manhunt in store ensues because a 8 year-old girl is loudly, weepingly despondent over the fact that Totoro is lost! 15 minutes later, purse reappeared in an empty cart right next to the front door, nothing missing, Totoro and child re-united.

    I have no proof, but it's my hope that the child convinced the jerk to dispose of the evidence in plain sight, rather than those garbage bins on the other side of the front doors.

  • Totoro and Ponyo are my kids' favorites. But Coraline made for several days of bad dreams and lots of questions, so as someone else said, be careful with that one!

  • FrayedMachine

    I really want to watch How To Train Your Dragon with my kids one day. That movie filled me with so much wonder that I hadn't experienced from an animated movie in a long while that I can only imagine how absolutely mind blowing it'd be for a child to see it for the first time.

  • Pants_are_a_must

    Forgive me, gods of cinema, but I found How To Train Your Dragon to be a far better animated movie than 90% of what Pixar has put out.

  • Jamie

    I adore Pixar (apart from recent sequels) but the flying sequences in How To Train Your Dragon was the best animation i think i have ever seen

  • FrayedMachine

    It absolutely is. And the story telling is so wonderful that it doesn't come off as nauseatingly pandering to children (I'm looking at you, Frozen). I am incredibly excited for the sequel, though I am hoping it won't be butchered as sequels tend to be (but the trailer for it riled the same kind of excitement that the original trainer for HTTYD did so fingers crossed! (ALSO bad ass female dragon trainer lady ??? YES PLEASE)).

  • Ben

    I watched it again last night and holy shit How to Train your Dragon is just an amazing fucking movie in every way.

  • Jiffylush

    I have watched all of these except the Phantom Toolbooth with my kids and there are tons more.

    GOONIES
    The Iron Giant
    Better Off Dead (my kids are 10 and 12)

    BttF, Indiana Jones, so many more.

  • FrayedMachine

    Oh god yes to Iron Giant. That movie has a special special space in my heart since I actually lost my father right around the time the movie came out when I was a kid. I want to sit with my children and sob with them over it.

  • BWeaves

    I found the depiction of Japanese life very interesting in My Neighbor Totoro. The bath scene was particularly jarring, although I got over it quickly. If you haven't seen it, the father is in the bath with his two little girls. The family that bathes together, stays together.

    I'm more fond of the realistic anime films from Japan, than the fantasy ones.
    I love "Whispers of the Heart" and "Up From Poppy Hill."

    My mother bought me an old Victorian copy of "A Little Princess" and I just about wore it out rereading it. It had wonderful color illustrations that are soooo Victorian it hurts. I'll have to find that movie, as I have yet to see a good adaptation.

  • kinoumenthe

    Yes Pompoko (the full title is a mouthful. "Heisei tanuki gassen
    pompoko"… I'm too lazy to check, but it's something like that if memory somewhat serves.) I guess the t-word is what kept your post in moderation. I can read it but not post a reply. So I'm replying here.

    I saw it in Tokyo at a private screening the year it was out. It stayed with me for two reasons : One, it was trippy, second, I met Miyazaki the same day, about one hour after seeing the movie.

  • kinoumenthe

    You should see Only Yesterday (omoide poroporo), it's Ghibli 1991, from Takahata, not Miyazaki. Takahata is the one that does the more realistic stuff usually, though I can't wait to see his Kaguya Hime no Monogatari from last year.
    My favourite Ghibli will always be Kiki's Delivery Service, for some reason… But I love all studio Ghibli's movies and have seen them countless times.
    Except Grave of the Fireflies. Once is enough.

  • PDamian

    Grave of the Fireflies ripped my heart out and stomped it flat. Beautiful and soul-rending.

  • April Pastorius Wise

    What surprised me to no end was that the other day my friend who is visiting from Japan told me why My Neighbor Totoro is loved so much in Japan, especially among the elderly: That WAS Tokyo back in the 50's. The outskirts of Tokyo, but Tokyo nonetheless.

    This blew my mind considering how rural and beautiful the setting is. Apparently the nostalgia factor is very high with the Japanese that remember the era and yearn for things to be as they were, and I don't blame them.

  • ed newman

    Be very careful with Coraline. Great movie but it scares a lot of children. A lot.

  • deathandthestrawberry

    I took my 10 and 8 year old to see it, and my oldest still talks about how that movie creeps her out. It's the scene where the mom's eyes were turned into buttons that did it.

  • Jiffylush

    I took my kids and their cousin to see it, my son was fine but the girls who were 8 had a little difficulty with it.

  • emmalita

    I often take my niece and nephew to kid movies. I never think they are going to be scary, the kids always end up in my lap because they're scared. And they gleefully tell their mom and dad about terrified and traumatized they are and how they will NEVER sleep again.

    Edit to add: They sleep just fine.

    On the other hand - those damn brooms from the Sorcerer's Apprentice still freak me out.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    Somehow, my niece and nephews were fine with Coraline, when I had nightmares about the needle hands of the fake mother. But man, Para Norman did a number on the two boys. They were genuinely freaked out by the zombies and I had to take one for a break (read an $8 scoop of ice cream).
    The niece was fine, until Frozen, which apparently taught her boys aren't to be trusted. Oops...

  • BWeaves

    It scared the crap out of me and I was pushing 60 when I saw it.

  • AvaLehra

    Oooo! Fantastic Mr. Fox is a cussing great one, too.

    http://31.media.tumblr.com/1ac...

  • Cathy Parsons

    my co-W­­­­­­օ­­­­­­r­­­­­­κer's sister Μ­­­­­­а­­­­­­κ­­­­­­℮­­­­­­ѕ $­­­­­67/հ­­­­­­օ­­­­­­υ­­­­­­r on the l­­­­­­а­­­­­­р­­­­­­τ­­­­­­օ­­­­­­р. She has been fired from W­­­­­­օ­­­­­­r­­­­­­κ for nine Μ­­­­­­օ­­­­­­ո­­­­­­τ­­­­­­հ­­­­­­ѕ but last Μ­­­­­­օ­­­­­­ո­­­­­­τ­­­­­­հ her р­­­­­­а­­­Уment was $­­­­­16919 just W­­­­­­օ­­­­­­r­­­­­­κing on the l­­­­­­а­­­­­­р­­­­­­τ­­­­­­օ­­­­­­р for a Ϝ­­­­­­℮­­­­­­W հ­­­­­­օ­­­­­­υ­­­­­­rs. hop over to this ѕ­­­­­­і­­­­­­τ­­­­­­℮,... Profitbeatsnow2014startc2qv....

    ♚♚♚ ♚�♚♚ ♚♚♚ ♚♚♚ ♚�♚♚♚ ♚♚♚which apparently taught her boys aren't to be trusted.

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