Top Ten Children's Movies: a New Mother's Perspectiveby Echo McDonough
Feb 24, 2006 Write an essay on this topic.
The Bottom Line We are a television society, here's a list of movies that are at least suitable, if not actually beneficial.
While the verdict still isn't out on whether or not I am totally ok with my almost 2 year old watching television, there are definitely times when it has come in handy: long road trips or sick days at home, and sometimes just when Mom needs a rest. So I've come up with a list of movies that help ease my guilt as I put in the DVD and curl up on the couch with my daughter. Hopefully others will share in my quiet "time out".
The Wizard of Oz 1939
The Wizard of Oz is a great story for children of all ages, although there are a few scary moments with the Wicked Witch of the West that may frighten youngsters. There is a lot of singing and dancing that would still make it appealing to children, despite young fears. There is a reason my younger sister wore out two VHS tapes and had to dress up like the heroine, Dorothy, every day. Highly recommended, but still with parental supervision.
Old Yeller 1957
Set in the days of Pioneers, Old Yeller is a wonderful movie, but be sure to bring some Kleenex for the end. Great for animal lovers and filled with gentle humor, Old Yeller is a great family film. Old Yeller is a stray dog, adopted by a family whose father has left home to sell cattle, leaving his oldest son to be the man of the house. Tommy Kirk, a Disney favorite portrays the main character of a teenage boy who learns to love and care for Old Yeller and love him as much as Old Yeller loves him. Not only a 1950's coming of age story, but also a film about the unconditional love between a boy and his dog.
For some reason, my daughter is an absolute freak about Shrek. She loves the music and all the different voices (including Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy), but I think the animation is so close to real, she can't take her eyes off the magical screen. Adults will also enjoy some of the 'inside joke' humor that is clean enough for younger children not to ask any questions. A fun movie with some good current even references, this is a great "Scary Movie" or "Naked Gun" type spoof for families.
Swiss Family Robinson 1960
Another classic Disney movie, this plot involves a family stranded on an uninhabited island after the ship they were traveling on wrecks at sea. It is a great adventure film that actually inspired the Swiss Family Treehouse at Disneyland and Disney World's Magic Kingdom. My husband watched this movie with me recently and he was very quick to point out all of its improbabilities. I tried to explain that first of all, it's over 40 years old and second, it's make-believe. He settled down a little after I said "Blade-Trinity" wasn't all that believable either. I don't think there are any inappropriate scenes in this movie and I would recommend the Swiss Family Robinson for children over 5 years of age, simply for keeping their interest longer. There is no way my 22 month old would be interested for more than 15 minutes. This is a good movie to watch before or after a Disney trip to give the Tree House attraction a little more reality.
And here's another Disney classic that I just had to add to the list. Haley Mills plays a young orphan who has just moved in with her very wealthy, yet obviously miserable Aunt Polly. Pollyanna was a child who was raised on love, not money and she shares her happy perspective on life with everyone she meets in her new hometown. Suddenly everyone seems to have a new outlook on life after Pollyanna introduces the townspeople to her "glad game". Pollyanna may not have all of the flash and special effects of today's films, but the message here is clear: Find things to be "glad" about and you'll forget the things you're sad about- great lessons for children of all ages. Maybe your kids will start playing the Glad Game with you.
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh 1977
Chances are if you have seen or read anything that has to do with Winnie the Pooh, at least one of the stories or songs in this movie will be familiar to you. We have, unintentionally, become a Winnie the Pooh household, with a large part due to the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Rather than one long story, 'Pooh' is a collection of different tales, making it much easier for younger children's attention spans! All of the characters in the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh are lovable, even the sometimes irritating Rabbit. This is a great movie if you are trying to limit the amount of television watched by your youngsters, as only one story at a time can be watched, without interrupting the entire movie.
The Muppet Movie 1979
I have always loved the Muppets. I remember watching The Muppet Show as a kid and thinking how cool they had real people interacting with these puppets. This movie is just on a grander scheme, so of course I loved it the first time I saw it. The Muppet Movie is one of those timeless films, where the story and effects don't seem outdated, even though it is approaching 30 years old. The Muppets, cloth puppets created by the late beloved Jim Henson, are on a quest to go to Hollywood and star in their own movie, beginning with Kermit the Frog picking up straggler Muppets along the way. There are also some fun cameo appearances including Steve Martin, Mel Brooks, Bob Hope and Richard Pryor, to name a few. The humor is somewhat adult, but clean, and the songs and characters should be captivating for young ones.
Finding Nemo 2003
It has been a while since I have seen a movie so popular with young children. My four year old nephew is a freak about Nemo and it must run in the family because my little one seemed to become obsessed overnight- asking for "Me-Mo" on a constant basis- and she's not even two! Finding Nemo is a great story about a young clown fish with a "lucky", but extra small fin. His father is overprotective and just can't seem to let go of his only son. When they get separated, both father and son prove they can do a lot more than they thought they could to find each other. The animation of Finding Nemo is amazing and Ellen DeGeneres does a great job as the voice of Dory, a somewhat forgetful, but very giving companion on the quest to find Nemo.
The Sound of Music 1965
The Sound of Music is an Oscar winning classic Rogers and Hammerstein musical, a charming story about a failed nun who becomes the governess of seven unruly and seemingly unloved children of Captain Von Trapp and brings music and joy into their lives once again. A rather long film, the Sound of Music is still beautifully set to songs that won't soon be forgotten, such as "My Favorite Things", "Do a Deer", and of course, "The Sound of Music". Julie Andrews' amazing voice captures the spirit of this movie by embracing her love for music and opening up a new and loving world for the Von Trapp family. A wonderful musical that should captive a slightly older children audience, as the length will probably deter younger ones.
Mary Poppins 1964
Mary Poppins can't be beat for great songs, great cast and great fun. The "practically perfect in every way" nanny is played by Julie Andrews, whose performance won her an Oscar. Dick Van Dyke also plays a loveable character to add to the talented cast of actors/singers. The story is really a melange of adventures that two hopelessly ignored children share with their new nanny, including a wonderful scene where Disney animation meets real life with fairly advanced special effects for its time. This is family entertainment at its best. Although Mary Poppins is now more than a few years old, this is still a solid enough film to capture the attention of anyone watching.
And that's it, my top ten, in no special order. Hopefully you will enjoy them (if you haven't already) as much as I did growing up and as much as I continue to do with my daughter.
~*~I would also like to mention that the above links are links to reviews that I found "very helpful", so to give credit where credit is due to the various authors, check them out!*~*
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