Movie Night: What not to pick

Katie’s birthday is Friday and we’re trying to pick out a movie to watch for a birthday movie night.

She had seen previews for The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep and really really really wanted to see it. So I checked it out here.

Now, when Bill was deployed back in 2003, Fritz was 5 and we watched E.T. That’s a fun movie, right? Well, there’s that bit about him dying towards the end, but he comes back and goes home and everybody lives happily ever after.

But the themes of separation, loss and going home were too much for my kids. Instead of smiles, I had sobbing.

I’ve learned to be a bit more selective in choosing themes now when my kids are having rough times.

On to The Water Horse and the USCCB website review says:

“Engaging but, by the end, surprisingly intense fantasy adventure, set during World War II, in which a forlorn Scottish boy (Alex Etel), coping with the absence of his sailor father…”

“…starts off unthreateningly, but gets steadily more ominous as it moves toward a turbulent climax that would likely frighten most young children.”

Yeah, I think we’ll skip this one for now.

Any suggestions for happy, fun, amusing rentals for mixed ages and genders but all 11 and under?

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23 thoughts on “Movie Night: What not to pick

  1. I hated E.T. I've never learned to love or even tolerate that movie.

    We accidently got traumatized by staying to watch a drive in second feature one night, Bridge to Terabithia…where the girl dies! I wouldn't do that one eiter.

  2. Bolt is a fun movie. That's Gabriel's pick. He also suggested 'Mathilda', but that one has some mean parent/teacher, abandoned by parents issues. πŸ™‚

  3. We came up with Bolt too.My kids suggested the second Ice Age movie(the mom dies in the first one).Cars,Emporer's New Groove. This was more difficult than I expected. Lots of drama, burp and fart jokes and crude slang words out there.Hope You can find something You feel comfortable with.God bless.

  4. Sorry for the double comment…my kids suggested Ratatouille.

  5. Thanks, everybody. My kids have seen ALL of these movies except Bolt, so I've moved that up on our Netflix queue.

    And, yes, we saw Bridge to Terebithia…I had forgotten that the girl dies in the book, and was probably crying more than the kids when we got to that part. Stupid mom day.

    I'm also considering National Velvet from 1943. My kids don't mind old stuff. And they can handle “real” people, too. They LOVED Singing in the Rain.

  6. How are you on the “slightly crude” tolerance? My kids all loved Hoodwinked, which spoofs fairy tales. Surf's Up is also cute. What about the Veggie Tales Pirates Who Don't Do Anything movie?

    If they like “real people” movies, Mary Poppins is lots of fun, as is Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. And Little Brother swears by The Trouble with Angels, which his teacher showed this year on days when it was too cold to play outside after lunch–they watched bits of this movie that week.

  7. Bolt is good. Tom votes for Kung Fu Panda and The Incredibles. I loved National Velvet when I was a girl! I haven't seen it in a while…I'll have to remedy that.

  8. We would like to formally second the Kung Fu Panda recommendation. But, now, I can't get that song out of my head…. Everybody is kung fu fighting…

  9. My eldest son (9yo) LOVES 7 brides for 7 brothers πŸ™‚

  10. If you like the oldies, have you seen Two Weeks With Love. Musical with Debbie Reynolds as the kids sister. Some fun songs. We also have enjoyed On Moonlight Bay. Both are on Netflix.

  11. Sorry, Two Weeks With Love is on Netflix but it's availability is “unknown”….not sure what that means. But, On Moonlight Bay also has a sequel By The Light of the Silvery Moon. Both center on Doris Day as tomboy turned girlie girl and her handsome love interest. And they include a fun kid brother who gets into boyish trouble, but loves his sister just the same. Good family fun.

  12. We own Water Horse, and really like it. Yes, the father is gone but we are told that right at the beginning. It's more about the son developing new friendships. We also watch “old” movies, including a lot of musicals!

  13. Have you seen WALLE? It's on netflix instant play. We all liked it. My big kids so much that they want to own it even though netflix has it.

  14. Barb, thanks for the suggestions. My kids have not seen a few of these, and some they haven't seen in a long time so we could do them again.

    We've seen Kung Fu panda and The Incredibles. And 7 Brides for 7 Brothers. My kids loved that one too. Spoiler warning: at the end, the girls all claim that a baby is theirs so their families will let them get married (I think I remember that correctly). That was a bit awkward, but doesn't detract from the rest of the movie.

    Carol, thanks for your ideas.

    Paula, thanks for that insight.

    Becky, we just watched WALL-E. That's one thing that annoys me about Netflix is that the Instant Play is only available through the main account and you don't even know it's an option through a secondary queue. I think I'm going to have to change queues so that the kid stuff is the main queue and the adult stuff is the secondary queue. But we got it on disc, not knowing it was Instant.

    BTW, Becky, I am almost done with your book. I've been a bit behind on reading. Summer has not been as relaxing as I had hoped…

  15. We really enjoy the Iron Giant. I second Bolt and Kung Fu Panda (we watch movies over and over here. Like Princess Bride. Over and over.

  16. I'm trying to think of older movies that don't have too much innuendo. I think I'd be wary of Brigadoon because of some of the naughty references, but maybe they'd just go straight over the kids' heads.

    One Two Three is a fantastic movie, but there's a little more sexual undercurrent there than I would recommend for kids too (especially ones who don't know yet about the birds and the bees). Plus, although the humor is very slapstick, it does presuppose some knowledge of post-WW2 politics, which Fritz may have but probably not the younger kids.

    …boy, this IS challenging! I'll let you know if I come up with anything…

  17. Have you done The Absentminded Professor and That Darn Cat yet?

  18. Oh, my goodness. Don't use this as a recommendation list, but I'm going to post this link so you can see what the NYT is actually recommending for kids 8 – 12:

    http://www.azcentral.com/families/articles/fam_topmovies.html

    Don't get me wrong. Some of them are great movies. But I really don't think, say, Dr. Strangelove is appropriate for an 8-year-old!!!

    With that said, The Great Escape might be appropriate, especially for the upper end of that age range…The Sound of Music is appropriate, and quite a few more are too. But some of the movies they think are fine are really shocking me!

  19. Kasia,

    we have done those old Disney movies. They are always good.

    But, yeah, I would not use that list as a guide for my kids…not without doing more research. Bad News Bears has horrible language, Casablanca is just a bit too mature in theme, and Rear Window – seriously, they think a Hitchcock thriller is good for 8-12 year olds?

    But then again, I'm overprotective…

    I'd say many of these would be better for 12 and up. Many are not necessarily “kids” movies, and adults would be highly entertained…unless, of course, they are so used to high-action and special effects that old movies bore them.

  20. Weasy and Trina watch In The Good Old Summertime every time it's on TCM. Trina is buying it for Weasy's birthday! It may not entertain the younger ones, but my girls have been all jazzed up about West Side Story and found my old record, which they've been playing over and over and over…”I feel prettyyyyyy” is RINGING in my head, 24/7 these days.

  21. Just skimmed the other comments so forgive any overlap…

    My kids really liked Bolt, as in “Can we re-watch it 50 times?”

    They loved Mulan and Mulan II, though Mom kept making snide remarks about the “I wanna be like other girls” theme song in Mulan II.

    Another good one: Nim's Island. Have you seen it?

    We watched Water Horse and it was okay. Just okay. Granted, I love any film with a good Scottish accent, (except…Joely Richardson as the Scottish mom?), but the kids thought the special effects were sometimes corny.

    Final option: come HERE for movie night! I make really good caramel popcorn.

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