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Fifty delightful family films, "curated" and described by me, for MSN Movies.
Posted at 07:08 AM | Permalink
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I really wanted to read that but for some reason Safari renders it un-navigable, or headache-inducing anyway. I got as far as I Dismember Mama before I quit. Any chance of re-posting it as an oldfashioned list sometime?
July 11, 2012 at 08:57 AM
Were shorts ineligible? Wallace & Gromit and the collected Pixars seem mentionable.
Pete Segall |
July 11, 2012 at 09:25 AM
"I really wanted to read that but for some reason Safari renders it un-navigable, or headache-inducing anyway."
Mine is even worse, I can't even get there to start in Safari. I get immediate redirected to the following URL, in a reproducible manner: http://www.msn.com/channel_sck.aspx
"Any chance of re-posting it as an oldfashioned list sometime?"
Good god, the UX of Glenn's non-reviews on MSN is miserable, even when I can get there. But I assume Glenn's editors over there don't want him reprinting his pay-work lists on his own blog for free, a thing which would definitely make me happy.
July 11, 2012 at 12:26 PM
I do hope you actually stuck Hudsucker in there.
July 11, 2012 at 12:31 PM
I know it isn't your doing, much less your fault, Glenn, but MSN does make these lists atrociously difficult to read and navigate, even if you are willing (as I am) to click through all 50. I so much want to see what you listed here, but I wish they would make it more of a pleasure--to go with your writing.
The Siren |
July 11, 2012 at 01:48 PM
Did I say Safari? I was using Firefox. So that's two browsers that it doesn't like...
July 11, 2012 at 01:50 PM
Maybe it's having Disney films shoved down my throat at a young age - and not just the animated films, which I do like for the most part, especially BAMBI, but the live-action ones - but I've always had a bit of hesitancy towards anything described as a "family" film. I know the makers of the film don't always intend it this way, but too often, when something gets advertised as something "the whole family can see", it means the film is one where women, minorities and (often, but not always) children know their place, and that is a turn-off.
At any rate, though I join in the complaints on how difficult it was to go through all 50 (I was using Google Chrome), I'm glad to see the list does avoid that trap for the most part - even if I must again say I'm one of the few people I know who find UP overrated once you get past the wondrous opening sequence - and it was great to see CHICKEN RUN, HUGO, THE PRINCESS BRIDE, and LABYRINTH make the list (though I take exception to the notion the music in LABYRINTH is "cheesy", as I adore the soundtrack; I will admit to getting weird looks when people found out I knew the words of many of the songs by heart).
A couple of things, though; (1) I do think in fact there was a superior live-action version of PETER PAN, and that's the 2003 version directed by P.J. Hogan, where the title character is played by a boy (and not an androgynous girl/woman), and there's even a hint of sexual tension between him and Wendy. Plus, Jason Isaacs is a terrific Captain Hook, and (2) two movies I think deserved to be on the list are FAIRY TALE: A TRUE STORY and FLY AWAY HOME, both movies I always recommended time and again at the video store when I worked at one. They're a visual delight (particularly the latter; no surprise, as it was directed by Carroll Ballard, and come to think of it, BLACK STALLION and DUMA should also have made the list), and both tell simple but wonderful stories.
July 11, 2012 at 02:26 PM
Also Rachel Hurd-Wood in that Peter Pan is SMOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOKIN'.
July 11, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Click arrow. Scroll down. Click arrow. Scroll down. Click arrow. Scroll down. Click arrow. Scroll down. Click arrow. Scroll down. Click arrow. Scroll down. Click arrow. Scroll down. Click arrow. Scroll down. Click arrow. Scroll down. Click arrow. Scroll down. Click arrow. Scroll down. Click arrow. Scroll down.Click arrow. Scroll down. Click arrow. Scroll down. Click arrow. Scroll down. Click arrow. Scroll down. Click arrow. Scroll down. Click arrow. Scroll down.Click arrow. Scroll down. Click arrow. Scroll down. Click arrow. Scroll down. Click arrow. Scroll down. Click arrow. Scroll down. Click arrow. Scroll down.Click arrow. Scroll down. Click arrow. Scroll down. Click arrow. Scroll down. Click arrow. Scroll down. Click arrow. Scroll down. Click arrow. Scroll down.Click arrow. Scroll down. Click arrow. Scroll down. Click arrow. Scroll down. Click arrow. Scroll down. Click arrow. Scroll down. Click arrow. Scroll down.
Noam Sane |
July 11, 2012 at 04:31 PM
Kind of a pity that my favorite Disney movies are FANTASIA and ALICE IN WONDERLAND. And apparently Chaplin, Keaton and Marx Brothers movies aren't for children. For the same reason, M HULOT'S HOLIDAY doesn't count I suppose, though the cinema in the small town I grew up did once have it as a Saturday matinee. I suppose TIME BANDITS or HOPE AND GLORY or MY LIFE AS A DOG was too dark or mature for many children. My own MIA: MATILDA, THE WHITE BALLOON, SPIRITED AWAY, MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO, the Cukor/Hepburn LITTLE WOMEN, PONYO, and most of all, the three main Beatles movies.
July 11, 2012 at 05:30 PM
Agreed on the '03 PETER PAN, with its great Maxfield Parrish-inspired sets, and with Isaacs playing both Hook and Mr. Darling as two sides of the same authority figure. It helps that I had actually made it to 2003 without seeing any other version of the story, or even reading the book, so I was probably the last human being on Earth to be surprised by the plot.
Partisan: My Dad used to show me Marx Bros. movies when I was a kid, and I loved them. Of course, they were a nice PG-rated break from the comedies my Dad used to show me, such as TRADING PLACES, PORKY'S, and EASY MONEY. I also loved THE MUSIC MAN when I was little, but I'm not sure if it generally appeals to kids.
Joel Gordon |
July 11, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Yeah, I ought to have apologized for the wonky (to say the least) navigation right off the bat. And yeah, while I don't think my IMMEDIATE editors would object to my eventually posting the list on my own here, I do believe the parent corporation might not be entirely thrilled. In any event, a list compiled strictly for SCR purposes would be somewhat different; while I of course stand by all the picks and my accompanying observations of them, I'm composing/picking for an MSN readership, and doing it in collaboration with staffers.
In any event, you all have convinced me to give that '03 "Pan" another look.
Glenn Kenny |
July 11, 2012 at 05:39 PM
While some ranking choices baffle me, rather than pointing them out, I'd rather share some of my favorite omissions.
- Nicolas Roeg's The Witches
- Burton's masterpiece Pee-wee's Big Adventure
- Joe Dante's live-action-Looney-Tunes-cartoon that is Gremlins 2
- 5000 Fingers of Dr. T
- Time Bandits
July 11, 2012 at 06:15 PM
"Yeah, I ought to have apologized for the wonky (to say the least) navigation right off the bat."
Since I don't believe it was your call, I don't believe you owe an apology. But good god, it's not just this one. It's all of your non-review MSN stuff. Note to the MSN web design team: I understand that driving advertising traffic is what pays the bills and keeps the wolf from the door, but still, with that fully understood, YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG.
(Also, why can't your editors get your reviews listed among the IMDB external reviews? Lack of effort, requirement for payola, or simple Amazon/MSFT rivalry? No matter whose fault, they ought to be there.)
"I don't think my IMMEDIATE editors would object to my eventually posting the list on my own here, I do believe the parent corporation might not be entirely thrilled."
This fellow would come to your home, take off his hat, and immediately proceed do this:
July 11, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Without in any way intending to tut-tut, can I note that, technical excellence aside, Dumbo is, alas, quite racist and really can't be shown to children without lots of discussion—it is probably not the best thing to show to any audience of children if what you want is fun and not a grim history lesson (or a traumatic experience for at least some of the kids). I wish it weren't so, because Dumbo is often a beautiful film to look at and should be something all kids could enjoy; but it's not the film it wants to be, and never was. I say this from bitter personal experience.
But I really wrote I to give a plug for what I feel is one of the best and most underrated kids' films of all time: Carroll Ballard's The Black Stallion. Ballard has gone on to make various versions of this same story over and over (troubled child heals via contact with animal), never especially well. But this, a 1979 Francis Ford Coppola production, is a very good film—I mean it is extremely well made by any standard. There's a nearly 20 minute sequence near the beginning with no dialogue that is extraordinary—imagine that in a kids' film today!—and later there are superb performances by Mickey Rooney and Teri Garr. I was too old for it when it first came out, but showed it to my son and was extremely impressed—it's overlooked, in part because it is almost too artful for its genre, but my unscientific survey of one small child suggested that it nailed its target audience.
July 11, 2012 at 07:54 PM
Customarily the back-and-forthing of the proposed list turns up the "no,duh" omission, and the error is remedied, but clearly in this case the system failed. "The Black Stallion" clearly should have been on the list. Bad mistake.
Glenn Kenny |
July 11, 2012 at 09:13 PM
But can any version of Peter Pan top the one in Alan Moore's LOST GIRLS?
That Fuzzy Bastard |
July 11, 2012 at 10:38 PM
TFB: Something tells me I would regret a Google Image search on that reference, so... yes, nothing can top that.
July 11, 2012 at 11:51 PM
I didn't care for the 2003 Peter Pan when I saw it in theaters. Lovely to look at, but the pacing was far too hectic as it raced from plot-point to plot-point with no breathing room or time for the characters to do anything but spout exposition and move on. I feel like this is a movie that could really benefit from an extended director's cut, if enough footage exists.
The Golden Compass movie has much the same problem.
In regard to an earlier comment, Rachel Hurd-Wood was 13 when that Peter Pan was released, and probably 12 when she shot it. References to her smooooooookin-ness in this context are entirely creepy.
Josh Z |
July 12, 2012 at 01:05 AM
Just off the top of my head, the films below are all far superior to about 90% off of what's on your list:
The Little Princess (1995)
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Classic Warner Brothers Shorts
A Night at the Opera
Mr. Bug Goes to Town
Oliver (the Carol Reed one)
Night on the Galactic Railroad (great Japanese animated film from I think the 80's)
When I was a kid I was CRAZY about Fantasia.
I second The Black Stallion and the 2003 Peter Pan. Not too many years ago I rented the Disney Peter Pan and was absolutely shocked by how bad it was on so many levels - though not in the same league as Speilberg's "Hook"
I honestly don't get why so many are crazy about "The Princess Bride" - not that I think its bad but it ain't all that either.
I DO think "Home Alone" is one of the most appalling films ever made and really panders to people's worst sadistic impulses.
July 12, 2012 at 02:27 AM
Richard, may I politely note that "The Black Stallion," while indeed a beautiful, moving and technically excellent film, also indulges in disturbing ethnic stereotypes.
Showing it to my three Arab-American children would require at least as much discussion as "Dumbo."
The Siren |
July 12, 2012 at 01:24 PM
Also, I think "Dumbo" CAN be shown to kids without lots of discussion; I saw it as a kid without thirty seconds of discussion, and managed to walk away from it without wanting to run off and join the Klan. Kids just don't notice stuff like that, any more than they'd think celebrity nip-slips a big deal if adults didn't insist on turning them into one. My prevalent memory of "Dumbo" to this day is getting to see an elephant fly.
Tom Block |
July 12, 2012 at 01:40 PM
Tom, I agree there, although seeing Dumbo as a white kid is probably different. I can tell you for sure that when I saw Dumbo at about age 7 or so, I didn't realize the crows were supposed to be comical black people. I just saw that they were almost the only ones who were nice to the poor baby elephant.
If you asked me which part of Dumbo was traumatic, to this day I'd cite "Baby Mine," and not the crows.
On the other hand, I *know* my kids would be, at minimum, puzzled by the Arabs in The Black Stallion because the characters wouldn't jibe with their experiences in any way.
The Siren |
July 12, 2012 at 02:05 PM
I'm now thinking referencing Gunga Din would be a bad idea.
One older "family" film that my kids quite enjoyed was Our Vines Have Tender Grapes. They are big Ponyo fans as well.
July 12, 2012 at 04:23 PM
Yeah, I'm not trying to troll or nothin', but I gotta say I was disappointed in this list. I like my Disney and Pixar movies as much as the next guy, but everybody knows about them and there are so many other excellent films out there kids and families could benefit from seeing. After clicking through 50 pages my counting could be off, but were there really only 3 (I think) black-and-white films on this list? And was Meet Me in St. Louis really placed right below Madagascar and Ice Age?? We've gotta admit there's room for improvement here.
DB's list up there is an excellent start (I esp. like the inclusion of A Little Princess and The Black Stallion). I would also suggest:
My Neighbor Totoro (why on earth wasn't this up there?)
Whisper of the Heart
Every Miyazaki movie but Princess Mononoke (good but too violent), really
The Secret of Kells
Anne of Green Gables
A Christmas Story (come on!)
Miracle on 34th Street
Stars in My Crown
Star Wars ??
The Secret Garden
The NeverEnding Story
Flight of the Navigator (nostalgic favorite)
Young Tom Edison
The Trouble With Angels
Searching for Bobby Fisher
The War of the Buttons (the Irish one)
Superman: The Movie
Zazie dans la Metro
Plus arthouse classics like The Red Balloon, White Mane, Bicycle Thieves, and The Steamroller and the Violin. And why not classics we don't think of as for kids but which they can and should watch like Shane, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Young Mr. Lincoln, How Green Was My Valley, Great Expectations, My Darling Clementine, Harvey, The Lady Vanishes, Charlie Chaplin, and maybe even The Night of the Hunter?
July 12, 2012 at 08:07 PM
I think The Siren's point speaks to the value of cartoons over live action, really. I grew up a white kid in the (far, far) North, and I too had no idea that the crows in Dumbo were supposed to have something in common with Axel Foley---I just thought they were funny birds. They did kinda talk like the Dukes of Hazard, but I thought that was because the Dukes were laid-back good guys instead of quest-going good guys, and the crows were laid-back good guys too, so maybe, like, that was how laid-back good guys talked (I was perhaps a little extra clueless on such matters). Whereas the Arabs in the live-action The Black Stallion are much harder to extricate from their racial aspects. It could, I guess, provoke a good conversation about the role of Arab potentates in the slave trade even to this day, but that's probably a lot more than you want to get into on family movie night.
"Baby Mine", however, makes tears well up for pretty much everyone I know.
That Fuzzy Bastard |
July 12, 2012 at 09:19 PM
Family films and no Don Bluth? Secret of NIHM? American Tail? Maybe not my cup of tea but throw the guy a bone for keeping classic animation alive a decade or more before Disney got back on track and Pixar took the throne.
July 12, 2012 at 10:44 PM
Dang, I even forgot to include Singin' in the Rain, The Adventures of Robin Hood, Anchors Aweigh, Wagon Master, and A Matter of Life and Death. I also remember my family loving "The Egg and I" and the Abbott and Costello movies, especially The Naughty Nineties.
I was going to suggest The Thief of Baghdad as well, but with all the discussion of racism here, I guess that one might be out of bounds for some folks.
July 12, 2012 at 10:56 PM
Apparently, I'm the only one who REALLY loves YELLOW SUBMARINE. Want to also second DB on OLIVER!
July 13, 2012 at 02:55 AM
Babe II: Pig in the City is my favorite kids' film in the last twenty years or so. It was oddly controversial at the time for being too "dark" for kids (I recall Siskel and Ebert jumping on it for that reason), but I think that's nonsense. I third Oliver!; it's a great musical for the young'uns. For being totally bizarre and yet totally appealing to kids, there's nothing like Laurel and Hardy's Babes in Toyland (aka March of the Wooden Soldiers) from 1934, which features the evil landlord Silas Barnaby, played by Henry Brandon 22 years before he was Chief Cicatriz in The Searchers (completely unrecognizable).
July 13, 2012 at 04:27 AM
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