Curling up on the couch and watching a movie with your kids can be a wonderful way to spend an evening at home. But, you know, we don’t blame you if you just can’t sit through Frozen for the 100th time. Try one of these kid-tested, grown-up friendly films for family night instead.
The LEGO® Movie
Every kid has a favorite LEGO® character. When you bring those characters to life and stick an ordinary LEGO minifigure named Emmet in the middle of a prophecy to save the LEGO universe from the Tyrannical Lord Business, well, what you end up with is a fantastical — and often hilarious — journey that parents will happily take with their kiddos. The fact that some of the funniest names in the entertainment biz, like Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks and Will Arnett, voice the characters is icing on the LEGO cake.
When the littles want to watch a movie, Shrek is a great go-to for the parents who are burnt out on the typical bubblegum-sweet kids’ fare. Mike Myers is a genius of comedy, so it’s no surprise that the crotchety, pun-filled title character is a brainchild of the comedian. This movie’s got something for everyone — princesses for your little princesses, slime and grime for the little fellas (or tomboys) and plenty of laugh-out-loud jokes and innuendo for Mom and Dad.
As a rule of thumb, you can’t really go wrong with Steve Carell, who voices the character of super-villain Gru in this heartwarming tale of bad-guy-turned-good. To be honest, we get totally choked up when he realizes he actually loves the three girls he originally adopted merely as part of his nefarious plan to shrink and steal the moon. Besides, we’d watch this movie over and over again just for those adorable little minions.
This 2009 comedy-adventure couldn’t be cuter if it tried. The story of elderly widower Carl Fredericksen, Up follows his amazing journey as he ties thousands of balloons to his home and sets out on an atmospheric journey to fulfill a promise he made to his beloved wife. Of course, the cute stowaway in the form of young Wilderness Explorer Russell complicates things for Fredericksen but adds a ton of heart (and laughs, too).
The Iron Giant
This 1999 gem may not have been a huge success at the box office when it first premiered, but it has since become a bit of a cult classic — for good reason. Set in Maine in 1957 at the height of the Cold War, it tells the story of an outsider named Hogarth who finds an iron giant that has fallen from space. Then, with the help of a beatnik named Dean, he has to figure out a way to stop the military from discovering and destroying their new iron friend. I mean, c’mon, that’s fun stuff any way you slice it.
E.T. is and always will be a movie that is just as much — if not more — fun for adults as it is for kids. How many classic lines can you quote from this movie? If you’re anything like us, a ton… including, of course, “E.T. phone home.” Seriously, though, how could you not love the friendship between Elliott and E.T. or the way their friendship touched the lives of everyone around them? The movie is magical on many different levels.
The Wizard of Oz
“We’re off to see the Wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Oz, because, because, because, because, becauuuuuuse… ” Be honest… you finished singing the song, didn’t you? Don’t feel bad; we can sing pretty much every single word of every single song in the entire movie. It’s an oldie, but it’s most certainly a goodie. The kids will love the characters — Dorothy and Toto, the cowardly lion, the scarecrow, the tin man, Glenda the Good Witch, etc — and you’ll feel like you’re recapturing a piece of your own childhood watching the classic.
What’s cuter than penguins? Not much. And when those penguins sing and dance? Well, that’s just movie gold. Happy Feet is filled with both, and the music in particular is spectacular. It’s impossible not to sing along with Memphis, Norma Jean and Gloria, or to tap your toes right along with Mumble.
A Christmas Story
Every single Christmas, without fail, we watch A Christmas Story at least once. Typically more than twice. Why? The kids love Ralphie and his quest for a Red Ryder air rifle, and they think Randy’s food antics are funny. We grown-ups can’t get enough of the nostalgia. When Mrs. Parker washes Ralphie’s mouth out with soap or when Mr. Parker fawns over his leg lamp (“Fra-gee-lay, must be Italian!”), we’re overcome with a sense of nostalgia.
With documentaries like Blackfish calling attention to orcas in captivity right now, the 1993 film Free Willy seems more relevant than ever. The film, which explores the bond between troubled 12-year-old orphan Jesse and Willy the orca, is chock-full of life lessons and the redeeming (and freeing) power of love. It would be a great springboard into conversation with your kids about animals in captivity and their feelings on the subject.
This post was sponsored by The LEGO Movie.