Top Five Family Movies (that won’t make you want to gouge out your eyes)

Phew! Second book is out, which means that I can get back to posting inane writing advice and random opinions about television, music, and movies. Now, Christmas is coming (according to my local Target, it’s been Christmas season for about three months now) but soon, the kids will be out of school, which means that parents everywhere, in addition to searching for that Lego Ninjago set that their kid just had to have that apparently every other kid in the country also had to have (just me?) …besides that, parents will be tearing their hair out trying to find things for their kids to do instead of bugging them.

Now, if I was a wholesome, smart blogger, I’d give you all sorts of uplifting, but thrifty, crafts that your kids can do. Ideally, you’d also be able to use these as Christmas presents for grandparents. Sadly for you, I am not that wholesome, so I’m just going to give you…

The top five family movies that won’t make you want to gouge your eyes out! (Because we all know that Christmas vacation really means letting the kids watch entirely too much TV.) Without further ado…

  1. Anything by Pixar Let’s just get this out of the way, even Pixar’s not-the-greatest movies (I wasn’t a huge Cars fan) are still heads and tails above the rest, and when they’re really good, they’re sublime. (You haven’t watched UP yet? WHY NOT?) Stand-out favorites of mine: UP, Ratatouille, The Incredibles.
  2. Into the West This is a 1992 Irish family film you probably haven’t heard of. It may feature a somewhat idealized version of Irish Traveler life, but it also offers a wonderfully imaginative story, two brothers with vivid imaginations and a desire to be cowboys, and solid performances from Gabriel Byrne, Ellen Barkin, and David Kelly. It’s sweet and fantastic in the best way, a perfect film for the dreamer in the family. Other favorites from Ireland: The Secret of Roan Inish, The Secret of Kells. (Lots of secrets, but then, I’m a fan of Irish mythology.)
  3. Howl’s Moving Castle I love this film. I love anything from Studio Ghibli, but Howl is a favorite. Once again, it’s a fantastical story, and one that might not appeal to younger kids, but the animation is gorgeous, the voice work is stellar, and the story is pure magic. Miyazaki has some of the most distinctive characters in animation, and you’ll fall in love with Sophie, Howl, and even the very memorable (but voiceless for most of the film) Scarecrow. Other Miyazaki films worth looking for: Ponyo and the amazing Spirited Away.
  4. Uncle Buck I’m mixing it up, but any Christmas without at least one classic John Hughes film is no Christmas, as far as I’m concerned. Why Uncle Buck? Because it’s been I-don’t-know-how-many-years, and I’m still missing John Candy, and he just shone in this movie. Also, there’s one of the best kids bowling scenes in film, ever, and you know how I feel about bowling. John Hughes required viewing: The Great Outdoors and (of course for Christmas) the original Home Alone.
  5. The Muppet Movie Watch the original. Watch them all. Watch A Muppet Christmas Carol for the holidays. Watch the new one in the theaters. (I saw it! It was very fun.) Watch the original TV series if you can find it. Just watch the heck out of the Muppets. Why? Because Muppets are awesome, and if your kids are not exposed to them, they’re missing out, and I might report you for neglect. Okay, not really…but maybe. I’ll think about it. Mostly, just watch the Muppets and appreciate the wit and the phenomenal skill involved in doing slapstick comedy with puppets. Jim Henson and company knew that comedy didn’t have to be vulgar; we didn’t appreciate him enough while he was here.

So, there’s my top five recommendations. Well, looking now, I can kind of see there’s more like…fifteen or twenty up there, but hey, it’s a long two weeks for you parents. I don’t want you to go nuts.

Thanks for reading,


Posted in Family, Holidays, Kids, Life, Movies, Random, Top Five, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .


  1. Agree with all the movies. Love the Jingle Bells at the end! Just bought both the books for my new Kindle. Just got to say WOW! Nice job. Looking forward to more. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  2. I love your movie picks and I love The Santa Clause (the first one). I’m not sure why, but I do.

    Also, if you want a really cool Christmas craft that you can give as gifts and they turn out great for all ages: Get several clear glass Christmas Ornaments (Michael’s sells them if you have one near you), several colors of acrylic paints (some metallic)(the kind in the plastic bottle with the flip top cap so you can squeeze out a little paint at a time) and some pretty (narrow) wired ribbon (pick gold or silver or a color that will go with all the paints you buy) and paper cups that you can sit the painted ornaments in without tipping over. Take the metal hanger thingy’s off and have the kids pour some paint inside the ornament and move it around so the paint covers some of the inside of the ornament. Then do the same thing with another color. They will want to use all the colors in one ornament and it will turn out yucky brown, but they have to get that out of their system. When they have paint swirled around to their satisfaction sit the ornaments, opening down, inside the paper cups so the excess paint can drip out and dry. Put the metal hanger thingy back in the ornament and tie a simple bow in the loop of the metal hanger thingy. I made them with my kids and now I bought some to make with my granddaughter. Now they have clear plastic ornaments which we are going to try.

Leave a Reply