butter in the middle and on top, please


Yesterday’s comments have proven so resourcefully terrific that real-life lurkers are telling me they’re using the list for reals, so THANK YOU for the suggestions. If you don’t mind me taxing your hive-cerebellum again, can we do the same thing for movies?

This is probably a more well-documented problem, best encapsulated in jp’s links (lists entitled “Non-Boring G-Rated Movies” and “You Can Look at the Screen Again, Honey”). My criterion is the same for these, so I’ll give you a few that she has loved:

Kit Kittredge: An American Girl – Disregard the corporate tie-in, because this is a simple, engaging, fun drama set in the Depression about a plucky girl makin’ it work. Lots of “hoboes” and Stanley Tucci.

Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue – the rare third installment of a franchise that is better than the first two, although all three are kind of awesome. Total Disney computer animation, but fun as hell, and this one has the added benefit of a father-daughter relationship that gets me every time.

Nanny McPhee Returns – Emma Thompson, I hope you never stop making these.

Babe – Probably her favorite movie. And perhaps the best line ever: “That’ll do, pig.”

• “Ponyo” and “Totoro” are the fever dreams we share.

• classics she has loved: “Mary Poppins”, “Singin’ in the Rain”, parts of “Meet Me in St. Louis”, “The Muppets Take Manhattan”

So I leave it to you, fair readers, are there more such movies at the nexus of “not terribly scary”, “non-violent”, “imagination-inspiring”, “age-appropriate” and “guaranteed not to make parents drool with fatigue”?


Tinker Bell is okay, but I’m partial to her pal Silvermist

0 thoughts on “butter in the middle and on top, please

  1. Mindy

    If you like Totoro (we love it) try Kiki’s Delivery Service — it has been favorite in our house for several years. Heidi, Annie, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Jungle Book, Peter Pan, and The Aristocats are also long-time favs. My Lucy has a few years on yours, but mine recently discovered and loves The Sound of Music and The Wizard of Oz.
    I can’t wait to see what everyone else suggests!

  2. GFWD

    While at a good friend’s rehearsal dinner, my old college roommate and I were at the front of the line for the barbecue, when they opened the smoker and there was a fully cooked pig (head and feet still intact). As the aromatic smoke cleared, before the caterer could ask us our preferences, my old roommate said: “That’ll do pig.”
    One of the best uses of a good movie line ever.

  3. Tammy O.

    If you have ‘Ponyo’ and ‘Totoro’ in there, ‘Nausicaa’ should also be on the list. She’s an amazing, strong, ethical young woman – an environmental hero! The American voice talent on the dubbed version is actually really good, too. It’s one of Ehren’s favorite movies, I think, and when we watched it last year we both cried our eyes out.

  4. Sue

    You may think this is inappropriate and I’m not sure if Lucy is into Abba, but my daughters (they were 3 and 5 at the time) spent most of last Christmas vacation watching Mamma Mia. They love, love, love Abba and, yes, there are a few things that you have to explain like why the bride has three dads (the innuendos tend to go over their heads), but overall the scenery and the music wins out.
    They also like the Eloise at the Plaza movie (funny to think that someone actually lives in a hotel). The odd time they’ll watch a Mary Kate and Ashley DVD from the library. They prefer ones with dancing. The characters in those stories seem a lot kinder and not as “mature” as the characters on YTV shows like iCarly.
    We stay away from the rhe Disney movies as the kids mostly classify them as “scary” after 10 or 15 minutes of watching. What was good, and I am in no way an endorser of Barbie, was Barbie and the Twelve Dancing Princesses. Dancing wins every time at our house.
    The now 4 year old and I watched the documentary “Babies” over the holidays and had a great time discussing how people in different countries do the same things but in different ways. Obviously we skipped the birth parts.

  5. D

    Tangled was a recent hit for us also. And How to Train Your Dragon (although the 3D theater experience was a bit too intense). Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a current favorite – Benny Hill’s appearance as the toymaker is an added plus.

  6. Deb

    This is tricky, because what is scary varies from one kid to another. Augie’s recently watched “The Goonies” and “Home Alone” and is obsessed with the Star Wars trilogy, but can’t watch the claymation “Rudolph” because he’s terrified of the Abominable Snowman. Movies we currently have (or have had) in rotation, but could all easily have something scary/sad in them to someone: Wizard of Oz, Willy Wonka, Despicable Me, How to Train Your Dragon, Tangled, Toy Story 3, Ponyo, Spirited Away, Cinderella, The Princess and the Frog, The Polar Express, Hairspray (new), Up, Cloudy/ a Chance of Meatballs, Free To Be You and Me, Robots, Horton Hears a Who, Dumbo, Ratatouille, Cars, Finding Nemo, Monsters, Inc., The Lion King, Annie.
    Oooh, since you said Lucy likes animals and the environment, have you shown her Disney’s “Oceans”? We saw that in the theater and it was just gorgeous.

  7. dct

    The Red Balloon has been Soph’s favorite for a long time, but I’m guessing Lucy’s already gone through that phase!

  8. julie

    Deb’s list is great. We have also liked The Water Horse, Bridge to Terabithia, the Narnia movies. My older boy was obsessed with the Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl (note – one of Taylor Lautner’s first movie roles!) Dennis the Menace, Casper, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Chipmunks (first one more than the second one), and the Shrek movies have also been favorites. Oh and of course the Scooby Doo movies w/Freddie Prinze and SMG are watched over and over.
    There are many – but again some of these may not appeal. It all depends on the child and the family.

  9. emma

    We leave tomorrow morning for Snowshoe Mountain and we will be in the car for 7-8 hours. I told the kids they could each pick two movies for the ride there and back – they share one portable DVD player. My ten year old picked the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian. And my 8 year old (girl) picked Remember the Titans and Sandlot.

  10. Neva

    I think Shrek, Up, Little Mermaid, and Lion King will all be classics for the next generation but of course Mary Poppins, Sound of Music, My Fair Lady and The King and I all great too(we went through a huge musicals phase).
    Lucy’s not quite old enough but our family loves The Princess Bride for family movie night.
    Penelope was cute as was Fantastic Mr. Fox.

  11. Mark

    Naussica is wife and my favorite Miyazaki but it is violent and scary at various times. Laputa has similar content BUT it has one of the most awesome-est giant robots in Japanese animation lore.
    I gotta commend you to Pom Poko. All I gotta say is shapeshifting racoons that take back their land from the humans. Not sure if it has an English language release now that I think of it.
    someone mentioned Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which is a good choice. You know the oompa loompa song is addictive.
    I’ve been thinking about going old school obnoxious on my kids, like getting a copy of The Ghost and Mr Chicken or Mr Limpet or The Apple Dumpling Gang, just to see what happens, lol.

  12. Anne

    Late to the party, but when our kids were younger I *always* consulted this site. It spells out exactly what content in each film might be disturbing, too “sexy,” racy language, violent, nightmarish for little kids, etc.
    Also, please do not laugh at me, but when they were ages preschool through late elementary grades, our kids loved, loved, loved watching re-runs of “The Waltons” on cable TV. I’m sure those are available on DVD. Yes, you’re laughing at me, but the level of those shows was just right for those ages.

  13. Neva

    Oh Anne, The Waltons! I must find it for my 10 year old. Just the other day I said “good night John Boy” and she had no idea what I was talking about.


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