Who doesn't like the Shaggy D.A.?
January 6, 2012 11:37 AM   Subscribe

I have a four year old (turning five in March) step son who loves dinosaurs, cars, and super heroes. So basically, he's a normal four year old. Any movie suggestions for me/him that aren't Pixar? I'm thinking stuff like The Shaggy D.A. but maybe kids don't like that stuff any more?? Help!

We don't watch a lot of movies or TV with him, try to limit it, but when we do we want to show him worthwhile stuff. Between us and his mother he has been exposed to all the current stuff (every Pixar movie ever, all the Disney stuff, all the Dreamworks stuff, etc) so I want to sort of take it in a different direction and do classics or off-the-beaten-path things. Personally I want to expose him to the movies I grew up with, like:
- The Shaggy Dog/The Shaggy DA
- The Love Bug/Herbie
- Honey I Shrunk the Kids
- Ernest movies (...goes to jail, ... goes to camp,... etc)
- Apple Dumpling Gang

My partner is of two minds - he seems to think the four year old in question may not like them because he is used to flashy contemporary stuff. He said, and I quote, "Kids have an interesting eye... and things over time change....". And then suggested "Condor Man" so basically my partner is a little insane and not much help.

Has anyone tried showing their young children the movies they were brought up on with success?

Anyway, any movies that your young boy loved? Stuff that is relatively wholesome, not war/gun/fighting centric, no swearing, and not too scary is preferred. Bonus points if the movies could trigger important conversations and learning, but at some point a movie-for-entertainment-sake is pretty awesome.
posted by gwenlister to Media & Arts (31 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Haven't met a kid that age yet who didn't like My Neighbor Totoro.
posted by feckless at 11:43 AM on January 6, 2012 [6 favorites]

My youngest (who is now 16) at ages 3-5 liked documentaries that involved huge trucks and people building things. I can probably quote all the dialogue in this video from memory. Eventually his siblings hid the tape and gave him some Star Wars Lego so his obsessions were ... redirected.
posted by zomg at 11:44 AM on January 6, 2012

Oooh and I second Totoro, or Kiki's Delivery Service. Not "Spirited Away," at that age, scary as HECK.
posted by zomg at 11:45 AM on January 6, 2012

You're showing him the Muppets, right? Lots and lots of Muppets?
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:46 AM on January 6, 2012 [8 favorites]

Not a movie, but what about the old Inspector Gadget tv series? He is a hero, who has cool gadgets, there are fun but not too scary crooks, Penny is a gem, and it's catchy and fun.
posted by Night_owl at 11:50 AM on January 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

My kids and I love The Iron Giant.
posted by kinetic at 11:52 AM on January 6, 2012 [3 favorites]

I got the Electric Company DVDs and those were a pretty big hit (I may be older than you...).

Also, while they aren't movies, America's Funniest Home Videos is a HUGE hit with my 5-y-old son. No foul language or corporate product placement....just repeated blows to the groin and funny dog videos. HI-larity.
posted by pantarei70 at 11:52 AM on January 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

And how could I forget about Mister Rogers?
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:56 AM on January 6, 2012

Any of the Muppet movies
Fraggle Rock
posted by elle.jeezy at 12:03 PM on January 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

Babies documentary
posted by k8t at 12:06 PM on January 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

Remember CBS's Children's Film Festival with Kukla, Fran and Ollie? Here's a link to all the films shown in the series.
posted by elle.jeezy at 12:07 PM on January 6, 2012

I came in to suggest Totoro, because my 4 year old son (into dinosaurs, trains, and superheroes except only through other kids at school because I won't show him superhero stuff) LOVES Totoro so much. Its not scary, its delightfully cute, and he may be able to relate to the theme of being separated from a parent, since his parents are divorced.
posted by Joh at 12:13 PM on January 6, 2012

Condor Man is one of the best things to ever come out of Disney! I happily join him in his insanity! We've had good luck with our 2 yr old and our 6 yr old finding shows/movies from overseas. Particularly Sweden (my family is from there.) They're still learning the language so we get them dubbed or subtitled but so far it's been great. The filmmakers there seem to have a better grasp on a child being a child and not simply a consumer of explosions.
posted by damiano99 at 12:28 PM on January 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

nthing Ponyo, and seconding The Iron Giant.

My kids and I liked We're Back: A Dinosaur's Story. Very cute, appropriate for a 4 year-old, and how can anyone not support the idea, "Let No Bad Things Happen!"?

As far as introducing him to the 'classics' goes...Kids these days are much more mature when it comes to media than we were. That's not a bad thing, and you can still try some of your favorites, but I'd urge caution.

Blazing Saddles, for instance, was a favorite of my parents. That scene where they all are passing gas around the campfire? Reduced my Mom to hysterical tears, while I was very meh about the whole thing. Things that were taboo and shocking to my Mom were much less so to me. I had no interest.

Now, I'm a Mom, and my own kids have openly snarked on some of my favorite classics (for instance, my oldest thought claymation stuff was really freaky and wouldn't even watch the Rudolph movies, and they both hate my favorite Christmas song from them, Mr. Heatmeister, even though Big Bad Voodoo Daddy does a an AWESOME rendition of it).

To be fair, they have also openly embraced others of my faves (Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Princess Bride, Fright Night).

Thing is, it's really hard to judge which way they are going to react. You may find your old loves tarnished by your nephew's reaction to them.
posted by misha at 12:28 PM on January 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

ACk! Stepson, not nephew!!
posted by misha at 12:29 PM on January 6, 2012

If he likes cars, there is always Ian Fleming's other creation, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

My six (soon to be seven) year old definitely likes to watch the things that have become classics since I watched them as a child; Peanuts and Rankin-Bass holiday specials, The Electric Company DVDs mentioned above, even videos of the classic rock I try to turn her on to (especially Deep Purple and Wings). Also as mentioned above, Ponyo was a big hit. So I would say to follow your instincts and try new and different things> Some of the movies I liked as a kid have kind of flopped, but many have been popular. One thing I have done to avoid buying movies without knowing if they will be liked is to watch for old children's programming to come on cable and record it on the DVR for watching whenever convenient. If it is a big hit, then buying a DVD to watch in the car or at other houses etc. is less of a risk.
posted by TedW at 12:32 PM on January 6, 2012

Blazing Saddles, for instance, was a favorite of my parents. That scene where they all are passing gas around the campfire? Reduced my Mom to hysterical tears, while I was very meh about the whole thing.

I was never much into fart jokes, even as a kid, so that scene never did much for me. I showed it to my daughter when she was a little younger and it reduced her to hysterics (and still does). It will be awhile before she sees the rest of the movie, though.
posted by TedW at 12:35 PM on January 6, 2012

Ah, The Apple Dumpling Gang (Don and Tim how I love thee...) my kids loved that as well as The Ghost and Mr Chicken. Also, Totoro is hugely popular in our household as well.

The original Muppet movies and the Muppet Show are still just as wonderful now as they ever were.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 12:37 PM on January 6, 2012

My kids loved all of the Land Before Time movies, Little Rascals new and old, Matilda, Spy Kids (be prepared for lots of spy pretending), and of all things, Jurassic Park (husband let 3 and 6 year old watch when I wasn't there but they became addicted to it!).
posted by maxg94 at 12:43 PM on January 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

We're Back is a great cartoon movie about dinosaurs. GREAT, I tell you!
posted by firei at 12:45 PM on January 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

The Absent Minded Professor. It has a flying car in it and Flubber!
posted by cazoo at 1:17 PM on January 6, 2012

Pat & Mat.
posted by davar at 1:33 PM on January 6, 2012

I love the original B&W Betty Boop cartoons from the 1930's and completely got my friend's 2 kids, at the time 7 and under into them. So much to the point that her daughter would dance along with Betty and do the "Boop-oop-de-doop" at the beginning of every cartoon. It also got her kids into swing and jazz music to a point as the original series would at times feature live bands like Louis Armstrong's. The animation is great and the kids didn't mind it being B&W at all. She mentioned that the kids didn't get as hyper or wound up when they watched them.
posted by googlebombed at 2:20 PM on January 6, 2012

Has anyone tried showing their young children the movies they were brought up on with success?
You won't know until you try, right? Why not give it a shot- watch with him, of course. Oftentimes kids that age are going to respond to your enjoyment as well. Even when I was older I absorbed a lot of what my dad liked about classic movies by watching them with him on Saturday afternoons. My friends at the time (other adolescent females, that is), weren't too interested in The Eagle Has Landed or Zulu or Treasure of the Sierra Madre, but I still love those films because of those Saturday afternoons.

So what I'm saying, is that it is less about what's contemporary for kids to watch, and more about you helping to broaden their horizons. You're only going to find out if he enjoys them by trying.
posted by oneirodynia at 2:25 PM on January 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Netflix streaming has a lot of great cartoons from when I was a kid that are pretty slow moving. My 3.5 year old loves them. Stuff like He-Man/She-Ra from the eighties, and Spiderman from the seventies. They have plenty of more recent, flashier stuff like Phineas and Ferb, Spongebob, etc, but I try to avoid those. Ponyo and the other Miyazaki films are great suggestions too.

I bought a bunch of the old Superfriends Challenge with Legion of Doom, and the Superfriends hour DVDs they used to play Saturday mornings in the eighties, and I'd say those are his favorites.

He doesn't seem to enjoy live action so much, but I can get him to watch shows with animals in it with me, like Benji and the Babe movies.
posted by Roger Dodger at 2:58 PM on January 6, 2012

Response by poster: Tried muppets, specifically the "Muppet Family Christmas" and he didn't enjoy it very much. :(

Great suggestions though. Keep 'em coming!
posted by gwenlister at 3:35 PM on January 6, 2012

Disney's Fantasia. Or possibly Planet Earth or other BBC nature documentary. Maybe the Batman or Hellboy Animated Series? He won't understand it all and you won't be able to hold his attention the entire time, but at that age you don't necessarily want to. You want to provide a kind of audiovisual soundtrack for the imagination...
posted by sharkitect at 3:53 PM on January 6, 2012

Old school stuff my almost-four loves:
-Schoolhouse Rock
-Tom and Jerry (sat and watched it for hours with his 90 yr-old great-grandma)
-Danger Mouse
posted by wallaby at 3:55 PM on January 6, 2012

Ponyo definitely!

Also Mighty Machines which is about every large machine/mover/truck ever made.

I have also streamed silent films like Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin -- the slapstick is hilarious to kids that age (or was to me and my kids).

What about the Planet Earth series?

My kids (6, 4, 2) also love Wallace & Gromit and Shaun the Sheep. Even Timmy Time, which skews a bit younger. They also adore Phineas & Ferb, which is adorably witty and easy for me to watch with them.
posted by mdiskin at 4:58 PM on January 6, 2012

My kids find the muppet show much more interesting than the movies, fwiw.
posted by purenitrous at 5:05 PM on January 6, 2012

Based on my five year old and her hour year old best (male) friend:

Bob the Builder.
Danger Mouse.
Ice Age movies.
Shaun the Sheep.
Wallace and Gromit.
Monsters vs Aliens.
Some of the old Bugs and Daffy shorts (e.g. Duck Amuck, Wabbit Season, What's Opera, Doc?).
Microcosmos (nature doco).
Planet Earth (ditto).
Some Muppet Show segments - she was bored by whole shows, but has loved excerpts (like Crocodile Rock, for example).
Jurassic Park.
posted by rodgerd at 2:54 AM on January 7, 2012

« Older I'm fine with the fake diamond stone, but the...   |   How to bullshit a restaurant resume Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.