Movie suggestions
August 4, 2014 6:45 AM   Subscribe

Can you help us generate a list of movies for family movie nights? Netflix or from the local library both OK.

We are:

One quirky 11 year old - fan of Star Trek, doesn't like to be scared, tends to like older movies but pretty flexible. Favorite movies: Star Trek movies, The Sand Lot (new version), Mary Poppins, Singin in the Rain, Yellow Submarine.

One kind of cranky grown up, likes old and foreign movies, a bit difficult to please with hollywood movies, but can get down with a good comedy or genre movie - trying to be open minded. Favorite kids movies: Anything Miyazaki.

One more flexible grown up who enjoys romantic comedies, documentaries, and nature movies. Less into old and obscure movies. Favorite kids movie: Finding Nemo.

We all enjoyed the Lego movie and Wreck it Ralph, but have trouble finding common ground at home.

All suggestions welcome.
posted by latkes to Media & Arts (33 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Haven't seen it in a long time, but I remember Time Bandits as being pretty darn quirky.
posted by pjenks at 7:00 AM on August 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Fantastic Voyage was fun, and Innerspace a comedic take on the same idea.
posted by bellastarr at 7:08 AM on August 4, 2014

Obligatory "The Princes Bride" recommendation as a great whole family film. Sounds like you all might also enjoy films like Labyrinth and/or "The Dark Crystal"
posted by Captain_Science at 7:09 AM on August 4, 2014 [4 favorites]

Singing in the Rain matches up well with The Bandwagon. Warning, though, Bandwagon starts kind of slow and hokey, but builds. (The last 20 minutes are genius)
An American in Paris has a lot of the Singing in the Rain feel to it.
A Christmas Story matches up well with Sand Lot.
For nature movies, The Planet Earth series is incredible. Several other recent BBC are nearly as good.
Other classics like The Princess Bride should not be missed.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:10 AM on August 4, 2014

Nanny McPhee (1 and 2)
posted by RaRa-SpaceRobot at 7:11 AM on August 4, 2014

Hmm... possibly The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec? French adventure romp by Luc Besson and loosely based on a French comic book series from the 1970s. Set in Paris around 1910. Heroine is an adventurer type whose sister was grievously injured in a freak tennis accident (the flashback in which the friendly game between sisters gradually becomes more and more intense until disaster strikes is hilarious).

So she's trying to resurrect the mummy of a brilliant Egyptian doctor to fix her. Because that would be the logical treatment. But she gets sidetracked when a pterodactyl egg at the Paris museum suddenly hatches and a hungry dinosaur stalks the streets.

It's got a hungry dinosaur and a bunch of mummies which I suppose the 11 year old could find scary, but everyone turns out to be pretty much good people. There's lazy policemen, a questionable big game hunter, a lovestruck scientist, a not terribly competent prison escape, and more. It's basically very over the top goofy fun, not to be taken all that seriously. I think of it as sort of what Tintin would be like if Tintin himself were a cute French girl with a droll sense of humor. FWIW, I suspect Miyazaki would love it.
posted by Naberius at 7:12 AM on August 4, 2014 [3 favorites]

James and the Giant Peach
posted by RaRa-SpaceRobot at 7:12 AM on August 4, 2014

The Neverending Story could work.

Have you tried old Steve Martin movies like The Man With 2 Brains? I loved his movies when I was that age.
posted by snaw at 7:15 AM on August 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

A Town Called Panic does not appear to be on Netflix anymore, but it's a deeply weird, very funny stop motion animation children's movie that I heard best described as "Toy Story on absinthe." The version I saw was in French, with subtitles, in case that's an issue for anyone.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:17 AM on August 4, 2014

What about watching old MST3K episodes on Netflix? The movies are usually too "B-movie" to be truly scary in most situations, but manage to fulfill the quirky 11 year old and kind of cranky grown up's preference for older movies while also being comedic and relatively family friendly.

Seconding Captain_Science's suggestion to watch Jim Henson/muppet movies.

As someone who relates more to the kind of cranky grown up's taste for old and foreign films, I know this is a tough list to make if you want to please everyone involved. "The Secret of Kells" is a great animated kids movie for those who prefer Miyazaki-quality work. And if you haven't seen it yet, "Hugo" was another recent rock solid children's movie (Scorcese directed).

I also would not discount the 80's as a great decade for Hollywood films. I am loathe of most Hollywood films, but the 80's were the decade when most studios ceased funding independent movies and focused their efforts on blockbusters. *Good* blockbusters. The Indiana Jones and Back to the Future series were my favorite movies to watch with my parents when I was a kid (not sure if these would qualify as scary or not in the mind of the 11 year old). Karate Kid, The Goonies, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, etc. Maybe even Amadeus or Brazil.

And for documentaries, I always heartily recommend the work of Werner Herzog or Errol Morris.
posted by nightrecordings at 7:19 AM on August 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Heaven Can Wait is one of my favorite movies and is definitely suitable for family viewing. I've probably seen this movie at least ten times, and everyone else in my family likes it, too. I would also recommend The Gods Must Be Crazy, which is also very much suitable for family night.
posted by alex1965 at 7:20 AM on August 4, 2014

I absolutely loved The Neverending Story, but I found it scary as a youngin--stormy night, forest, The Nothing! I watched it numerous times anyway and admittedly sometimes enjoyed that old kind of scary (vs. new hollywood scary).

It's a MUST WATCH. Just wanted to add the caveat since you mention your 11 year old does not like to be scared. I'm very easily scared, though.
posted by RaRa-SpaceRobot at 7:28 AM on August 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

IIRC, Time Bandits had a pretty disturbing scene involving the kids parents, FYI.

We watched "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" last night with our little ones, and it was a perfect fit.
posted by jbickers at 7:37 AM on August 4, 2014

Indiana Jones 1 and 3, skip 2.
Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House
The Lion King if you haven't already
Angels in the Outfield might be too sappy
A Far-Off Place
OH! Back to the Future! All of them.
Maybe The African Queen?
posted by Snarl Furillo at 7:43 AM on August 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Also, keep Jurassic Park in your back pocket for when she'll find it intense but not scary.

Also Ghostbusters. Time to introduce her to "it's true, this man has no dick."
posted by Snarl Furillo at 7:45 AM on August 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

We have a pretty similar family profile (though kid is a bit older, and some that we have all enjoyed together include:

Back to the Future (bonus: see all 3 and decide which of the sequels is worse)
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (NB: there's some swearing in here, mainly just one scene where Steve Martin says Fuck like 20 times)
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Monty Python - The Holy Grail - if the jokey blood stuff in it isn't too much for you/kid
Pixar classics that never go out of style - Toy Story movies, Ratatouille, Wall-E
Wes Anderson movies - Fantastic Mr Fox, Moonrise Kingdom; Grand Budapest is R rated but we were OK with it (a bit violent, might be too adult for you)

Some streaming TV stuff you might like too:
Cosmos reboot (Fox, now on Netflix) - this has launched us into a ton of Neil DeGrasse Tyson material (including podcasts, books by him, etc).
British TV show "Supersizers" (on hulu) which has 2 goofy journalists re-enacting food and life aspects of the past (e.g. postwar austerity Britain, the Middle Ages, etc).
"Moone Boy" (hulu) depicts your kid's age group in a chaotic Irish household in the 80s. There's also some swearing in there (we don't care about this, but just want to warn you).
posted by bluedeans at 7:57 AM on August 4, 2014

The Iron Giant

Bedknobs and Broomsticks
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 8:21 AM on August 4, 2014 [3 favorites]

Nacho Libre
posted by Sassyfras at 8:33 AM on August 4, 2014

Watch the Harryhausen Sinbad movies! Especially the first one The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad.
posted by Kafkaesque at 10:06 AM on August 4, 2014

Maybe also Despicable Me and Emperor's New Groove.

Other ideas: Ferris Bueller, Toy Soldiers, Spaceballs.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 10:24 AM on August 4, 2014

If you are okay with some nudity, "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen" is a fine movie.
posted by pknodle at 10:31 AM on August 4, 2014

posted by killy willy at 1:16 PM on August 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Nthing The Iron Giant. For my money, the greatest animated movie ever.

I'd also go with Stardust, Titan AE, and The Dark Crystal.
posted by JimBJ9 at 1:50 PM on August 4, 2014

Galaxy Quest.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:02 PM on August 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

Nthing the Iron Giant, Pixar films and Wes Anderson films. I'd also add Stephen Chow's Shaolin Soccer and Kung Fu Hustle, which are a lot of fun.

Also, if you run through all of the fantastic suggestions given in this thread, is dedicated to help folks find what to watch on Netflix. They have the "Family features"/ "Children & family movies" filters that you're looking for and can also sort on the ratings from RottenTomatoes as well.
posted by comradechu at 3:10 PM on August 4, 2014

Got this suggestion on a similar question and LOVED it!

Scooby Doo: Mystery Incorporated (watch an episode to kick things off.)

Some that my students enjoyed when I taught school

Uncle Buck


Stand and Deliver

Crooklyn (Kind of sad at the end.)

Movie away!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:50 PM on August 4, 2014

Whale Rider is a great movie for kids and adults.
posted by hydra77 at 9:43 PM on August 4, 2014

What’s Up Doc?, The Trouble With Angels, Support Your Local Sheriff, Shane, A Boy Named Charlie Brown, The Beatles: Help!, Linda Linda Linda (Japanese w/ subtitles), The Straight Story, Fahrenheit 451 (Truffaut), Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder), River of No Return, Robin and Marian, Pillow Talk, In Search of the Castaways, Move Over Darling, Summer Magic, Forbidden Planet, Father Goose, Popeye, Houseboat, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006), The Music Man, Dreamer (2005), My Fair Lady, The Return of the Pink Panther, Roman Holiday, North by Northwest, The Awful Truth, My Favorite Wife, Jab We Met (Hindi w/ subtitles), To Catch a Thief, The Shop Around the Corner, Cutthroat Island, Together Again (Irene Dunn), 3:10 to Yuma (1957), Flower Drum Song, Paper Moon, The Moon-Spinners, I Married a Witch, Walk Don’t Run, Arsenic and Old Lace, (and, not really movies, but Korean Dramas like: Arang and the Magistrate, Rooftop Prince)
posted by jabah at 10:54 PM on August 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. (And the second movie - not as good as the first but still very good!)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 7:28 AM on August 5, 2014

oh! also occurred to me - if they like Star Wars, watch Spaceballs. If you like it, try some other Mel Brooks, though quality is kind of variable.
posted by bluedeans at 9:01 AM on August 5, 2014

Time Bandits is quite scary. The Man With Two Brains is gloriously silly but does have quite a lot of sex jokes. (Young Frankenstein, ditto.)

Galaxy Quest would be a great fit. (Lots of love for it in this recent thread.)

The Donner/Reeves Superman?

Some Like It Hot. The Ladykillers (1955) -- and if that works there's plenty more Ealing comedies to explore. Kind Hearts and Coronets next!

The Coen's remake of The Ladykillers is an R -- mostly for language I think. The Hudsucker Proxy is PG so might be a good one for parents and kids to watch together?

Lilo & Stitch is a strangely non-Disney-ey Disney; might pair well against Miyazaki?
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:24 PM on August 5, 2014

Mary Poppins

Suggests maybe Chitty Chitty Bang Bang?
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:26 PM on August 5, 2014

It's not a movie, but how about Dr. Who? The episodes starring David Tennant are especially enjoyable. Plenty of quirkiness, too. Might also want to try The Triplets of Belleville, Flight of the Navigator, or Groundhog Day. Maybe the Lord of the Rings movies.
posted by hifidelity at 6:12 PM on August 6, 2014

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