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Help me choose the Best Kid-Flicks winner

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Here are the entries in Looking Closer's Best Kid-Flicks Contest.

Contest entries were to include 5 - 10 recommended titles for kids 12 and younger.

Please peruse these lists, and then tell me which list you would recommend as the ideal starter-library for youngsters.

1.

Toy Story 2

Mary Poppins

Belle et la bete (1946)

Star Wars

Little Women (1994)

Rescuers Down Under

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

Princess Bride

To Kill a Mockingbird

Pirates of the Carribean.

2.

The Incredibles

Hoodwinked

The Sound of Music

Toy Story 2

3.

Star Wars

E.T.

The Wizard of Oz

Alice in Wonderland (Disney)

Babe

Honorable mention: anything Pixar, Superman:The Movie, The Dark Crystal, Watership Down, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Sound of Music, Oliver!

4.

The Goonies

The Muppet Movie

Race For Your Life Charlie Brown

The Lion, The With & The Wardrobe

The Lion King (on Broadway)

5.

The Black Stallion

The Iron Giant

Babe

The Red Balloon (dir: Albert Lamorisse)

The Sword in the Stone (Disney)

Star Wars

6.

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)

The Champ (1931)

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977)

The Hobbit (1977)

Harvey (1950)

7.

Beauty and the Beast (1991)

Toy Story 2 (1999)

Spirited Away (2002)

Aquamarine (2006)

The Iron Giant (1999)

8.

The Cowboys

Ben Hur

The Miracle Maker

Iron Giant

Mulan

9.

The Secret of Roan Inish

The Miracle Maker

Finding Nemo

The Railway Children (1970)

To Kill a Mockingbird

10.

The Wizard of Oz

Millions

Incredibles

Summer of the Monkeys

Secondhand Lions

Babe

Iron Giant

Stuart Little

Anne of Green Gables

Sarah Plain and Tall

11.

Babe

The Incredibles

Searching for Bobby Fisher

Toy Story 2

Rigoletto

Hoodwinked

The Miracle Maker

Holes

Secondhand Lions

12.

Star Wars

The Sound of Music

Beauty and the Beast

The Lion King

A Bug's Life

Sky High

13.

An American Tail

The Goonies

The Princess Bride

Robin Hood (Disney)

Mary Poppins

The Black Cauldron

The Muppet Movie

Muppet Treasure Island

The Never Ending Story

The Wizard of Oz

14.

Willow

The Secret of NIMH

15.

Babe

The Wizard of Oz

The Red Balloon

Dumbo

Beauty and the Beast (Cocteau)

16.

Watership Down

The Yearling

The Boy with Green Hair

On Borrowed Time

The Railway Children

Gulliver

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(#21)

The Secret of Roan Inish

The Princess Bride

The Wizard of Oz

Millions

The Secret Garden (1993)

The Incredibles

Finding Nemo

Spirited Away

Kiki's Delivery Service

Really, really hard to choose just one--probably why you shunted the choice off on A&F, you slacker! ;)

However, this fine list includes almost every flick I'd have chosen (it's not mine, I hasten to note), and does NOT include "Three Stooges" in any form. B)

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5.

The Black Stallion

The Iron Giant

Babe

The Red Balloon (dir: Albert Lamorisse)

The Sword in the Stone (Disney)

Star Wars

I have to say I quite like this list. Short. Sweet.

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By the way (and it goes without saying), if you entered the contest, you can't vote for your own entry...

And I did say, at the opening of the contest, that I would ask A&F to pick the winner.

Edited by Jeffrey Overstreet

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List #5 for me also. You would be surprised how a seemingly slow-paced (bah!) movie like The Black Stallion can capture so many children's attention.

Also, I misread at first and actually thought that you were asking us to compile our own selections from those lists. So not to let 10 minutes of work go to waste, this is based on a combination of what my wife and I have seen, what we enjoyed, what our oldest was interested in (or may be interested in), and what we'll allow our kids to see at certain age levels:

Over 0

Toy Story 2

The Black Stallion

A Bug's Life

An American Tail

Robin Hood (Disney)

Dumbo

The Jungle Book

The Emperor's New Groove

Kiki's Delivery Service

Monsters Inc

Over 4

Rescuers Down Under

The Incredibles

The Sound of Music

Mary Poppins

Stuart Little

Hook

Over 7

Princess Bride

The Goonies

The Iron Giant

Spirited Away (2002)

Secondhand Lions

Searching for Bobby Fisher

Holes

Sky High

The Secret of NIMH

Watership Down

The Wizard of Oz

Spider-man

Spider-man 2

Pete's Dragon

The Lord of the Rings

Peter Pan (2003)

Over 10

To Kill a Mockingbird

The Cowboys

October Sky

The Karate Kid

E.T.

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I'd go with the first list, for breadth. Live action and animated. Comedies and more serious fare. Older films and more contemporary choices. Color and black-and-white. International and domestic cinema. All great choices.

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I'll take #21. I also like #1, 22 and 23. Tough choices because each list seems to be missing something important. I'm not sure which kind of breadth to make a priority: breadth of age-appropriateness, or breadth of genre...

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I'm with Beth R. - List 22

It has the requisite (for me) textbook american narrative film- Finding Nemo, and then a few off the beaten path gems as well.

I'd venture to guess that the author of list 17 has never actually MET a child.

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I'd venture to guess that the author of list 17 has never actually MET a child.

What, you don't think a 5-year-old would enjoy The Return?? There goes Crazy Dan Buck again...

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Ken,

If it had Magnolia, I would've voted for it.

;)

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Has anyone out there seen The Way Things Go (Der Lauf Der Dinge)? List 23 may be at a disadvantage because of its obscurity...but its amazing. Check it out if you haven't. It's not what you'd expect, but it will captivate anyone over the age of 4 or 5.

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I'd venture to guess that the author of list 17 has never actually MET a child.

I actually wondered that about the author of list 1. I mean he didn't even include Nanny McPhee!

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Are there themes for the various lists, or is that part of our challenge?

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Twenty-one for me, too (sorry, Ken!).

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gotta go with 1, despite Rescuers Down Under.

Only 3 lists have Mary Poppins.

One of those also has The Secret of NIMH (blecccccccch) and The Goonies (insert disgusting noise here).

Another list has Mary Poppins and several pretty good films, but at least one film I'd never show kids under 12.

I'm appalled that there are no silent films anywhere on any list. My 1-year-old seems to like Harold Lloyd...

Edited by mrmando

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I'm with Beth R. - List 22

It has the requisite (for me) textbook american narrative film- Finding Nemo, and then a few off the beaten path gems as well.

Nothing wrong with #22, but if you really intended to endorse my pick, it was #21.

I'd venture to guess that the author of list 17 has never actually MET a child.

Maybe, but I seem to recall that some A&F kid enjoyed Story of the Weeping Camel a lot.

Edited by BethR

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How can it be that not one list combines The Wizard of Oz, one or both Toy Story movies, and Star Wars? I'm stunned.

After that, Babe, The Iron Giant and The Incredibles are all obvious choices.

Less obvious but also wonderful are Watership Down, The Story of the Weeping Camel and Microcosmos, Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas and The Emperor's New Groove, all of which were nominated at least once, hooray. I can't tell you how happy it makes me to see Microcosmos included rather than March of the Penguins! OTOH, where is Besson's Atlantis, or even Winged Migration? Also sadly and strangely missing are The Court Jester, Bambi and Fantasia... and no silent film at all. :(

Surprising choices: Can #17 really mean Zvyagintsev's The Return?! And are Harvey or Rocky really kid-friendly? On another level, I'm surprised that anyone would consider The Black Cauldron, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971), or Secondhand Lions worthy of shortlist mention.

A number of Spirited Aways, but only one mention apiece for Kiki's Delivery Service and My Neighbor Totoro, either of which I would choose first for young kids every time. Three mentions for The Miracle Maker, hooray (but none for The Prince of Egypt). And while Pirates of the Caribbean gets a mention, Raiders of the Lost Ark doesn't!

I have to go over the individual lists more, but on first glance I guess I like #3 for including Star Wars, The Wizard of Oz and "anything Pixar" for honorable mention, plus Babe and E.T. are also good choices. #11, #21 #22 and #23 are also good.

Oh, and the most interesting list may be #16.

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It's Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, right? All those questions about the Sabine women...

No, Mrs. Doubtfire. Hate to sound Baehrish, but I do think Mara Wilson's "We're his g-----n kids too" is a showstopper for small kids. And it's something I'd be sure to discuss with an older kid.

I coulda sworn my ballot said "a small panel of expets" would determine the winner.

Only expets I know of are the flock of abandoned domestic rabbits living around Seattle's Greenlake. I didn't know Jeff was going to let the bunnies be the final judges.

no silent film at all. :(

SDG, which silents would you recommend for kids? I'd go with 2 of each from The Big Three:

The Kid Brother

Safety Last

Go West

Steamboat Bill Jr.

City Lights

The Gold Rush

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SDG, which silents would you recommend for kids? I'd go with 2 of each from The Big Three:

The Kid Brother

Safety Last

Go West

Steamboat Bill Jr.

City Lights

The Gold Rush

An excellent lineup. I especially applaud your choices from Chaplin and Lloyd. For Keaton, I think The General is absolutely indispensable; for a second pick, I'd probably go with Our Hospitality.

Don't forget Douglas Fairbanks Sr! The Thief of Bagdad for sure. For a second pick, maybe The Black Pirate, although the penultimate reel of The Mark of Zorro may be the best sustained stunt sequence in all of silent film, and Don Q Son of Zorro and Robin Hood are also very good.

Equally wonderful for family viewing is the 1924 Peter Pan. Together with the 2000 Cathy Rigby musical version, it's the best Peter Pan there is. (I appreciate the 2003 P. J. Hogan version and the 1963 Disney cartoon, but I don't put them in the same class.)

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For Keaton, I think The General is absolutely indispensable; for a second pick, I'd probably go with Our Hospitality.

As much as I like The General, I figured small kids would have a hard time following it. And I like Steamboat Bill Jr. better anyway.

the penultimate reel of The Mark of Zorro may be the best sustained stunt sequence in all of silent film

Really? I agree it's great, but I'd think Lloyd and Keaton would provide some stiff competition there. The climactic chases in Girl Shy and College are pret-ty amazing. I do need to watch some more Doug. My best friend has an almost complete collection.

Equally wonderful for family viewing is the 1924 Peter Pan.

I'll have to look it up.

I would point out that ONE of these lists had five and offered the other five as suitable replacements. (Though I hasten to assure mrmando that the ONE I speak of had Mary Poppins in the original list.

But does that mean Star Wars was also in your original list?

I remember watching Star Wars the year it came out. I was 7. I couldn't follow it. Remember, this was before the films were marketed to kids via action figures and coloring books and such.

Edited by mrmando

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Where the hell's Curious George??????

-s.

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JO!!! My vote should've been for 21! NOT 22!

Thanks, Beth

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But does that mean Star Wars was also in your original list?

I remember watching Star Wars the year it came out. I was 7. I couldn't follow it. Remember, this was before the films were marketed to kids via action figures and coloring books and such.

Yeah, I had SW on my list.

Certainly I think one problem in constructing such a list is the ambiguity of "kid." I wrote in my original post to Jeffrey's blog:

Course the difference between 12 and 6 is quite profound...my 11 year-old nephew actually got quite enraptured by A&E's Pride and Prejudice.

So I did try to have a list that had a little something for everyone (range of ages, boys v. girls) as opposed to trying to get films that would include everyone, since I find they end up being the ones that are inocuous rather than inspired and end up with nobody truly enraptured.

Peace.

Ken

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As much as I like The General, I figured small kids would have a hard time following it. And I like Steamboat Bill Jr. better anyway... I remember watching Star Wars the year it came out. I was 7. I couldn't follow it.
Take it from a father of four (five any day now): The General's storyline is far more kid-accessible than Steamboat Bill, Jr. -- and Star Wars is likewise far easier for children to get than... well, a lot of things.

I've talked before about how much struck I was, watching Star Wars for the first time with my son David, then four, at how readily the story broke down into terms he could understand:

"Okay, so you remember that the good guys want to get the little robot to their friends, because he has a map inside him of the Death Star, and the good guys want to use the map to figure out how to blow up the Death Star.... But now the Death Star has this sucky thing, like a magnet, called a tractor beam, that's sucked in the good guys' ship. So Ben Kenobi has to turn off the sucky thing so the good guys can get away..."

The same is true of the other original trilogy films, which have plots built around simple, clear objectives and straightforward efforts to achieve them: Darth Vader is holding Luke's friends prisoner to trick Luke into coming and rescuing them; Han and Leia are going to Endor to turn off the force-field generator so that Lando and his friends can blow up the new Death Star; etc. (The same CANNOT be said for the prequels: What exactly is the Trade Federation trying to accomplish with its blockade? How does that relate to the tax dispute question? Who exactly commissioned the clone army? Why does Jango Fett stay on Kamino ten years after the Kaminoans took his DNA? etc, etc...)

The General is even simpler than Star Wars: It's essentially a chase story. Here are the enemy spies, and they've kidnapped Johnny's sweetheart and taken his train, so Johnny is chasing them. After that the story basically explains itself. By contrast, the plot of Steamboat Bill, Jr. is relatively complex -- and in the end somewhat irrelevant to the brilliance of the climax, which almost jettisons the plot in favor of wild stunt set pieces. (That's partly why I prefer The General not only for kids but also for myself: Along with Our Hospitality, it's the most well-integrated Keaton film I've ever seen, with story, stunts and gags all cut from whole cloth.)

Really? I agree it's great, but I'd think Lloyd and Keaton would provide some stiff competition there. The climactic chases in Girl Shy and College are pret-ty amazing. I do need to watch some more Doug. My best friend has an almost complete collection.
The competition is stiff, I agree, and Lloyd and Keaton's effortlessly comic athleticism is astonishing (I agree with you about Girl Shy; haven't seen College). But the thrill of Doug's swashbuckling glory is unparalleled; I can't even compare it to anything anyone else did until Jackie Chan. He's got some great stunts in nearly every film, but for sustained swashbuckling brilliance the last ten or twenty minutes of The Mark of Zorro is the benchmark.

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I've talked before about how much struck I was, watching Star Wars for the first time with my son David, then four, at how readily the story broke down into terms he could understand.

Ah, there's the problem. I didn't have a father like SDG.

(That's partly why I prefer The General not only for kids but also for myself: Along with Our Hospitality, it's the most well-integrated Keaton film I've ever seen, with story, stunts and gags all cut from whole cloth.)

That's true. Both films are absolutely true in all aspects to their time and place. Love the railroad in Our Hospitality.

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