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[Kids] What's best for 5-6 year-olds?

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The Red Balloon is a perfect movie for kids.

If you replace the horse and the island in The Black Stallion with a red balloon and Fance (respectively) you have The Red Balloon.

Of course there is no dialogue in The Red Balloon just a boy and a balloon becoming friends, not unlike a good portion of The Black Stallion where it is just the horse and the boy, becoming friends. It is the visual you don't need a conversation.

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I think it is good an several levels for different age groups. I just recently watched it with my soon to be 3-year-old, who immediately insisted we watch it again, and I think, as his point of reference changes he will interpret the events differently at 5 than at three. I think it definitely allows for a deeper story to be told than a three-year-old has the capacity for.

I gained some interesting insight while watching and I am a bit older than 3.

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I've got a 5 year old son (Joshua) and a 6 1/2 year old daughter (Elizabeth), so I've got one of each. They're both reasonably omnivorous in their viewing tastes. Here are a few of their favorites:

- Josh: the Wiggles (although Judy and I can't stand it), Scooby Doo, Schoolhouse Rock. He also enjoys the old Charlie Brown cartoons, when we get them from the library

- Lizzie: Scooby Doo

They've also enjoyed some of the tamer Miyazaki anime (Totoro and Kiki, for instance). Both also like 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' (both versions, though I much prefer the whimsy and Oompa Loompa music of the older film).

And lastly, lately all three of my kids have enjoyed Buster Keaton's silent films - the physical comedy is simply astonishing and amuses them immensely. IIRC, 'The General' and 'Seven Chances' (especially the second half, which has been viewed twice by them) have been the biggest hits of Keaton's oeuvre.

-

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I'm so glad to hear that Alan. I just discovered Cocteau's film this past year, and it's one of those that has stuck with me the most. I'm always thrilled to discover films that can bridge the gap between the artistry that I think we all believe film can achieve and yet capture the magic of storytelling and fantasy that was such an important part of my childhood.

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I just watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Burton) with my five year old, and I think I learned something helpful. I enjoyed this film (more than some on this board, I know) and thought that despite a few intense scenes (she gets nervous when characters are in danger, like when the boat is moving fast through the chocolate river), that it was a movie appropriate for her age.

While she says that she liked it, I can tell her experience watching it was not particularly good. There are so many kinds of humor. The subtlty and quirkiness of Depp's humor was most often lost on her. Because I wanted her to like it, I found myself laughing out loud to tip her off to the funny parts (serving as a laugh track, I guess). While I find Depp's performance funny, she just thought he was confusing and kind of scary. (Maybe critics of the film will say, "No, it's not your daughter. It's Depp's performance." But I think I have a point here beyond that argument.)

In addition, she was very troubled by the trouble that the four kids get into in the factory. I found myself explaining that it is because they were bad - they didn't listen to Wonka, or they were too greedy, and that is why they got into trouble, so we can just laugh at it. But am I overanalyzing it to say that my daughter, in her innocence, is extending a kind of grace by offering her sympathy to all characters, and I am undermining that by saying, "No, its ok to laugh at the trouble they get into." In effect, "don't care about them - they don't deserve it."

I read in another thread something you referenced, Alan, by Medved about loss of innocence stuff. Where can I find that? I often find myself reflecting on this as I watch films with my daughter (and my son).

So, do I have a point here, or am I wrong about the humor stuff? Did other kids get the humor at the same age? Is it good to teach my daughter that stories are going to generalize and characterize (bad characters will have bad things happen to them to make a point, but that doesn't mean that bad things happen to bad people; stories will create tension so that it can be resolved - that's what makes it a good story (she often says she likes a movie except for _________ where ________ is the central tension of the story, without which there would be no story)) for the sake of the story? I know I need to help her undestand that movies are not real, but something seems weird about me having to emphasize that over and over again so that she can watch a movie without stress (that may be overstating her watching experience a bit, but its a little like that).

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I just watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Burton) with my five year old, and I think I learned something helpful. I enjoyed this film (more than some on this board, I know) and thought that despite a few intense scenes (she gets nervous when characters are in danger, like when the boat is moving fast through the chocolate river), that it was a movie appropriate for her age.

While she says that she liked it, I can tell her experience watching it was not particularly good. There are so many kinds of humor. The subtlty and quirkiness of Depp's humor was most often lost on her. Because I wanted her to like it, I found myself laughing out loud to tip her off to the funny parts (serving as a laugh track, I guess). While I find Depp's performance funny, she just thought he was confusing and kind of scary. (Maybe critics of the film will say, "No, it's not your daughter. It's Depp's performance." But I think I have a point here beyond that argument.)

In addition, she was very troubled by the trouble that the four kids get into in the factory. I found myself explaining that it is because they were bad - they didn't listen to Wonka, or they were too greedy, and that is why they got into trouble, so we can just laugh at it. But am I overanalyzing it to say that my daughter, in her innocence, is extending a kind of grace by offering her sympathy to all characters, and I am undermining that by saying, "No, its ok to laugh at the trouble they get into." In effect, "don't care about them - they don't deserve it."

I read in another thread something you referenced, Alan, by Medved about loss of innocence stuff. Where can I find that? I often find myself reflecting on this as I watch films with my daughter (and my son).

So, do I have a point here, or am I wrong about the humor stuff? Did other kids get the humor at the same age? Is it good to teach my daughter that stories are going to generalize and characterize (bad characters will have bad things happen to them to make a point, but that doesn't mean that bad things happen to bad people; stories will create tension so that it can be resolved - that's what makes it a good story (she often says she likes a movie except for _________ where ________ is the central tension of the story, without which there would be no story)) for the sake of the story? I know I need to help her undestand that movies are not real, but something seems weird about me having to emphasize that over and over again so that she can watch a movie without stress (that may be overstating her watching experience a bit, but its a little like that).

I took my six year old and he was bored stiff. (And he wanted to like it because of the "buzz" at school. I felt uncomfortable with the kids going through such huge "punishments" for just being obnoxious. Do we want to teach our kids to laugh at others misfortunes. Sigh. Perhaps our kids are wiser than us.

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My two kids (almost 4 and almost 6) watched The Black Stallion yesterday. They loved it. My daughter, who is older, struggles with any kind of tension in a film (as I've mentioned before above and in other threads). So she wanted me to stop the film during the ship in the storm scene. As I tried to console her, I glanced at my son who wasn't fazed by it at all. I continue to be interested in this dynamic with my daughter.

But she (and he) loved the rest of the film. The island scenes are magical. It does drag a little bit in the middle. There seems to be some good direction here - and that director never really did anything else, is that right?

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