What the actual heck were the costume designers thinking when they put David Bowie in his tights? You know exactly what I’m talking about, I’m sure. His protuberance adds another dimension to the themes of burgeoning sexuality swirling around Jennifer Connelly’s character, but if you want to put that aside, there’s always Dance, Magic, Dance to get swept away by, a wonderful world populated by Jim Henson characters to embrace, and nightmarish baby abduction to give kids the heebie jeebies. Let’s not get started on how Bowie handles a pair of balls. Rest in peace, well-endowed Goblin King...


The Sound of Music

When you think of an immaculate green hill sitting under a perfectly blue sky, you’re either going to think of the default Windows 95 background or The Sound of Music – and only one of those is worth three hours of your time.

Taking away half of the ten Academy Awards it was nominated for, this is a grand film measured to perfection, evoking the type of cinematic satisfaction that will have anyone spinning around in their front yard like Julie Andrews.


Finding Nemo

Many might suggest Up has the saddest beginning to any animated family film, but Finding Nemo takes the cake with an opening that sees Marlin’s entire family killed – except for his one and only child Nemo.

But trust Pixar to spin such sorrow into an adventurous tale that is hilarious, emotional, and gosh-darn pretty to look at. Even a decade after its release, the CGI wizardry behind Finding Nemo hasn’t aged, giving it even more power as a family film that’s hard to forget (unless you’re Dory).



If you can’t so much as look at this green galoot without hearing Smash Mouth, don’t worry, we feel your pain.But besides that musical travesty, there’s plenty of good going on in this turn-of-the-21st-Century animated comedy.

It’s set in the ripe-for-parody world of fairy tales, which works for both kids and grown-ups alike, and boasts great voice talent in the form of Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy (possibly the last funny characters either ever did).

It's is a winning pic that taps into kids’ appetites for gross irreverence and serves up plenty of gags that’ll go over their heads and straight to appreciative adults.


Home Alone

Combining Christmas cheer with Tom and Jerry levels of comedic violence, Home Alone scored a home run with families thanks to Chris Columbus’s innocent handling of John Hughes’ pinpoint script that placed every kid’s dream (total control of the household) next to a be-careful-what-you-wish-for scenario.

While it set Macaulay Culkin on a one-way train to child stardom, the movie wouldn’t have hit as hard had it not been for the masterfully goofish Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern as the bumbling bandits and the superb Catherine O’Hara as Kevin’s mother.


E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

Steven Spielberg, you master plucker of heart strings, you are a truly magnificent, manipulative filmmaker, and E.T. turns audiences to putty in your hands.

Spielberg’s first film explicitly aimed at kids saw him return to the subject of aliens after 1977’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind but with a suburban, childhood focus instead of a dad freaking out and making mashed potato mountains.

Based on an imaginary friend of Spielberg’s own, E.T. himself is a wonderful creation, brimming with emotion and capable of so many humorous moments, even as his plight hardens kids’ hearts against the evils of gun/walkie-talkie-wielding government agents.


Toy Story

Being the first entirely-CG animated feature is a significant achievement in itself. Being an incredibly funny, memorably original, and impeccably deep family film also merits undying praise. But how in the hell did Pixar manage to pull ALL of it off so flawlessly? Perhaps we shouldn’t attempt to answer such mind-melting questions when we can simply rewatch this heart-rending family film over and over again.

Now in its 20s, Toy Story’s age is undeniably visible, but Pixar’s masterful craftsmanship diverts your attention to something far more timeless – character.


The Goonies

The Goonies takes the old fashioned, youth-empowering derring-do of Enid Blyton's classic adventures and infuses it with some ceaselessly amusing Yankee insolence.

In this childhood wish-fulfillment cinema of the highest order, masterminded by Steven Spielberg though he didn’t direct, a perilous quest for pirate treasure rubs shoulders with gangsters, some Rube Goldberg-esque contraptions, a few water slides, a little bit of pre-teen smooching, and kids saying “shit” - all to winning effect.

Sean Astin leads one of the greatest-ever collection of child actors as Mikey, and while he’s now in his 40s, family-friendly films are still trying in vain to replicate The Goonies’ unique alchemy as it remains one of the greatest ever.


The Lion King

Poor Pocahontas... It was meant to be the mid-‘90s Disney film that families would be praising in 2016. Instead, this musical tragedy starring African lions rewrote history with a colossal animated feature that marked Disney’s Renaissance Era at its highest point.

In hindsight, it seems pretty obvious that The Lion King would be a winner – Elton John’s flawless soundtrack, Jeremy Irons’ unforgettably villainous voice, Mufasa’s heart-crushing demise – but in 1994, no one predicted the birth of a cultural phenomenon.


The Princess Bride

Even upon its release in 1987, The Princess Bride possessed an aching nostalgia - earned partly through a framing device that most of us can relate to in the shape of a grown-up reading a book to a sick child. Clever (as it should be coming from the pen of Oscar-winner William Goldman), thrilling, funny and romantic in equal proportions, this post-modern sword-wielding adventure is endlessly creative and infinitely quotable.

Boys may quibble over the title, but as soon as the adventure gets underway they’ll be as captivated as any girls watching. As for us grown-ups, we’ll revel in its timelessness, get lost in the wonderful performances, and smile at the satire passing over the heads of the youngsters. And perhaps shed a tear for Andre the Giant...