Thursday, 27 January 2011

Unforgettable Films - to share with your children and young relatives! (Guest Blog)

I don't have children. Someday, fingers crossed, but for now the only young'n unfortunate enough to be taken under my wing is the son of my father's girlfriend. I've made a conscious effort to pass my good taste onto him, and my love for cinema is certainly no exception. I recently showed him one of my childhood favorites, which is what inspired this list. Everyone will have a different list, as they should, but here are a handful of films that I believe should never be forgotten.

Pee-Wee's Big Adventure

It only makes sense to start this list with the film that kicked off the idea. I was obsessed with Mr. Herman as a child, so much so that I dressed up in a gray suit and red bow tie for Halloween. I was a fan of the show, Pee-Wee's Playhouse, but it was Pee-Wee's Big Adventure that really stuck with me. When most people think of Tim Burton, they think of Beetlejuice or Edwards Scissorhands. I think of this film, Burton's feature-length directorial debut. Now it's 25 years later and not only is it every bit as entertaining, but more so now that I can fully appreciate some the more sophisticated humor. And I wasn't the only one who liked it. My honorary little brother loved it, and audiences liked it enough that it earned almost six times its budget, convincing Warner Bros. to hire Burton to direct Batman.

Harry and the Hendersons

The legend of Bigfoot, as it is now, has been around for over fifty years. The idea of an elusive ape man hiding out in the woods is admittedly a little scary. That is, unless you grew up with Harry and the Hendersons as I did. Then you're well aware that Bigfoot is simply misunderstood; a gentle giant, if you will. He may wreak havoc and destruction, but rarely intentionally. Harry and the Hendersons defines classic family entertainment and it spawned a legion of John Lithgow fans long before 3rd Rock From the Sun.

The Sandlot

I'm not a sports guy nor have I ever been. I played here and there as a kid, as all kids do, but I never had any desire to play on any school teams or in any sort of official capacity. I just wasn't a fan. That didn't stop me from instantly falling in love with a film that centers around baseball. Of course, it's about a lot more than that, with childhood dreams, fears, and friendship being a major theme. There's also a menacing dog that resides behind a fence and devours baseballs. Up until the end of the film, when the dog is finally revealed, you can only guess at its size. And since you're a kid, you can only assume that the dog is the size of a house. The dog in the Sandlot is the stuff of legends, as is the movie itself.

When I was young, I never thought that animation and live action could be combined in such a way as in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. It wasn't that I didn't think it could be done, the concept had just never occurred to me. When it happened, it was an absolute treat that hit all the right chords. I loved Roger Rabbit much more so than I ever cared for Bugs Bunny and Bob Hoskins's Eddie Valiant is just a living cartoon, as is Christopher Lloyd's menacing Judge Doom. Throw in the numerous cartoon character cameos and the sultry Jessica Rabbit, who made me think thoughts highly inappropriate for a child, and I was in Heaven.

I thought about rounding this list to five, but I feel that it would be gimmicky and dishonest. These are four childhood favorites that I hold above all else and I didn't want to discredit them by throwing in a runner-up. Truth is, there are plenty more films that I plan to show my kid, but as far as I'm concerned, these are required viewing.

"Our guest writer, Dylan Duarte, is a horror buff and writer who writes about Halloween costumes. He can be reached at dylnduarte at"

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Jonathon Wisnoski said...

Current favourite child movie: Hoodwinked
favourite from childhood: swish family robinson

CaptainD said...

Only thought Hoodwinked was so-so myself...

"Swish" Family Robinson?!?! :-D

Jonathon Wisnoski said...

I thought that was wrong, but even googled it. Apparently the "swish family robinson" is actually a thing, just not the right thing.