Hey lovelies, I hope you are all doing well, especially as we are now fast-tracking our nights into winter. I know some of you will be stuck in another lockdown which I know you don’t want to experience, and trust me I am on the same boat. However, I have an idea that might make things a little easier. Yes, It’s Family Movie Night.
Family movie nights are a fabulous way to get everyone gathered around and relax after a busy week with work, school runs, household chores, homework help and extra-curricular activities. I could go on, but we all know the list is endless. There is nothing more special than cosying up on the sofa together and staying connected than watching a family movie favourite. When I say family favourite I do not mean re-watching Frozen over and over until your toddler knows the lyrics off by heart and you can recite the characters’ lines without giving it a second thought.
However, it is not always easy finding movie night ideas that appeal to every member of the family, especially if you have children of different ages who have interests that are far from each other. An action-packed movie that excites your 10-ten year-old son and peaks your partner’s interest might terrify your five year old daughter.
I have managed to create a list of feature films for families that are perfect for all ages filled with classics, fun-filled plots and live action, so grab your movie night snacks of popcorn and sweets.
1. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
This 1971 classic is ‘pure imagination’ perfection. You can’t go wrong with Gene Wilder’s manic portrayal of Willy Wonka, who is the only choice for the chocolate maker through and through compared to watching Tim Burton’s newer version of the film where Johnny Depp does a fair job of making Willy eccentric and appeal to the child’s eye.
Based on Roald Dahl’s book, this movie is filled with the fantastic performance of a madman who understands that children are both wonderfully imaginative and bratty. Wilder without a doubt is the heart and soul of this movie. Personally, I just love the Oompa Loompa’s, you can’t help but sing-a-long with their songs whilst drooling over the calorific sweet treats.
Beware: your kids will most definitely ask for a Willy Wonka-esque snack after watching this movie.
2. Home Alone
Now this one is not only a Christmas classic, but an all-round family movie night must-watch worth playing all times of the year. Home Alone follows the story of the adventures of an eight-year-old boy called Kevin who gets left behind by his big family over the Christmas holidays. At first, he thinks it’s a magical wish that he finally got rid of his annoying parents and siblings, but then a couple of burglars try to rob the house. In a Christmas theme attempt keeps the house safe.
The director John Hughes who also made one of the best 1990s movie ‘The Breakfast Club’ usually focuses on a plot with some element of plausibility, however with this movie it goes totally out of the window which suits the children because it allows them to let their imagination go wild because we all know in reality we are good enough parents that we wouldn’t forget to take our beloved darlings on holiday right?
3. Toy Story 3
The entire Toy Story series are good movies to watch when bored as they are great entertainment for the family, but we prefer the third movie the most. Before the fourth movie came out last year this was without a doubt the best trilogy movies created by Pixar.
In the first movie we first meet Woody, Buzz and the rest of the toy gang when Woody’s owner Andy, gets a new astronaut toy for his birthday which is when Woody becomes worried about being replaced. Now in the third movie, their beloved Andy is preparing to leave for college after mistakenly left on the curb headed for the day-care centre you watch the gang work together on their adventure to escape.
I must warn you now that there are parts that will make you have a lump in your throat and your eyes well up by the nostalgia for childhood. Toy Story 3 is the perfect movie about growing up as we follow Andy into his emotional maturity of becoming an adult. This animated classic is important to watch with your bambinos as it is thrilling watching their journey as a team, but it teaches them a valuable lesson to look after their toys.
4. The Addams Family
I have just found the best movie to watch on Netflix that has both the animated and real-life version on the streaming service. I am going, to be honest with you and admit that I have never watched The Addams Family before last month, yet I was constantly seeing the Wednesday Addams jokes from when I was experiencing the darker days during my high school years.
So, I ventured out and sat down with the family to watch it and to say we were hooked was the understatement of the century. The storyline follows a gothic family who live in a huge Victorian mansion which comes with its own graveyard where nothing surrounding the house grows except for dead things. Inside the house, all the ordinary rules of human nature are ignored because we see the mother (Morticia) finds her daughter (Wednesday) going after her little brother (Pudsey) with a kitchen kife and sternly takes it away from her and hands over an axe to play with instead.
The plot involves a deceptive plan by the family attorney who convinces the son of a client to impersonate a long-lost brother of the Addam’s family to steal their fortune but ends up feeling more a part of their family. Many of the best scenes in the movie involve Wednesday and Pudsey which I promise to not give away but let’s just say a couple of moments involve stage blood and the Girls Scouts. In case you didn’t the movie is based on characters created by American cartoonist Charles Addams in 1938 which is super cool. I never understood why this film was so popular before, but now I understand that it highlights the gothic subculture and its fashion in an unconventional manner.
5. School of Rock
Hopeless and dead-end rock guitarist Dewey Finn, played by Jack Black fakes his way into a job as a substitute teacher to make ends meet, he ends up teaching a group of uptight fourth-grade private schools kids not only about how to go on the ‘Highway to Hell’ like a rock star but some important life lessons.
This movie avoids clichés by using Black’s character in two ways. The character is a child at heart because of his obvious lack of maturity but becomes noble and caring as the movie goes on. No one in the family has to be a diehard rock fan to love this film. Everyone in your family will get an urge to play the air guitar along. It must be said that there are slight profanities in School of Rock, hence rating because of ‘drug references’, but to be honest it is one of the best PG 13 movies out there, and would be happy for my child to watch it as long as I was with them (I have not reached that stage yet saying that.)
6. Beauty and the Beast
Okay, I couldn’t resist throwing this one in as I loved it throughout my childhood and I know this movie is my daughter’s favourite.
This movie’s story had been retold from the original fable, involves a beautiful girl named Belle, who lives in the worlds of her favourite library books and is repelled by the cringey romantic advances of stereotypical Gaston, the muscle-bound alpha-male in the tiny French 18th century village. Belle’s father, an inventor sets off on a journey through the forest takes a wrong turn and is imprisoned in the castle of the Beast which Belle bravely sets off on a mission to rescue him.
Plus, we can’t forget the music that won an Academy Award for Best Original Song. I was so apprehensive when they released a live action version of this ‘Tale as Old as Time’ classic starring Emma Watson because I really didn’t want them to ruin it. Having said that, that was an experience to watch, so I recommend watching that also (which means two different family movie nights = added bonus!)
Unlike Beauty and the Beast, I am not talking about the animated version of this Disney film. The live-action features the hilarious Will Smith as the genie who will literally bring the magic into your living room. Guy Ritchie’s adaption is a lively, colorful whole new world of the action-packed Disney favorite that only hit the cinemas last year and is now available to watch from our homes. This “Aladdin” is still the funny-sentimental-inspirational story of a poor “street rat” who comes into possession of a magic lamp and a magic carpet, summons a big blue genie, and embarks on a scheme to win the heart of a princess and stop an evil vizier from stealing the kingdom away from the heroine’s dad.
This is the perfect movie for teenage girls because this remake of Aladdin does focus on the freedom for female characters to be heard against powerful male dominance. I also admit that the bond between Aladdin and the genie is conveyed the best in this version compared to others. I couldn’t help but fall in love with the cheeky sidekick monkey Abu who really does keep Aladdin on his toes and gets him out of some very sticky situations.
7. The Sandlot
This film is always overlooked when I discuss family favorite movies, but I am a firm believer this early ‘90s baseball comedy is destined to live forever in my DVD collection… I know, I know I should be moving over to Netflix but this little gem won’t go without a mention. It has become a cult classic. Set in the San Fernando Valley during the ’60s, the story follows a new kid nicknamed Smalls who joins a local baseball team in a desperate effort to make friends. When he hits a baseball signed by Babe Ruth over a fence into a backyard, the boys must band together to figure out how to retrieve it from a nefarious attack dog known as “The Beast.”
Adults will feel a certain sense of nostalgia for a time when kids could ride their bikes recklessly around their local neighborhood – and when young boys’ minds were occu1pied by nothing other than pop flies drinking lemonade and sometimes girls. This is the perfect movie for tweens in your households. And plus, they will definitely make fun of you for this age-old classic. I hope this list of family movie ideas will end an argument and you can find something that your whole family will want to watch. Family movie night will never be the same now.
This movie is amazing to watch when you are bored or you have no clue what to watch because I can guarantee you that it will put you in a sing-song mood. The popular musical follows the story of a young teenager who finds her own voice and forges her own identity. She chooses to be a forward-thinking leader of her people on her own terms instead of the typical princess that needs to be rescued. She does it in a clever way where she respects the traditions set by her community, but also create her own path for her future.
It is also very important to note that when this movie came out was important in history had an added sense of significance and respect for representing other minority communities. The large demigod Maui is played by none other than Dwayne Johnson shows the talent of the actor. The vision of green-blue Hawaii goodness is one of the best feature films to watch as a family. This movie is similar to Frozen in the sense that if you let your little one watch it too many times it does become boring very fast.
Okay… I can admit their songs are annoyingly catchy.
9. The Nightmare Before Christmas
You bet if I was going to feature a Christmas movie then I had to add these gothic Halloween/Christmas movies to the list. When I was a child it was the longest period ever between getting sweets on Halloween until opening up your much-anticipated presents picked from the Argos catalog on Christmas day. But in this eerie and delightful stop-motion animated film, director Tim Burton manages to combine the two important holidays together in a bizarre, but an oddly delightful twist.
Jack Skellington, the ruler of Halloween Town, stumbles upon the neighboring town of… you guessed it Christmas Town and becomes fascinated by its traditions. He decides he wants to share the joy of the festive holiday with his own citizens in Halloween Town – even if it means that he makes the decision to kidnap Santa Claus. Parents will appreciate Burton’s twisted and gloomy imagination with visuals that are both weird but mesmerizing to watch while kids enjoy the silly twist on their favorite holidays.
10. Freaky Friday
I know… I know. you must be thinking seriously? The Lindsay Lohan movie, but give me a minute to convince you. Firstly, if you have a teenager who likes to talk back to you, thinks hanging out with you is totally uncool, and believes they know better than you have to watch this movie with them because it is the perfect Disney teenage movie.
The move is a remake of the 1977 film starring Barbara Harris and Jodie Foster which I know you will definitely remember. The story is about Tess played by Jamie-Lee Curtis, a widowed psychiatrist soon to be remarried, and her 15-year-old daughter played by Lindsay Lohan, Anna who is going through a classic rebellious phrase. They get put under a body-switching curse after an argument in a restaurant and wake up the next morning in each other’s bodies. Throughout the movie, they have to learn how to interact as each other and learn about their own feelings towards each other on a deeper level.
There are plenty of cringy moments to laugh along with that I can assure you I may have done in my younger days.
I strongly believe that the ‘body switch’ plots are a great technique for the film industry to make the adult feel like a big kid. This version of Freaky Friday is one of the more relatable ones as both actresses really seem to embody each other’s characters and learn how difficult life can be living as each other – I would like to think that if my daughter would wake up in my body she would find it totally cool, but needless to say my fingers are crossed it doesn’t happen.
This one was added to the list after my best friend recommended it to me to watch it with my family. Pixar is really the professionals in being able to move people to tears and this film is no different, so have your tissues handy. This story follows 12-year-old Miguel who wants nothing more in life than to be a musician than work for his family’s business despite numerous attempts to tell his closest family members. He ends up in the Land of the Dead, where he discovers the secrets behind his family’s history.
It is a moving journey into the afterlife and a gorgeous tribute to Dia de Los Muertos and I was so happy when I read in an article that the film won the best-animated feature at the 2018 Oscars. I would definitely say that the film teaches you about the importance of other cultures and to keep your family close. In my opinion, it is one of the best 2018 movies to come out in cinemas.
We recommend the entire Despicable Me series, which starts with the film of the same name, followed by “Despicable Me 2” and “Despicable Me 3.” Of course, true fans will also want to check out the “Minions” prequel. The original animated film follows the lovable, grumpy Gru (voiced by Steve Carell), a supervillain who becomes a father. His growing love for his three adopted daughters makes him a bit of a softy that every parent can relate to. It’s quirky, funny, and something the entire family can enjoy.
To make a villain into the hero of an animated comedy is daring, but the filmmakers bring in three cute kids to restore good feelings. God is always cheered ever onwards by his faithful minions, who are, in fact, called the Minions, and look like yellow exercise balls with one or two eyes apiece. The principal responsibility of the Minions is to cheer for Gru, who addresses them as if he’s running for office. This movie is perfect to watch when bored as it is so easy to follow and all kids seem to love the little yellow minions which I will admit are very entertaining. Overall, I can see why they have become a franchise because the film is simply funny and very imaginative which inspires the children.
And that completes my list of must-see movies for the family to enjoy. I tried to steer clear of the typical obvious choices such as the Harry Potter series or Frozen as I know most families would have seen those and not everyone would enjoy it.
I hope this list of family movie ideas will end an argument and you can find something that your whole family will want to watch. Family movie night will never be the same now. Please comment below your opinion of these movies or if you have any that I have missed!
See you soon and stay safe!