Top 10 Awesome Underrated Movies from Your Childhood (Video Edition)
With Disney's PLANES opening this week, I know I will be dragged to see it with my kids. Unfortunately they aren't old enough for ELYSIUM, but surely there are some decent non-animated movies they can watch? When I think back to the movies that made my childhood they were not all cartoons or even appropriate for my age. We all grew up with STAR WARS, SUPERMAN, INDIANA JONES, THE GOONIES, and E.T., so here is a list of the ten other movies that made my childhood passion for movies what it is today. If you have a favorite movie from when you were a kid, add it in the talk backs below and let us all remember how awesome kid movies used to be.
While not really appropriate for the really little ones, THE MONSTER SQUAD is a fun way to introduce kids to the world of horror movies. Fred Dekker and Shane Black teamed up on what is essentially Universal Monsters meets THE GOONIES. There is a decent amount of gore and profanity, but this is one movie that I took every opportunity to watch as a kid. Wolfman's got nards!
Matthew Robbins and Steven Spielberg took a proposed episode of AMAZING STORIES and turned it into this fun science fiction adventure about an apartment building that becomes the home to a bunch of small robotic aliens. Think the exact opposite of TRANSFORMERS. Instead of mass destruction they bring the residents together to save their home. *BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED embodies the pure Amblin mentality missing from a lot of Spielberg's recent works.
WILLOW may have bombed at the box office, but if LORD OF THE RINGS is too scary for your kids, share with them the next best thing! George Lucas' story is a complete rip-off of Tolkien, but it is a fun adventure. Sure the special effects are pretty dated, but your kids will still look at it with wide eyed fascination.
Introduce your children to the power of Jim Henson outside of movies or shows featuring Muppets. While THE DARK CRYSTAL is another good choice from the mind of Henson, Labyrinth is a great live action adventure from a time when quality fantasy films were hard to come by. Plus, it is never too early to introduce your kids to the hotness of Jennifer Connelly. Beware the numerous shots of David Bowie's codpiece!
Elizabeth Shue, how I had a crush on you because of this movie! A great adventure movie taking place in the best city on Earth: Chicago! Also features Vincent D'Onofrio as Thor, ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING is the rare movie that kids and adults can enjoy and never get tired of. Chris Columbus has yet to match this movie in anything he has directed, including HOME ALONE and the first HARRY POTTER movies.
Attempting to fill the void left by the STAR WARS trilogy? Try THE LAST STARFIGHTER. Likely one of the best films inspired by George Lucas, I thought for years if I played enough video games I would be contacted by an intergalactic recruiter to defend the universe from evil. Alas, I am still waiting for that call but will continue to enjoy this flick.
Ignore the shitty sequels and television series, the original Wolfgang Petersen movie is the only one worth watching. Another unique take on fantasy that falls squarely in the same category as LABYRINTH and RETURN TO OZ, this film borders on too scary for kids and just thrilling enough for preteens. I don't know anyone who has not gotten teary at the death of Artax. Excellent special effects for 1984 and a moving story about the power of imagination, THE NEVERENDING STORY is a great family movie.
Take the director of DON'T LOOK NOW (haven't seen it? Get a copy now!) and mic the story written by Roald Dahl and you get the creepy great THE WITCHES. Produced by Jim Henson Productions, THE WITCHES has a very European sensibility mixed with great special effects. The witches themselves scared the piss out of me as a child and the make-up holds up to this day. Fans of JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH and WILLY WONKA should check this one out. Plus Rowan Atkinson as the bumbling hotel manager!
I remember seeing this movie in the theater and opening my eyes as wide as possible at the unbelievable CGI effects. Never before had I seen anything so cool. Now, take that same wonder and share it with the budding movie watchers in your life. Fun, adventurous, and also an introduction to Paul Reubens as the voice of the ship. If you didn't want to be an astronaut before seeing this, you definitely did after.
BEETLEJUICE may have a nice f*cking model, but it is a little too scary for younglings. So, why not share with them a similar story, minus all of the death. LITTLE MONSTERS starring Fred Savage and Howie Mandel shares the same mentality as BEETLEJUICE and has just as weird of an underworld but will not be as frightening. To this day I wish I had the balls to serve a bully a cat food sandwich and a glass full of piss.
If you only see one movie on this list with some kids, make it EXPLORERS. Sure, the ending can be a little cheezy, but the adventurous spirit and positive messages in this film make it a hit with anyone. Kids will love the adventure and adults can remember back before the days of the internet when these kinds of movies seemed so much better than what we get today. It is still odd to see Ethan Hawke and River Phoenix look so young. Keep your eyes peeled for the great James Cromwell cameo!