Stuck indoors because of weather? It’s the perfect time to start your kid’s movie education with these family-friendly films of Netflix.
Baby, its cold outside. Absolutely bloody freezing, in fact. As the so-called “Beast from the East” collides with “Storm Emma”, over 1,200 schools have closed across the country due to the extreme cold and unrelenting snow. So as many of us dads are taking the day off to look after the kids, it’s the perfect opportunity to fire up Netflix and give the little ones an education in movies, from back when film was proper and the world was a better place – films that your kids need to see, to teach them about the wonder of old school cinema, and even impart a few lessons on life itself. Here are seven great family-friendly films on Netflix to introduce your kids to.
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Back to the Future
We’ll start off with an obvious one. The original Back to the Future is coming up to 33 years old (!), and there’s a generation of us who grew up onRobert Zemeckis’ time-travel classic, but now have kids of our own just old enough to appreciate its greatness.
And it’s absolutely essentially viewing for them – an example of a perfect Hollywood film, with the greatest scene in cinema history (Marty McFly playing Johnny B Goode, if you’re asking), and the important lesson that parents were once young too.
All three films are available on Netflix, so get stuck in.
Romancing The Stone
Also from director Robert Zemeckis, this 1984 movie was obviously inspired by the enormous success of Raiders of the Lost Ark, but to dismiss Romancing The Stone as some poor Indiana Jones knock-off does the film a huge disservice.
Romance writer Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner) discovers her sister has been kidnapped, so she employs the services of a dashing, wise-cracking mercenary Jack Colton (Michael Douglas) to try and locate her sister in the South American jungle.
If you enjoy this belting 80s adventure, you may also want to track down its slightly inferior follow-up The Jewel In The Nile for the ultimate wintery double-bill matinee.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
John Hughes (Home Alone, National Lampoon’s Vacation) is behind this 1980s classic – the ultimate pulling-a-sickie movie.
Matthew Broderick plays Ferris, who manages to convince his family, his school, and the entire local community that he is on death’s door – so takes the day off.
With the help of his best mate Cameron Frye (Alan Ruck) and his girlfriend Sloane Peterson (Mia Sara), he ventures to the big city to cause merry hell. But the school principal and his own sister (Baby off Dirty Dancing) are onto them, keen to catch the delinquents red-handed.
We’re all guilty of Bueller’s crimes. I mean, how many of us could have actually made it into work today? Let’s be honest, staying home from work because you’re snowbound is just as satisfying as a sickie.
Look Who’s Talking
I’ve got a huge soft spot for this late-1980s comedy – the first of John Travolta’s many career revivals.
I was 12 years old when this came out, so not only did it introduce me to Travolta’s boy-ish good-looks for the first time, the sounds of The Beach Boys, and the films of Amy Heckerling (Clueless, National Lampoon’s European Vacation), but it also proved an essential lesson in how babies are made.
Who can forget that opening sequence, with talking sperms racing down the fallopian tubes towards the egg, to the sound of The Beach Boys’ I Get Around? Honestly, stick on Look Who’s Talking and it’ll do the sex education stuff for you – helping you avoid many awkward conversations with your kids in the future.
Forget the terrible cash-in sequels, with a post-Die Hard Bruce Willis as the wise-cracking baby Mikey, Travolta on genuinely good form, and adult gags that will fly over the kids’ heads, Look Who’s Talking is still funny stuff.
Back in the 1990s, the now retired comedian Lee Evans was pretty hot stuff out in Hollywood – a modern-day Norman Wisdom who managed to crack the US with a scene-stealing turn in the Luc Besson’s futuristic adventure The Fifth Element.
He followed that up with by starring alongside Nathan Lane (The Birdcage) in Mousehunt, a Tom and Jerry-esque slapstick comedy about a two brothers trying to flog a mansion they’ve inherited. But as the film’s title suggests, the property’s diminutive tenant – a solitary mouse – has other ideas.
Harmless fun for all the family because of its visual gags and Evans’ unique talent for physical comedy, Mousehunt is a forgotten gem that deserves a re-visit with the family.
We turn to Matthew Broderick once again for our next film on the list – a 1983 teen flick with an alarmingly relevant story.
Broderick plays David, a young hacker who gets into a military central computer at North American Aerospace Defence Command. After finding the back door to the computer, which is programmed to predict possible outcomes of nuclear war, David gets the thing to run a simulated war. David believes that he’s just playing a computer game – but the computer can’t tell the difference between simulation and reality and attempts to start World War III.
With a great cast and a cracking script which mixes teen drama and comedy, War Games could have been made yesterday.
Initially “panned” by critics, Hook is a spin on J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, from movie magician Steven Spielberg at the height of his powers.
Perhaps we’re looking back with rose-tinted glasses, but the Robin Williams-led adventure is a fun “what if” story, with Williams playing a grown up Pan (now a lawyer) who must travel back to Neverland, reclaim his youthful spirit, and save his kids from the dastardly Captain Hook.
The real magic though, is Dustin Hoffman’s performance as Hook, played as a neurotic ego-maniac who’s been in Neverland with no one to fight for far too long.
With brilliantly realised sets, updated versions of the Lost Boys (“Rufio, Rufio, Ru-fi-ooooo!!”), and a typically rousing score from John Williams, this is pure family movie magic – a film that, unlike Peter Pan, never grows up. Bangarang indeed.