The Best of the Best

Best of the Best: Introduction

Posted by on Dec 12, 2011 in The Best of the Best | 0 comments

Best of the Best: Introduction

“I believe that, if anything, children deserve better entertainment than adults. They’re instinctively smart until a diet of wretched movies (like The Clone Wars) pounds them down. I would infinitely prefer a child see something like Finding Nemo or The Thief of Bagdad.” – Roger Ebert When I was a kid, Friday nights were holidays. For one, it meant the school week was over, and my brother and I had two days of video games, cartoons, and troublemaking to look forward to. For another, it meant...

Read More

Spirited Away (2001)

Posted by on Dec 10, 2011 in The Best of the Best | 0 comments

Spirited Away (2001)

Disclaimer: Some of the spirits and creatures may scare younger viewers. After completing Princess Mononoke in 1997, renowned animator Hayao Miyazaki planned to retire. But when he saw a friend’s heartbroken 10-year-old daughter, he found inspiration and headed back to the drawing board – literally. The result is Spirited Away, Miyazaki’s greatest accomplishment and winner of more than 30 awards, including the Oscar for best animated film (the first animé feature to do so) and top prize at...

Read More

The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Posted by on Dec 10, 2011 in The Best of the Best | 0 comments

The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Disclaimer: Other than some freaky flying monkeys, a witch, and twister (oh my), which may scare young viewers, this film is Wholesome City (which may actually be in Kansas somewhere). The Wizard of Oz is not only one of the best children’s films, musicals, and fantasies, but one of the greatest pieces of cinema ever dedicated to celluloid. While many cite Casablanca or Gone with the Wind as the most beloved American movie, I lean toward The Wizard of Oz for the audacious and vivacious way it...

Read More

Pinocchio (1940)

Posted by on Dec 10, 2011 in The Best of the Best | 0 comments

Pinocchio (1940)

Disclaimer: Playboy magazine cited 43 instances of violence or unfavorable behavior including 23 moments of battery, nine of property damage, three slang uses of jackass, three acts of violence against animals, two shots of male nudity, and one instance of implied death. Most American films, especially those with the Disney trademark, stick to a formula that places one hero at odds against one super-villain (and possibly some sidekicks), but Pinocchio contains at least three major villains...

Read More

E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

Posted by on Dec 10, 2011 in The Best of the Best | 0 comments

E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

Disclaimer: Some drinking and swear words, but only the ones your kids already know and use when you aren’t listening. E.T.’s success is all but alien, or should be by now. It’s a Universal Studios ride and the emblem of Amblin Entertainment. Until the re-release of Star Wars, it also had the honor of the cinema’s highest grossing film at $800 million worldwide – not bad considering its $10 million budget – not including the oodles in merchandising (including the worst video game of all time)....

Read More

The Princess Bride (1987)

Posted by on Dec 10, 2011 in The Best of the Best | 0 comments

The Princess Bride (1987)

Disclaimer: Sword fighting and, yes, there is some kissing. Those who consider Casablanca among the greatest films ever made often cite its uncanny blending of genres. It’s at once a passionate romance, a thrilling gangster noir, and a political war drama – and it works! Combining genres is a double-edged sword that’s wielded often, and found too heavy almost as frequently. On one side it’s a great way to expand accessibility and appeal to several audience groups (leading to box office...

Read More

Toy Story series (1995, 1999, & 2010)

Posted by on Dec 10, 2011 in The Best of the Best | 9 comments

Toy Story series (1995, 1999, & 2010)

Disclaimer: Displays unsavory acts of violence against unsuspecting (and sometimes sexually aroused) plastic figures. Based on the animated short Tin Toy, Toy Story impressively and comically conceives a world within ours, where childhood playthings have lives of their own. We’re given a privileged glimpse into this world through the many occupants of one child’s bedroom. Though the civilization is foreign to us, its members live by rules and norms not dissimilar from our own. They have class...

Read More

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

Posted by on Dec 10, 2011 in The Best of the Best | 2 comments

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

Disclaimer: Like Wonka’s candy, this film is quite sweet. Though Roald Dahl, the author of the book on which this movie is based, hated Mel Stuart’s cinematic adaptation, Willy Wonka is a brilliant and much-loved film that acts as a rich musical, dark comedy, whimsical fantasy, and, strangely enough, a commentary on class with parallels to Nazism too frequent to ignore. We come into the delicious picture as the school bell rings and children rush to greet the cashier at the candy store, who...

Read More

Star Wars (1977, 1980, & 1983)

Posted by on Dec 10, 2011 in The Best of the Best | 0 comments

Star Wars (1977, 1980, & 1983)

Disclaimer: I don’t care if you don’t know she’s your sister; it’s not OK to look at her like that. Can we get something out of the way? I’m not particularly a fan of Star Wars. There, I said it. But regardless of my feelings (more on those later), and whether you like it or not, George Lucas’ saga is very much a part of our culture and everyday life. Before the film phenomenons of Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, or Star Trek, hardcore fans lined up around the block to see the movies for the...

Read More

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

Posted by on Dec 10, 2011 in The Best of the Best | 4 comments

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

Disclaimer: Some blatant and outdated sexist stereotypes. When the vast majority of film writers delve into Snow White, they take the route of a historian, giving an encyclopedic account of its role in regards to the history of film animation. The route is certainly justified, as the story of its underdog status and eventual rise to immortality is a great one, but I will only briefly mention it, as you’ve probably already heard it before. When I think of Snow White I think of a different, more...

Read More

Stand By Me (1986)

Posted by on Dec 10, 2011 in The Best of the Best | 0 comments

Stand By Me (1986)

Disclaimer: Violence, smoking, sex, and swearing (all elements of a pre-teenage boy’s day-to-day activities or conversations). I grew up with the characters in Stand By Me. I don’t mean in the sense that its theatrical release coincided with my pre-teen years, thus repeatedly prompting me to watch it on video or TV, though that does happen to be true. It may be presumptuous, but I think all adolescent boys that grew up in small towns, no matter what generation, grew up with friends like...

Read More