For as long as I can remember, I’ve hated movies. I fail to see the joy in staring at a screen for upwards of three hours for “entertainment.” I don’t like labels; I’d never necessarily consider myself a movie-hater but all of my friends beg to differ. Contrary to popular belief, there are a few movies that I actually find worthy of my time. I definitely do not make these decisions hastily. A lot goes into a good movie for me. I make sure to look beyond the plot line. I pay close attention to the soundtrack, cinematic value, casting, costuming, special effects and more. If I’m going to waste my time watching a movie, it better be a good one. I can safely say that very few meet my standards but these five definitely make the cut.
- “Where the Wild Things Are” (2009)
Ironically, I was quite scared of the book as a child. Nonetheless, I decided to watch “Where the Wild Things Are” a whopping 12 years after its release due to boredom — and it was the best decision I ever made. After being introduced to the soundtrack by a friend, I spent some free time falling in love with the entire movie. In just 104 minutes, the audience is invited to accompany 9-year-old Max on the adventure of a lifetime. The picturesque scenery, the nostalgic soundtrack and the stellar casting truly made “Where the Wild Things Are” a special watch for me. I found the mix of animation and live-action to be both captivating and unique. I love media with deeper meaning and this film gave me the perfect content to microanalyze and obsess over for days. This reimagined childhood classic will certainly tug at your heartstrings, and I’ll leave it at this: “Where the Wild Things Are” is a beautiful example of perfectly imperfect cinema that will forever hold a special place in my heart.
- “Little Women” (2019)
I read a lot in my childhood. Picking a favorite book is no easy feat, but I remember absolutely adoring Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women.” I had actually picked it for an independent book report in the 5th grade and I’ve been hooked ever since. I suppose I found the strong female leads super empowering, even at the ripe old age of ten. Needless to say, I was stoked to see “Little Women” hit the movie theaters back in 2019. Saoirse Ronan was lovely as the fiery Jo March and her costar Timothée Chalamet did an equally impressive job portraying the love interest, Laurie. I’ve noticed that a lot of movie lovers are skittish when it comes to time period dramas, but “Little Women” is definitely worth the watch. The coming of age film is both charming and graceful with a dash of awkwardness. If you ask me, that makes for one entertaining movie.
- “Romeo + Juliet” (1996)
Raise your hand if you didn’t know that “Romeo and Juliet” was a tragedy until your high school English teacher forced you to read it. Guilty as charged. During my freshman year of high school, my teacher whipped out this bad boy for the class to enjoy. After listening to a group of my peers suffer through Shakespearean language for the first time, my teacher called it quits and just let us watch the movie. Is this film odd? Absolutely. Did I imagine “Romeo and Juliet” to take place in the 1990s? Absolutely not. Honestly, I think this tragic love story is best told with a young Leonardo Dicaprio dressed in some funky clothes. Twentieth Century Fox definitely took a leap of faith with this film but I’m not complaining. Although I’m able to appreciate Shakespear as is, a lot of other people can’t. I think it’s really cool that Fox gave this story a shot of gaining popularity again, even if it was set four hundred years after its original release.
- “WALL-E” (2008)
As a kid, I didn’t usually gravitate towards robot movies but, man, did Disney’s “WALL-E” tug at my little itty-bitty heartstrings. The animation is stunning, the characters are precious, the plot is thorough and the theme is unlike any other I’ve seen in a children’s film. I really admire Disney and Pixar for using their platforms to call attention to the global environmental crisis. This film can be used as an educational tool for all ages and I will be forcing my future children to watch it as well. If we don’t take care of our planet, who knows where we’ll end up. Thematic elements aside, “WALL-E” is an entertaining and feel-good feature film that I will be watching for years to come.
- “Fantastic Mr. Fox” (2009)
Last, but absolutely not least, “Fantastic Mr. Fox” — a timeless classic and my favorite film of all time. Wes Anderson’s sarcastic take on Roald Dahl’s children’s book has had a special place in my heart since I first saw it in theatres. The vibrant yellow-orange color pallet remains consistent throughout the duration of the film, giving it a beautiful eye-catching element that many other animations lack. Throughout the film, the audience is introduced to a plethora of snarky, yet lovable characters. I’ve watched this movie so often, I swear, it’s making my Disney+ account glitch. Seriously, I can recite lines perfectly in sync with the characters at this point. Speaking of, “Fantastic Mr. Fox” really picked out the perfect voice actors — I mean, George Clooney? Meryl Streep? Owen Wilson? Come on! I could go on and on about Mr. Fox, his odd-ball forest friends, and his genius master plan, but I’ll leave it to you to check it out for yourself!
Do I specifically love children’s movies? I’m inclined to say no, but I feel as though this list seems to prove otherwise. Nonetheless, I’ve found films with quirky characters and stunning cinema to be the most appealing. I am not one to gush over a movie, ever. Compiling these five was a difficult task in and of itself. Some find my take on cinema to be sad, but I’m okay with it. My picky movie taste has thankfully introduced me to some of the greatest films of all time. What are you watching?