Tuesday, October 18, 2011

top ten Tuesday: childhood movies.

Yes, I am a list-maker. I love making lists, and lucky you, I'm going to share them. This is a list of the top ten family movies that defined most of my youth. There are many more movies that I adored as a kid that weren't geared towards children (you can blame my parents), but we'll cover those another time. I don't like to pick favorites, so these movies are in no particular order. Heeeeere we go!

A Christmas Story
This is one of those movies that I watch every year at Christmastime, and every year, it gets better and better. We got this movie one year from our cousin, and my siblings were not quite old enough to get it. I think I was about the same age as Ralphie, so everything rang true. A nine-year-old knows what it’s like to want something so badly that you will most likely die without it – be it a Red Ryder BB Gun or one of those stuffed kittens that purred when you shook it. Even now, a decade and a half later, I watch it and can’t help but feel like a little kid at Christmas time.
"It's a major award!"
The Sandlot
This movie will always remind me of my dad. No one loves this movie more than he does, and no one enjoys quoting it more than he does, either. It’s a classic kid movie – summertime, baseball, and a giant dog. The plot is great, but it’s the one-liners that make this movie one of the absolute favorites at the Bjorklund house. Example: whenever someone is taking a long time, we say, “Hurry up, my clothes are going out of style!” Answer: “They already are!” Straight from The Sandlot.
"Some lady signed it. Ruth. Baby Ruth."

Home Alone
I distinctly remember getting this movie during one of my very early winters. I was a small kid, my sister was a baby, and my brother didn’t exist. My dad used to go to truck sales and be gone for days at a time. When he came back, he always brought us a little something. This time, it was nearing Christmas, and he came home with Home Alone on VHS. We still have that VHS, but I wish I knew how many times we’ve watched it. This movie is also great for quoting – right behind “my clothes are going out of style” as far as quote-ability at the Bjorklund house is “Buzz, your girlfriend – WOOF!”

Woof indeed.

The Great Mouse Detective
One of the lesser-known Disney movies, this is, without a question, my favorite Disney movie of all time. First of all, it’s based off of the Sherlock Holmes characters – obvious, yes, but come in, they're mice! Second of all, Vincent Price voices the villain. 
Plus, he'd totally kill you if you called him a rat.
Third of all, it was made in the 60s, so there are scenes towards the end that could legitimately scar children (much like the original Fantasia, but with mice. And actually way less scary than that). Plus, it’s terribly clever, so it’s something you can watch as a kid and an adult and still appreciate either way.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
Gene Wilder plays the eccentric candymaker so well; he’s got the perfect crazy hair and the perfect crazy eyes. 
Crazy eyes.
This was another movie that aired every so often on farmer TV (which is all we had growing up – four channels, five on a good day), and I was right in front of the TV every time. The songs really make the film: my favorite was always “I’ve Got a Golden Ticket” where Grandpa Joe miraculously walks again. Now I’m going to have that song stuck in my head all day, and so will you.

Robin Hood
Yes, the Disney movie with the foxes. Robin Hood arguably has the catchiest songs, and the characters are all just perfect. Little John is the definitive sidekick, but he’s full of pithy comments of his own. Prince John is one of the funniest Disney villains – he cries for his mother and sucks his thumb when something goes wrong. 
A pox on the phony king of England!
The comedy is dead-on, but Robin Hood can find your soft spot, too – remember the scene in the jail when everybody gets locked up for not paying their taxes and no one has enough to eat? Gets me every time.

Uncle Buck
John Candy is a genius. Everybody’s got that black sheep in the family, and this is a story about the black sheep totally coming through. It’s even got pre-Home Alone Macaulay Culkin. Highlights include John Candy punching a clown and threatening teenagers with power tools. Wish he was MY uncle.
"Ever hear of a ritual killing? Heh heh."

Hocus Pocus
This movie used to air every Halloween on TV, and I would beg my parents to let me stay up and watch it. I could only watch it if my little sister was otherwise occupied, as she was afraid of everything (we couldn’t watch The Rescuers because my sister was too scared of the alligators, but that’s another story). It’s got Bette Milder, Sarah Jessica Parker, and someone forgettable as three witch sisters who are brought back to life. 
Chilling, isn't it?
They start trying to find children’s souls to drink in order to preserve their youth, and as always, it’s up to a plucky newcomer to save the day. Or in this case, night.

Sleeping Beauty
Of course, we’re talking Disney again. The story itself is a classic, but when you add in all the little extras like making the three fairies extra sassy, you’ve got yourself a great movie. Plus, Maleficent is easily the scariest Disney villain. She turns into a bloodthirsty black dragon that breathes green fire, for crying out loud.
I sure hope Sleeping Beauty was worth it.
The Lion King
We have to talk about The Lion King. When I was in second grade, I was obsessed. I had two pairs of Lion King shoes, two Lion King sweatsuits, and countless t-shirts. 
Not exaggerating.
I had Lion King coloring books and the giant picture books. I had stuffed animals and action figures. I forced my parents to take me to Burger King many MANY times so I could get the Lion King toys from the kids' meals. I made my sister play Lion King on the stairs nearly every day, where she was Scar and I was Mufasa and she let me plunge to my doom. When I turned eight, my parents took a friend and me to Pizza Hut. When the waiter brought out the plain cheese pizzas, they had little plastic Lion King figurines on top of them.  I spent many years convinced that Pizza Hut just knew that I loved the Lion King, so they had put the figurines on the pizza just for me. My mom finally had to tell me that she was the one who gave the figurines to the waiter. In any case, I lived and breathed Lion King for a solid year, so it has more than earned a place on my list.
So those are the ten movies that shaped a good portion of my childhood. Which movies did the same for you? You can probably tell a lot about a person from the movies they watched as a kid, which tells you what truly great parents I have: if The Sandlot hadn't been required viewing at my house, who knows what kind of slob I would've turned out to be.

One that doesn't know that Babe Ruth and the Sultan of Swat are the same person, that's for sure.


  1. Ok, so I know I've already commented on your Facebook link about this post... twice... but I had to say this: Kathy Najimi (sp?) is not forgettable! She's hilarious in Hocus Pocus AND she's a major highlight of one of my childhood faves, Sister Act!

  2. You know, I've never seen Sister Act. Maybe that's why I always forget about her!