Michael Read’s Films to Watch with Family (Part Two)

The Point directed by Fred Wolf

THE POINT  (1971) directed by Fred Wolf was one of Michael’s previous picks.

“This may sound curmudgeonly, but the family film as we once knew it seems to have become a relic of the past. At today’s Cineplex we have no shortage of childish films made for children, but the vast majority of these offer little appeal to adults. When I was a kid there were plenty of G-rated movies that were not specifically made for children—they just didn’t happen to feature any sex, violence or profanity. With this post, which serves as a sequel to my first list of family-friendly films, I offer up a list of films available on Fandor which children and their grown-ups might enjoy together.”

“As any parent knows, it can be hard to compete with the razzle-dazzle worlds of CGI and Katy Perry soundtracks. If you’ve ever tried to get a six-year-old to dig Buster Keaton, you may know that kids don’t always recognize greatness immediately. You’re likely to be met with questions like “Is he a good prince or a bad prince?” or “Where are the colors?” Be patient. They need to learn that the world is not black and white, even if some of the best movies are.”

1. The Mark of Zorro (1920) directed by Fred Niblo

Mark of Zorro

As always, Douglas Fairbanks moves like a lithe and frisky cat in this engrossing and thrilling adventure, which serves admirably as an introduction to the pleasures of silent film. Fairbanks’ portrayal of the effete nobleman Don Diego Vega provides a hilarious contrast to his swashbuckling alter ego Zorro (which some say provided inspiration for Batman).”

2. The Brave One (1956) directed by Irving Rapper

The Brave One

“Like National Velvet, The Red Balloon and The Black Stallion, The Brave One is part of a bygone genre of dramatic films with child protagonists that pull on the heartstrings of grownups and kids alike. This Mexican tale about a boy and his bull is storytelling at its best.”

3. Bug Me Not! (2005) directed by Law Chi-Leung

Bug Me Not!

“This good natured Hong Kong action flick, about kids with special powers who save both the insect and human worlds from destruction, is eye-popping goofy fun. It’s also a good film for helping young readers get accustomed to subtitles.”

4. The Marzipan Pig (1990) directed by Michael Sporn

The Marzipan Pig

“Based on Russell Hoban’s classic children’s book and featuring the mellifluous narration of Tim Burton, this hand-drawn gem tells a beguiling yet complicated tale about a marzipan pig that is lost behind a couch. Thus begins a surprising sequence of events and consequences that ends with a mouse in a pink dress dancing in the moonlight. Sublime!”

5. Kid’s Castle (1995) directed by Koji Yamamura

Kids Castle

“The meditative but decidedly whacky work of Japanese animator Koji Yamamura will definitely come as a surprise to kids who have grown accustomed to linear narratives. It’s fresh, spontaneous and singularly imaginative, with a soundtrack comprised of vocal acrobatics that is prone to make one giggle.”

 6. The Balloonatic (1923) directed by Eddie Cline and Buster Keaton

The Balloonatic

“Fandor offers dozens of Buster Keaton films, and this one, replete with ridiculous sight gags and Buster’s trademark deadpan visage, had my daughters howling with delight.”

7. Hold It! 1938) directed by Dave Fleischer

Hold It!

“In Dave Fleischer’s vintage cartoon, a peaceful night in the suburbs devolves into all-out mayhem thanks to a gang of rabble-rousing cats. High on cat nip and adrenaline, the cats soon discover a more entertaining pastime: tormenting a poor neighborhood pooch who’s just trying to get some shut eye. Rude!”

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