A Short List: Animated Children’s Movies I can Stand

A Short List: Animated Children’s Movies I can Stand

Jamie is going to be in for one hard dose of reality when he begins watching his children’s movies on live television.

We have all his programming stored on DVR. So every time a commercial pops up he let’s the keeper of the remote know this is not acceptable.

Again?! Again?!”

If we don’t address this crisis in the first few seconds that it comes to our attention he’ll start repeating the names of the characters from whatever children’s movie he’s watching. Sometimes these are on in the background for mom and dad, while we get more done around the house, so we’re not always there to address each emergency—though they are regularly brought to our attention.

Most of the time for me, a movie for Jamie means I’m trying to get something done. This is partly because I’m a parent and an occupied kid means a crack at the to-do-list. It is also partly because dad is already living his hard reality. I’ve got the same disdain for some of these movies that Jamie has for the commercials that interrupt them.

Let’s just say that these animated children’s movies are not my genre of choice. I’m working on being more open to them however, given the circumstances.

I can’t pinpoint exactly what it is that I found disagreeable with this genre. Maybe it’s just that some of the stories feel a little too simplified. With animated musicals such as Frozen or Aladdin, it’s because they advance the plot with song and no human living outside of this genre does that. The tendency to randomly break into song is probably an indicator for some kind of mental health disorder. I’m not sure that’s something we should be exposing our children to, especially at an impressionable age.

Given a choice, I’d much rather watch a comedy, drama or documentary. It is pretty rare these days that I am given that choice, however—at least until Jamie goes to bed.

My feelings for Frozen have already been well documented. Every time I talk with an adult who admits they have never seen the tale of these two princesses, I am immediately overwhelmed with jealousy. Then I wonder what other children’s movies they have not seen, and my jealousy continues to grow.

If you want to know if someone has young children, work the phrase “Let it go” into the conversation. After seeing the movie hundreds of times, their body has been conditioned to involuntarily react. They may shudder, smile or flash their significant other a knowing look. But I promise this is a phrase that is burned into a parents’ memory forever.

Like I said, Jamie watching a movie usually means dad is getting stuff done.

But being in the same room as some of these children’s movies as they continue to play over and over can have an impact.

To be fair, a few of the movies have grown on me, such as Wreck it Ralph and Monsters Inc. The first hundred viewings I didn’t care much for them. But as they continue to play over and over and over again, I have to admit, I don’t hate them, which is the highest compliment I can pay.

I just recently watched the new Horton Hears a Who! with Jamie, and I have to admit I really liked that one. There are some great lessons and concepts engrained in that movie for a toddler. Maybe there’s hope for children’s movies yet. I can’t wait to find more movies that we both truly like.

Right now my short list of children’s movies I can stand looks like this:

  • Horton Hears a Who!
  • Wreck it Ralph 
  • Monsters Inc

*Movies on this list are subject to change based on the number of viewings and other criteria.

I won’t rush or wish away any stage of development, but I am excited about Jamie taking interest in some non-animated children’s movies eventually – something with real live actors playing real live characters and not just their voice. I know a lot of dads are eager to share Star Wars with their kids, but those movies never meant as much to me.

We’re still a few years away from being able to share The Godfather, which was one of my favorites. In the meantime, what are some of the favorite children’s movies (animated or not) for parents to share with their kids? I’d be curious to know.



  1. I have to admit to having a soft spot for Lilo and Stich, and it’s surprisingly enjoyable sequel. Stitch has a Glitch. Good family message, great soundtrack and a if your an Elvis fan.

    • I’ll have to check that one out. Haven’t seen it.

  2. Matt, it’s been many years since I’ve been in your posititon, but your post cracked me up. Nothing worse than getting a song from a Disney blockbuster stuck in your head in a seemingly endless loop. Be careful what you wish for, though. The next phase is viewing what you thought would be a perfectly appropriate movie with your kid and being blindsided by a sexually explicit scene. Gives you a new appreciation for a mindless Disney cartoon!

  3. Thanks Lu! And fair point. Not looking forward to that situation.

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