I remember reading a list about "must-have" children's movies to invest in when I was pregnant with Ayla. I had, ummm, all of them. And I didn't consider owning these movies just in case I was babysitting. I loved them truly for my own viewing pleasure. Now it is just an added bonus that Ayla & Jackson sing along to my favorite movies of all time.
All of the critic's choices are different now, with the addition of more Disney films (and Pixar). I can't remember exactly what was on that list several years ago, but I'm certainly willing to add new titles to my children's movie library.
Here is my personal Top 10:
1. The Dark Crystal - there is absolutely nothing like it, not even Labyrinth. I appreciated the fantastical storyline when I was four years old, and now that I own it on DVD (instead of the recorded from tv, scratchy VHS tape) I marvel at all of the details.
2. Annie - I watched it for 48 hours straight once. Again, this movie is just getting better with time. Ms. Hannigan is drunk almost the entire movie, which completely went over my head as a kid. ("Why is she stirring a clear liquid called gin in the bathtub?") I literally forced this movie upon Ayla. It is pure joy to hear her sing along to "Tomorrow".
3. Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory - Another VHS favorite, it instilled my love for Gene Wilder. My friend Jenn always did a perfect imitation of Veruca Salt's bratty song. We have an angry debate in our house every once in awhile about the "scary" factor of the Oompa Loompas. Strangely enough, tiny orange men don't scare me at all.
4. The Muppets Take Manhattan - It's hard to choose a favorite in the Muppet Category, but this one has some of the funniest human characters. When Joan Rivers is throwing powder on her face with Miss Piggy, I can't contain myself. It was while watching this movie that I discovered my life's dream of meeting a Muppet. (And I would totally act as if they were real - wait, they ARE real.)
5. The Secret of Nimh - Old-school animation, but I loved the song that played during the closing credits (the two crows flying in the air with their string - you know what I'm talking about!)
6. Star Wars - ALL of them. I watched these with my brother and used to pretend I was Princess Leia climbing up the basement stairs. And Luke Skywalker was hot.
7. The Lion King - I may have been in junior high at the time, but I was obsessed with this movie. I saw it maybe five times in the theater, bought the trading cards AND action figures at Burger King, and even had the commemorative plates. It was the first time that a Disney movie showed a dead parent, so unfortunately, some critics say this movie is traumatizing for kids.
8. Wall-E - this movie is profound. There is no leftist, political agenda behind this movie. We do consume and throw away so much garbage that we are ruining the planet. (Regardless of what you think about global warming, you have to admit we buy too much plastic shit). We do rely on robots to take care of us. Someday we will probably live in space. But it's still a hopeful outlook on the whole situation - I always cry when they return to earth. And Ayla is screaming, "They're coming back to earth! They're coming back to earth!!!"
9. The Muppet Christmas Carol - yes, I was in junior high with this movie too. But it's hilarious. And I can watch Christmas movies, year round.
10. Back to The Future - Michael J. Fox is synonymous with growing up in the 80's. TBS still shows the reruns every weekend for a reason.
Of course I've left out a lot, I still love The Little Mermaid, E.T., Sleeping Beauty, Charlie Brown and many others. But these are the movies I watched over and over during childhood (minus Wall-E, unless you consider parenthood my second chance at childhood) - and would gladly do the same today.
Feel free to comment or add to the list!