With fall comes shorter days, fires in the fireplace and lots of time spent snuggled on the couch. At our house, we’re usually watching one of two things: sports or movies. Movie night is an event for us. We make popcorn, round up lots of snacks and all claim our spots on the couch. And then we do what every family does… spend WAY too much time deciding on a movie.
Since I’m guessing we’re not the only ones who have trouble settling on a movie, especially ones that are family friendly but not lame, I thought I’d share some classics that are worth revisiting. In the last year or so, we’ve been working our way through our favorite movies from our childhood and it’s been a lot of fun to see the kids reactions to them. Some are immediate favorites, while some took a little convincing but all of them have ended up being crowd pleasers.
So next time you and your crew are settling in for movie night, here’s some 90’s classics worth cueing up!
- The Little Rascals – One time for family vacation, we rented a house in the Bahamas. It was incredible except that the satellite TV went out so at night, we had to rely on movies. During that week trip, I think my step-brothers and I watched it like 20 times (it didn’t help that it rained a bunch that week). Ever since I’ve had a soft spot for The Little Rascals. When I saw it for five dollars at Target, I immediately bought it to keep in my car DVD player (#momlife).So if 11-year-old Danielle couldn’t recite the entire movie, now 35-year-old Danielle can. I’ve listened to it more times than I care to admit while driving the crew around from practice to practice and I can confirm, it’s still a classic… plus it’s VERY quotable. It’s truly a perfect kid movie. Funny, quick paced, good for girls and boys, a worthwhile message AND a cameo by Queen Icon Legend Reba McEntire (there’s another less iconic cameo by Donald Trump too).
- The Sandlot – If you didn’t have a crush on Benny ‘The Jet’ Rodriguez were you even born in the 80’s?If you’re wondering if this movie holds up, it does. It’s still SO good. Again, funny, quick-paced, such a good story about friendship and a killer cameo by James Earl Jones. I will say the whole part where they go to the fair, eat a bunch of chew and then lose their lunch, is still really gross.My kids think the movie is hilarious and it has pretty much no scary parts (other than The Beast). Oh and Wendy Peppercorn is still a serious babe.
- The Parent Trap – You guys, Lindsey Lohan was a bad ass child actor. She played the parts of two characters, playing the other character throughout the movie flawlessly. Yes, the whole concept of divorcing parents separating their twins is totally whack but if you can suspend reality and focus on how incredible Annie and Haley are, you’ll still love this 90’s classic.This is another car movie that the kids watch as we ride around, so I can pretty much recite the film. It’s full of great music, fun pranks, GORGEOUS Natasha Richardson, hunky Dennis Quaid, the cutest Grandpa, lots of aspirational kid life (Chessie and Martin are incredible) and an A+ villain in Meredith Blake. The movie is perfection and D3 loves it as much as the girls do.I think we should all try to remember our girl LiLo like the perfection she was in The Parent Trap.
- Hocus Pocus – It is October after all. This is another one of our car movies and you can bet that on October 1, the kids asked to start watching it again. There are a few scary parts at the beginning, the whole turning Thackery to a cat and sucking the life out of little Emily can be a little frightening. Blake has been known to ask for us to fast-forward but otherwise, this is the best Halloween ,ovie around, in my book at least.
- Back to the Future – When the Cubs won the World Series a couple years ago and everyone was talking about the ‘Back to the Future’ prediction, I decided to rent it and watch it with D3 (he was having a MAJOR Cubs moment).Granted, this isn’t one for really small kiddos but I think it’s okay for kids 8 or so, just depending on their maturity. It’s still a ton of fun to watch and full of nostalgia. One of our favorite parts of watching it was answering all of Drew’s questions about things from back in the day – phone booths, telephone books, the TVs, etc.Marty McFly is still the coolest and those self-lacing sneakers are pretty legit. Fair warning though, while Back to the Future is good for kids, the second one has some mildly problematic/scary moments. So you may want to hold off on it until they’re a little older.
- Remember the Titans – Sports movies are king in our house and this one was a HUGE HIT. I honestly hadn’t watched it in 10+ years when we rented it over the summer and I loved it as much as the kids. Drew and Reese were singing the songs and doing the chants for weeks and they restarted it a couple times on their own.It does deal with segregation, so be ready to have a thoughtful conversation with your kids about the subject. It ended up creating a great space for us to talk to the kids about how our society used to treat people of color and how we still have so far to go to make things better. Obviously the movie does a great job of showing how people can learn about each other and change their prejudices and misjudgements. Also, in light of our recent cancel culture phenomenon, I think it’s a nice reminder that people can change and grow, that everyone doesn’t need to be totally thrown out before being given a chance to do the right thing.Also, Denzel Washington is a gift that we’re all not worthy of. The man can do no wrong.
- Freaky Friday – We’ve already talked about one Lilo classic but Freaky Friday is another cinematic feat from our late 90’s queen. Jamie Lee Curtis is an American treasure and this movie is full of lolz. The kids love it and I had forgotten how great Lindsey was at pretending to be someone else. Do you all think she is doing some extended version of this now? I kind of hope so.Anyways, Freaky Friday is a treat. Plus it’s one of the first times we get to see Lindsay, the pop star. Speaking of which, and totally unrelated to Freaky Friday, ‘Bossy’ was an anthem.
I won’t bore you with anymore full recaps/personal anecdotes but here’s some other great options…
For the Sports Obsessed:
- Rookie of the Year – Clearly baseball movies are where it was at in the 90’s.
- Mighty Ducks – A classic and Emilio Estevez is 90’s gold.
- Thunderstruck – Basically, Freaky Friday with Kevin Durant. Reese loves this movie and is 100% in love with KD because of it. Everytime we watch basketball, go to a basketball game, mention basketball, she asks if Kevin Durant is there.
- A League of Her Own – There’s no crying in baseball but there’s lots of crying every time I hear Madonna’s ‘This Used to be My Playground’ and see that real-life reunion at the end of the movie.
- Mrs Doubtfire – Robin Williams is a gem and epic in this. Also, we need more Sally Field in the world.
- Jumanji – A little scary for smaller kids but a ton of fun for older kids. Even better if they’ve seen the recent version with the Rock. And it’s another excuse to watch Robin Williams.
- Father of the Bride – Ahhh love it so much and that house! It’s the dream.
- Home Alone – DUH. Best Christmas movie ever.
- Home Alone 2: Lost in New York – The biggest debate in our house is which Home Alone is better. Feel free to weigh-in in the comments.
- Deck the Halls – I can’t stand this movie but my entire family LOVES it.
- Elf – A treat. Literally. Don’t watch this movie if you’re not ready to let your kids eat all the marshmallows.