3 of the Best Kid Movies You May Have Missed

I love movies. Maybe I should say films because that sounds more cultured. Whatever. I’m not kidding myself, I’m not that cultured.

I love going to the movies and munching on Sno Caps, the best movie candy (not film candy) of all time. I know you probably don’t agree with that opinion but I stand by it. It’s an escapism that I don’t get to take advantage of often enough.

Best miyazaki kid movies

Miyazaki Movie Marathon

There are some movies I go to just because of who the director is or who the actors are. I trust Martin Scorsese. Meryl Streep rarely lets me down. I would never think of missing a Daniel Day-Lewis movie. Although it does seem like I really should call his movies films.

Benedict Cumberbatch is quickly becoming my new must see actor.

The same goes for animated movies. It’s much less embarrassing to go see them now that I have a child but I admit to having seen Toy Story on a date. Loved the movie but the date was a bust.

Just like finding books that are challenging enough for a gifted child yet still age appropriate, finding the best kid movies can be tough. In the past we’ve looked to some of the Hollywood classics but we still love children’s movies.

When Pixar has a new release my daughter and I grab the Sno Caps and settle in for a couple of hours. For the record my favorite is Wall-E and hers is Finding Nemo.

You may not have heard of another cinematic favorite of ours. Hayao Miyazaki, the Japanese animator whose movies are simply magical. I remember seeing Ponyo for the first time and feeling transported. I’m not used to having cartoons making me feel that way.

Each one of his movies is old-school handcrafted animation with little or no CGI. They’re created in the Japanese anime tradition and are immediately recognizable from the usual animated movies at the multi-plex.

You should check them out. You can find them on Amazon (nope – these are aren’t affliate links).

These are three of his best kid movies and our personal favorites.

Ponyo – aimed at younger kids but older kids will enjoy it as well. Perfect for those who love the sea and ecology.


My Neighbor Totoro – friendship tale. Incredible imagery.


Princess Mononoke – for kids that can handle epic battle scenes.

So, grab the Sno Caps and enjoy your Miyazaki movie marathon!

What are your favorite animated movies that we may not have seen?

Seven Interesting Things About ~ Alan Turing

Did a quick read of Common Sense Media’s review of the Imitation Game and despite the recommendation for kids at least 13 I took my nine-year old daughter.

As a parent of a gifted child I love sharing movies with her about people she can relate to. The movie’s about a geeky guy who got bullied in school and went on to basically win the war and save thousands of lives. Definition of a hero and pretty good guy.

She (me too!) is a Benedict Cumberbatch fan thanks to Sherlock. She also likes codes so this seemed like it would be a good way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Alan Turing The Imitation Game

Alan Turing

The movie provides opportunities for conversation ranging from bullying, wartime ethics, and how movies may play fast and loose with facts in order to tell a better story.

We came home and of course she wanted to know more about Alan Turing.

Here are seven interesting things we learned.

  1. The second most influential Princeton alumni of all time. He came in second behind only President James Madison. High praise.
  2. He was at Princeton the same time Albert Einstein was at the Institute for Advanced Study which was housed on the campus.
  3. Turing studied at Cambridge University and elected a fellow at the young age of 22.
  4. Developed the Turing Test for machine intelligence assessment: if an observer cannot tell whether they are interacting with a human or machine, the machine is intelligent.
  5. The computer room at King’s College at Cambridge University is the Turing Room.
  6. The Association for Computing Machinery gives the annual Turing Award to “an individual selected for contributions of a technical nature made to the computing community”. An announcement in November 2014 that the funding for the Turing Award increased to $1,000,000 and is provided by Google. Wow!
  7. Suspected of having Asperger’s Syndrome.

Have you seen the Imitation Game? What did you think? Will you take your kids to see it?

12 Angry Men and 1 Girl

Friday night times means leftovers and family movie night at our house. With a couple loads of laundry thrown in. Tonight was no different, it’s been a long first week back at school and work – we were ready for some quality vegging out.

Animated princesses and SpongeBob usually feature prominently in the movie night lineup. My sweet gifted girl who wanted a poster of the periodic table for Christmas, could sit and zone out for hours to the adventures of Tinkerbell. Of course, that’s prime time for my budding Pinterest addiction.

We’ve been saving Soul Surfer on the DVR but somehow my husband and I got talking about the movie 12 Angry Men. We exchanged one of those “what do you think” looks over the leftover beef stew and both shrugged our shoulders. So, 12 Angry Men was the feature. I’m not talking the 1997 version with Tony Danza, but the original black and white starring Henry Fonda. With a 7-year old girl.

12 Angry Men

I admit I did a quick check on Common Sense Media to make sure I hadn’t forgotten some gruesome details. By the way, if you haven’t used this site before – check it out. I don’t always agree with their recommendations but it’s a handy tool.

Honestly, I thought she’d be bored since it’s lacking the action of a classic SpongeBob episode and when she ran out of the room I figured she’d had enough of our classic movie night. But then she came running back in with her calculator to try and figure out how many train cars could’ve passed by the window. You’ll have to watch the movie to get that reference. Personally, I just trusted that Henry Fonda would work it all out and convince all those grumpy guys, including Ed Begley Jr.’s dad. Obviously, she was hooked.

She made it all the way through, much to our surprise. Have to admit I loved seeing her captivated by a movie more than 50 years old.

Watching it with her generated conversation about keeping your mind open and not following the crowd – there are few topics more important to address with your kids. Not to mention an easy civics lesson. Yep, I’m feeling like I accomplished a lot of quality parenting tonight thanks to old-school Hollywood. Don’t judge.

Gary the Snail

I have a feeling tomorrow morning she’s going to be back to SpongeBob. And I’m ok with that because I’m a big Gary fan.