In our never-ending quest to provide you the tools and knowledge to raise your kids in your own geeky image, we present you with a list of 10 geeky movies to raise your kids with. This is a starter list, and by no means comprehensive. It also skews towards the younger set because we have to lay the proper geeky foundation. As always, leave your suggestions for additional titles in the comments.
1. Star Wars: You must, MUST! I say, start your child our with Episode IV: A New Hope. Diligence is key, brothers and sisters, and while your kids will probably enjoy even the new trilogy for its grand spectacle, they must be brought into the fold the right way. Isn’t it a thousand times better to fall in love with the non-verbal pluckiness of R2-D2 in New
Hope, and then cheer when he pops up in Phantom Menace? I knew you’d agree.
2. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s (Philosopher’s) Stone: The Potter movies are this generation’s Star Wars trilogy, and so far, ALL of them have been well-done. The first is a perfect introduction to the world, in a more kid-friendly Chris Columbus way, and makes for a great way to get your kids into all sorts of fantasy literature later. I’ll also take my lumps now: I’m *not* putting LOTR on this list because I don’t think it’s for younger kids – too long for them, and in cases too scary and violent. It’ll definitely make the second list, for your Geeky Tweens, though, so have no fear.
3. The Last Starfighter: This is the film from our youth that did the first, and maybe best, job of arguing that being good at videogames could be worthwhile in other aspects of your life (like being able to save the universe someday). They early CG was pretty darned good, too. Classic tale of the downtrodden geeky kid getting to find out they’re special, and live out a wish fulfillment.
4. My Neighbor Totoro: All Miyazaki is wonderful, with a beauty and spirit we seldom see in American-produced animation (Iron Giant counts as an exception to that statement). I chose Totoro because it’s the most accessible for a child, I think (Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke are a bit too scary in parts). The imaginary friend angle appeals to every young-at-heart parent, as well. If you can get your kid in love with this, then follow up with Howl’s Moving Castle, Kiki’s Delivery Service, and Nausicaa.
5. Time Bandits: Another great story of wish-fulfillment for a downtrodden kid, but this one has a merry band of miscreant little-people, time-travel, Sean Connery, John Cleese, and David Warner. Plus, it sets them up for Brazil and all the Monty Python oeuvre as they get older.
6. The Dark Crystal: The best pure-fantasy movie out there for younger kids, period. There are no human characters in the film at all (yes, I know, they’re all puppets), but we still get attached to them and sucked into their world. An also-ran here would be Neverending Story, but I’d put Labyrinth in the tweens list for next time.
7. WarGames: You could argue for WarGames to be on the tweens list as well, but I like it here because the kids will connect with the computer angle, the being ignored by grown-ups angle. I also like the idea of starting them young with a sense of the government and military being important, but not always bad. Let’s just pretend the
“sequel” that’s out on DVD now never happened, okay?
8. Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang: The technicolor American musical in all its splendor, with Dick van Dyke at his prime, and a magical car. The breakfast machine in the beginning should inspire many a Maker, and I always revel in noticing Desmond Llewelyn (original Q in the Bond movies – this was an Ian Fleming story, after all!), and Benny Hill as the toymaker.
9. Goonies: The perfect geek-gang adventure story with home-made gadgets, pirates, treasure and all, this movie also helps reinforce finding and sticking to friendships. The talk about a sequel for this movie, with most or all of the original cast, really gets me excited (just like the Tr2n
10. Back to the Future: The best way to initiate your kids into the joys of time-travel stories, and the joys of all things Christopher Lloyd. This is one of those cases where the whole series is enjoyable and family-friendly, and the great geeky repeatable dialog will keep you amused for a long time. Hello, McFly?!?!
So, what do you think? Any other great geeky starter movies for our kids? Let us know!