Shelf Life
By Gear Patrol
on 11.22.13

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The fourth part in our series covers family movies. They’re the ones you loved as a kid, but haven’t revisited because, well, your office buddies don’t want to watch Bartok the Magnificent. But with Thanksgiving approaching, there’s no better time to dust off these old classics with loved ones. Family movies provide lighthearted laughs in abundance, and sometimes tears as well (damn you, Up!) They scrub away the confusion of adult life and remind us what’s important. In fact, some of life’s most important lessons are hidden in their colorful scenes. More importantly, the really good ones are fun to watch at any age. Just try not to start bawling when Mustafa eats it.

Now, without further ado, grab some popcorn, sit back, and dim the lights. The show’s about to start.

Methodology: like our books piece, the selections for our Definitive Men’s Movie Collection represent our favorites, “considered in the light of how much they changed our lives, and might change yours.” If it makes you feel any better that your favorite flick didn’t make the cut, consider that one of our auditors, in a moment of weakness, tried to get Nick Cage’s Ghostrider on the docket. Taste is subjective, so take this for what it’s worth.

In the family category specifically, it should be noted that we capped our animated Disney and Pixar movies at five apiece. Although both companies produce some of the best family films available, we wanted to introduce our readers to a wider variety of family movies.

up_xlg Up
Say what you will about animated films, but Up deserved every bit of its best picture nomination. We’ve never encountered another movie that had audiences both weeping and laughing in just the first 15 minutes.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / iTunes
Nightmare_before_christmas_movieposter The Nightmare Before Christmas
It’s not actually directed by Tim Burton — so stop saying it is. Still, the dark director’s twisted imagination remains on full display in this unique tale of holiday envy. Another fun fact? Famed film score composer Danny Elfman is the singing voice of Jack.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix / iTunes
e_t_the_extra_terrestrial_ver2_xlg E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
For once, the titular alien isn’t destroying Earth or bursting through chest cavities. Instead, it’s healing wounds, making bikes fly, eating candy and creating ebonics-like catch phrases that are still gurgled regularly. We give the movie two glowing thumbs up.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / iTunes
brave-little-toaster-movie-poster-1988-1020234189 The Brave Little Toaster
The movie’s anthropomorphic appliances and animated style look every bit the creation of Disney, but a darker subtext of obsolescence, disposability and abandonment makes this novel cartoon a clear standout from its candy-coated counterparts.
Amazon DVD
The Incredibles The Incredibles
The movie that deftly skewers superheroes and superspies alike while also teaching viewers of all ages that there’s no better person to be than yourself (and that wearing a cape is a bad idea).
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / iTunes
The Sword and the Stone The Sword in the Stone
Disney’s treatment of the King Arthur legend is an all-time classic thanks to the memorable and ornery owl Archimedes and his grandfatherly master, Merlin.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / iTunes
hook Hook
Pan purists might scoff at the plot line, but Spielberg’s trademark blend of action, adventure and comedy wins over the heart of anyone with a soul. Hoffman’s Hook in particular is a role of a lifetime.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / iTunes
harry_potter_and_the_sorcerers_stone_ver4 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
You don’t need to be Dumbledore to understand the high expectations that come with bringing a world-wide children’s literature phenomenon to the big screen. However, an intense reverence for Rowling’s imaginative world quickly won over fans, launching one of the most successful movie franchises of all time (and unearthing Emma Watson).
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / iTunes
babe-poster_1 Babe
An amiable, personified pig gives sheep dogs a lesson on the power of thoughtful communication.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / iTunes
the-mighty-ducks The Mighty Ducks
A rag-tag group of kids gets together to play hockey under the court-mandated tutelage of Emilio Estevez. This is the film that launched Shaun Weiss’ career into semi-superstardom. Anybody under the age of 12 from 1985-1995 will find the movie hilarious, and everybody else will find it entirely enjoyable.
Amazon DVD / iTunes
toy_story_two_xlg Toy Story 2
Arguably the best of Pixar’s sentient-toy trilogy, TS2 sees Woody, Buzz and a bunch of new additions trying escape the vacuum-packed death grip of a toy collector. This masterpiece deals with issues of death, friendship, and learning to enjoy things instead of preserving them. But don’t go thinking this is The Green Mile: the themes are thoroughly tucked behind gags, witty humor and a stuffed horse named Bullseye.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / iTunes
Finding-Nemo Finding Nemo
Another Pixar masterpiece. When little clownfish Nemo gets lost in the South Pacific, the dysfunctional duo consisting of his father, Marlin, and a forgetful Regal Tang named Dory (perfectly voiced by Ellen DeGeneres) try to save him. You’ll anthropomorphize the fish in your dentist’s office for the rest of your life.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / iTunes
The Wizard Of Oz The Wizard of Oz
Originally released in 1939, The Wizard of Ozhas Judy Garland playing Dorothy Gale, a girl trying to get back home after being swept into a magical world by a tornado. The story, characters and memorable music are well worth the emotional scarring from the flying monkeys.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / iTunes
princess_bride_xlg The Princess Bride
The ultimate “everybody loves it” movie. It’s funny, endearing, fraught with excitement and unexpectedly loaded in the cast department. “My name is Inigo Montoya…” ‘Nuff said.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / iTunes
cool-runnings-poster-artwork-leon-john-candy-paul-coeur Cool Runnings
Who doesn’t love a classic fish-out-of-water theme, especially when it involves Jamaicans and Olympic sports? It’s the movie that brought us “Sanka, you dead mahn?” and many other potent quotables, along with a hearty love for underdogs. Don’t forget John Candy.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / iTunes

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Mary-Poppins Mary Poppins
Julie Andrews is ridiculously lovable as everyone’s favorite Nanny; the movie also earns points for inspiring a beautiful Arrested Development gag.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / iTunes
Matilda Matilda
The screen adaptation of Roald Dahl’s story of a precocious young girl who discovers her latent telepathic ability. It’s inspiring and fun, but also terrifying in all the right ways — that Miss Trunchbull sure is a terrifying woman. You never thought you’d cringe at chocolate cake, did you?
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / iTunes
monsters_inc Monsters, Inc.
The buddy comedy of buddy comedies, made all the more wonderful by the magic of computer animation…and the fact that the buddies are lovable monsters. Turning scary on its head, anyone?
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / iTunes
theparenttrap The Parent Trap
Anything with the words “Lohan twins” in it today is probably on Pornhub — but oh, remember the good ol’ days? A great remake involving twin hijinks, a la The Comedy of Errors, though no actual twins were involved.
Amazon DVD / iTunes
A-Christmas-Story-movie-poster-1020423185 A Christmas Story
It’s Christmas season, and all young Ralphie can think about is getting his hands on a Red Ryder carbine-action, 200-shot, range model air rifle with a compass in the stock. You’ll quote this movie every Christmas for the rest of your life.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / iTunes
the-karate-kid-movie-poster-1984-1020196322 The Karate Kid
Daniel-San is getting bullied by a gang of dickish dudes (led by Billy Zabka), so he trains with Mr. Miyagi (the late, great Pat Morita) and learns that — contrary to the beliefs of the Cobra Kai — the martial arts are about more than violence. Come for the premise; stay for the montages set to Joe Esposito.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / iTunes
beauty-and-the-beast-movie Beauty and the Beast
It’s a Disney classic, which really means its one of the best family movies of all time. Solid lessons in morality, an unlikely love story, a humorous Francophone candelabra and excellent music. Show it to a girl under the age of 10 and you’ll have Halloween costumes picked out for the next five years.
Amazon DVD
honey-i-shrunk-the-kids-movie-poster-1989 Honey, I Shrunk The Kids
The kids get in the way of an errant shrink-ray (what kind of irresponsible parent leaves a powerful electromagnetic device just laying around?!?!); stature-based hilarity ensues.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / iTunes
lion_king_ver4_xlg The Lion King
Everything we needed to know in life we learned from talking lions, meerkats and warthogs. Oh, and monkeys, too. Can you feel the love tonight?
Amazon DVD / iTunes
willy_wonka_and_the_chocolate_factory_xlg Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
Gene Wilder’s best work. Brilliant character choices, hysterically funny writing; it’s one of only a few movies that leaves audiences simultaneously laughing and frightened. It tells the story of an old chocolate factory, the man who runs it, and the dirt-poor boy who finally has a chance to fulfill his dreams.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / iTunes
heavyweights-movie-poster-1995-1020210479 Heavyweights
Fat kids go to fat camp. It’s a blast until Ben Stiller takes over and cancels the fun due to lack of hustle. Hilariously, the protagonist is played by an actor named Cody Burger.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / iTunes
goonies The Goonies
After discovering a treasure map, a young boy and his friends race through a booby-trapped cave system to find One-Eyed Willy’s fortune before the evil Fratelli family does.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / iTunes
The-Kid-Poster The Kid
Not only one of the best family movies, but one of the best movies, period. Watch comic icon Charlie Chaplin (try to) care for an abandoned child.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / iTunes
The Pagemaster The Pagemaster
Macaulay Culkin plays Richard Tyler, a boy obsessed with accident statistics. After taking shelter from a storm in a local library, he finds himself drawn into a cartoon world where he battles evil and discovers a love for books.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / iTunes
Alice in Wonderland Alice in Wonderland
Ignore the Tim Burton/Johnny Depp massacre and check out the Disney version from 1951. It’s filled with the songs, joy and creativity that are lacking in its unnecessarily creepy remake.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / iTunes

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Annie Annie
Precocious orphan Annie wants to find her parents, but Mrs. Hannigan — the lousy sot — denies her the freedom. At the same time, billionaire Oliver Warbucks wants an orphan to improve his image, so Annie at least gets a home. But she still wants real parents. Then FDR gets involved. And the sun comes up every day.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / iTunes
mrs_doubtfire_ver1 Mrs. Doubtfire
The success of this movie alone is proof that an immature, irresponsible father who becomes divorced from his wife, ousted from his home and separated from his kids can prove his worth, fend off James Bond and get the family back together through a complex, somewhat disturbing universe of deception.
Amazon DVD
Shrek Shrek
Shrek, a Scottish ogre who likes his privacy, gets pissed when the king exiles all the other fairytale creatures to his swamp. After taking a talking donkey (voiced by Eddie Murphy) to have a chat with the king, he learns that everyone will be moved from the swamp if he agrees to rescue a princess for the king to marry. A love triangle ensues. Also, the king’s name is “Farquaad”. In a kid’s movie.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / iTunes
Home Alone Home Alone
Poor Kevin McCallister. His huge family doesn’t understand him or pay attention to him, and when they leave for a Christmas trip he’s left behind to fend for himself — which means battling the Wet Bandits. Clever Kevin defends his home from invasion in the most devious and creative ways: this is cozy justice porn for the family movie set.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / iTunes
big Big
Your own current size issues aside, at some point every kid wants to be big. Little did youthful Josh Baskin know that carnival games sometimes grant wishes. When he wakes up in an adult’s body, he finds that navigating adult life — work, success, friendships and getting it on with a grown woman — proves harder than expected.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / iTunes
Aladdin-Movie-Poster Aladdin
Riff raff? Street rat? We don’t buy that — Aladdin is just a poor pauper who stumbles across a majorly magic opportunity and then falls in love with a princess. But will she love real-him or prefer wish-prince him? After seeing this movie, we rubbed every lamp in sight on the off chance that Robin Williams would come out and be our friend.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download
blog-jumanji Jumanji
Straight from the beautiful pages of Chris Van Allsburg’s book erupts the tale of a board game that demands to be played. Of course, you could try to stop…but everything that happens in the jungle-themed game comes true and doesn’t go away until someone wins. The game even spits out a jungle-grown Robin Williams, trapped in the game since he was a child, who helps fend off herds of animals, alarmingly fast-growing killer vines, deadly tsetse flies and more.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / iTunes
The_Jungle_Book_1967_Platinum_Edition_2-Disc_DVD The Jungle Book
Disney took Rudyard Kipling’s fables and created an absolutely classic coming-of-age story. It came before The Lion King (way before…we’re talking 1967). Not convinced? Reconsider.
Amazon DVD
the-great-mouse-detective-movie-poster-1020235034 The Great Mouse Detective
Sherlock Holmes as a mouse. The dark illustrations make an intense adventure all the more addictive.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / Netflix / iTunes
elf Elf
Will Ferrell in a perfect, if unanticipated, role. It’s his brand of bumble-comedy wrapped in a heart-warming Christmas plot.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / iTunes
The Sandlot The Sandlot
America, baseball and a better (more naive) era.
Amazon DVD
the-sound-of-music-poster-artwork-julie-andrews-christopher-plummer-eleanor-parker The Sound of Music
Lots of Jews, Nazis lose, everybody sings.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / iTunes
Its a wonderful life It’s a Wonderful Life
After a series of unfortunate events, the generous George Bailey realizes that the town he loves will be destroyed and he’ll be sent to jail. As he attempts to commit suicide, he’s confronted by an angel. Just a wonderful, wonderful movie all around.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / iTunes
Muppet-Movie-poster The Muppet Movie
Jim Henson and Frank Oz bring an incredible and hilarious cast of marionette puppets together for a cross-country adventure in search of Hollywood fame and fortune.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / iTunes
Pollyanna Pollyanna
A plucky young girl uses a positive attitude to transform an embittered town. Maybe she should read Candide…? Ah, whatever. Your kids will like it.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / iTunes
The Iron Giant The Iron Giant
A young boy befriends a gigantic alien robot who’s as scared of his surroundings as everyone else is of him. Think BFG meets Wall-E (which is on our Sci-Fi list, so don’t ask).
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / iTunes
remember_the_titans_xlg Remember the Titans
Denzel Washington is tasked with coaching a Virginia T.C. Williams high school football team in its first year of integration. A story of racial strife, teamwork and a little bit of chanting, RtT is about as good as family sports movies get.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / iTunes
Wallace and Grommit Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Everyone’s favorite clay duo (take that, Gumby) team up to discover the secret behind a mysterious vegetable disappearance. Featuring the vocal talents of the original Wallace, 92-year-old Peter Sallis, as well as the younger Helena Bonham Carter.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / iTunes
A Little Princess A Little Princess
When her father enlists in WWI, young Sara Crewe starts attending the same NYC boarding school as her late mother. Unfortunately, the school is run by a woman with the same temperament as Nurse Ratched.
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / iTunes
Meet_Me_In_St_Louis_Poster Meet Me In St. Louis
Judy Garland strikes again. She plays one of four beautiful daughters, who, for some reason or another, love St. Louis. Maybe it used to be nicer in 1944?
Amazon DVD / Amazon Download / iTunes

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