Kids stuff that doesn't suck: Family-friendly movies to stream during quarantine
- Schools are closed. Extra-curricular activities are canceled. Movie theaters are shuttered or playing Bloodshot only (sorry, Vin). And the weather outside might be frightful, rainy, or prohibitively extra. The coronavirus COVID-19 has your family on self-quarantine mode, so what is your family to watch that doesn't have an over-emphasis on, say, dead parents and orphaned children? (Extra sorry, Anastasia, the-otherwise-excellent Go Karts and, like, half of Disney's offerings.) Grab a blanky, even if you don't have kids. We're gonna row, row, row our boats gently down the streams, purchases, and rentals of kid-friendly movies to watch with the ones you love.
For young children (TV-Y and MPAA rated G)
A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon (Netflix)Animals screaming like women: What's not to love? You probably already know if you're a Shaun/Wallace and Gromit/Chicken Run fan, and remember your sweet babes can't pick up off-color language in movies where there's no actual spoken dialogue. That being said (see what I did there?), I laughed like a bastard throughout this adventurous and out-of-this-world claymation offshoot, which has Easter eggs from Star Trek, X-Files, Arrival, Star Wars, and other sci-fi faves at which adults may chortle. —Katie Hasty https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RecHCOkgOvI
The Gruffalo (Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, Fandango Now)Forgive my suggesting a children's movie voiced in part by omnipresent James Corden — truly, the goatee of kids animated film voice actors — but this 22-minute film adaptation from the book is a little less polished and a little more gentle and grinning than your 15-minute TV show and your 100-minute epic. Like in Goldilocks' little taste test, this is just right. —K.H. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHvsPRMd-tM
Fantasia (Disney+)Did you know: Fantasia is one-hundred-and-sixteen-freaking-minutes long so you and your offspring will be asleep before you can say "Ave Maria." This is regarded as one of the most brilliant animated films of all time for a reason, dad, so find the parts you like and learn the dance to it. —K.H.
The Fairies: Fairy Magic (Apple TV, Amazon Video)Okay, this one's pretty dipsy-doodly but stick with me. For those wary of strict Disney Princess indoctrination, there's Harmony and Rhapsody, two flouncy-dressed lunatics whose fates I am firmly if not overly invested. This very 2005 ooncha-ooncha live-action, low budget musical adventure may ring familiar from your childhood; there's a whole series of these direct-to-video movies, which come from the same world as Australian kids TV series The Fairies. —K.H.
10 Little Rubber Ducks (Apple TV and Amazon Video)Can you believe beloved children's author and illustrator Eric Carle (The Hungry Caterpillar) is 90 years old? Well, here's to his health and the destiny of his 10 true and tiny yellow icons who have hit the open sea. Seven minutes long (we're still calling it a movie, dammit) and voiced by Broadway star Bernadette Peters so you feel soothed, sated, and wobbily entertained with your wee one. —K.H.
A Little Princess (Netflix, Redbox, Vudu, Apple TV, Fandango Now, Google Play, and Amazon Video)I want to put this movie in my mouth. I want to put it in my pocket and go on little adventures with it. I want to squeeze it and hug it and keep it for my very own. I love this movie every time I watch it because it's beautiful, practically tangible, and authentically child-like, thanks to Gravity director Alfonso Cuarón. —K.H.
Born in China (Disney+)So many DisneyNature and NatGeo selections are appropriate and wondrous for young viewers — you could even put on your own soundtrack (death metal? smooth jazz?) and let your nuggets soak up views of the planet sans fun fact-rich dialogue. Born in China centers on several parent and child animal pairings, so you could really drive home how much your babies need you. (See also Dolphin Reef when it arrives on Disney+ on April 3.)
For older children (TV-Y7 and MPAA rated PG)
Paddington and Paddington 2 (Redbox, Amazon, Apple TV, Fandango Now, Vudu, and Amazon Video)Paddington's just a little bear! And so much mischief is afoot! Why aren't there more Paddingtons by now? Because these live-action/CG modern adaptations are so pure and spun from the sinews of magic, the hairs of exploding stars, and the hallucinogens of your youth. They take time to be so good and fun and right. They're like The Lego Movie: Nobody expected 'em to be good, but here we are. Spend the rest of quaran-time learning to perfect your marmalade recipe. Please note that we are technically breaking the dead parents rule here. But we don't see Paddington's parents actually die and Aunt Lucy is a g—ed legend, so respect where respect is due. —K.H. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sw7RElt-SvE
Spy Kids (Netflix, Redbox, Apple TV, Google Play, Fandango Now, Vudu, Amazon Video)How is a movie with Alan Cumming, Danny Trejo, Teri Hatcher, and Antonio Banderas, and made by Robert Rodriguez not the filthiest thing you've ever seen? This is the director's best film, frankly. —K.H.
The Boss Baby (FX Now, Redbox, Fandango Now, Apple TV, Vudu, Google Play, Amazon Prime)Shut up. Boss Baby is amazing. —K.H.
The Angry Birds 2 (Netflix, Fandango Now, Vudu, Google Play, Redbox, Apple TV, and Amazon Prime)
If you never watched the first Angry Birds movie, there’s no hiccup when jumping into this sequel, which boasts an all-star cast of everyone from Jason Sudeikis and Bill Hader to Sterling K. Brown and Awkwafina. One of those rare kids’ movies that is magically as side-splitting for the child as it is for the parent, this is one you actually won’t mind hitting double digits in the watch count. —Lacey Vorrasi-Banis
Spirited Away (Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Vudu)From the snort sounds of a three-headed pet to the tap of a shoe freshly put on a foot, Studio Ghibli's Spirited Away is full of fanciful details, a feast for the eyes. This is a story about a little girl who starts out needy and fearful and ends up brave during a time of big changes. Sound a little too familiar? — K.H.
Dr. Seuss' The Grinch (Netflix, Redbox, Vudu, Fandango Now, Amazon Video)
Even the Grinch theme song gets a catchy update from Tyler, the Creator in this 2018 Illumination version that deftly brings the infamous green big bad into the 21st century. Less scary than Jim Carrey and far cuter than the original, this is the classic that will become our children’s classic. Now if that doesn’t make your heart grow three sizes, nothing will. —L.V.B.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UOh0UX3alI
The Mighty Ducks (HBO Go)quack. quack. Quack. Quack. QUACK. QUACK. QUACK! QUACK! etc.
Ralph Breaks the Internet (Disney+)
Let’s be real: Everyone came for the princesses but stayed for Gal Gadot. More heart-tugging and even smarter than the original, this movie is like watching a version of your internet search history that you don’t mind your kids seeing. —L.V.B.
Hugo (Netflix, Vudu, Google Play, Apple TV, Fandango Now)A Martin Scorsese joint, and nary an f-bomb. Vastly underrated, this live-action adventure also stars professional goober Sasha Baron-Cohen in a fantastic role. —K.H.
Coraline (STARZ, Vudu, Fandango Now, Sling)Laika — home to Missing Link, which won Best Animated Feature at the Golden Globes earlier this year — has consistently released left-of-center weirdos. This, the studio's first original feature, was released in 2009 but remains ageless and a standard in stop-motion. Gorgeous, spooky, funny, and strange, it's like a mix of an Alice in Wonderland-style fairy tale and a David Cronenberg-ian (non-sexual) fantasy. —K.H. Related content: