The horrible people over at Entertainment Weekly are as foolish as they are horrible. They’ve put a list up on the Internet of the 55 films that your child should see before they turn 13. Of course, it’s the Internet, so everybody has to submit a rival list. As I’m soon to be an uncle (hoorah), I figured I should get in on this action.
But, seriously, they included Harry Potter films. That’s practically child abuse. Here’s my list of 25 films, in order that your child should watch them:
1. The Dark Crystal
I’ve written about this film before, but it’s absolutely the best way to get your child ready for a lifetime of enjoying epic fiction. It’s big, awe-inspiring, dark, mysterious, and extremely well structured. You want to indoctrinate your children into the social order of majesty, thus you need to get them addicted to The Dark Crystal.
2. Spirited Away
Cartoons, man. Cartoons. Kids go apeshit for cartoons. Importantly, go for cartoons from the only global civilisation that has freaking mastered the art of animation. The best thing about Spirited Away is that inspires an aesthetic intuition towards the beauty of nature, which will be helpful because your kid is going to be raised on the 17th floor of a heat-island apartment complex.
3. Interstella 5555
Children need music. If you don’t get children addicted to real music by the time they’re five, you might as well give up as a parent and hand your offspring over to the welfare system. Let’s be serious: the phenomenal cost of proper musical instruments that were made out of real materials that were once other living things is going to become so prohibitively expensive in the next decade that only the CEO of Fox-AOL-Time-Warner will be able to afford a piano in their house. So you might as well get your kids into electronica (which they can make by accident on their Samsung Galaxy Tab). Interstella 5555 proves that modern electronica doesn’t have to be ugly. For Australians, it’s either this or hip hop, and if future generations create more Australian hip hop, we deserve to be wiped out by global warming.
I’ve also written about this film. You’ve already introduced your kid to epic fantasy involving puppets, and you’ve introduced your kid to the essence of electronica. It’s now time to combine these two into the glorious wonder that is Labyrinth.
5. The Neverending Story
Don’t even try to argue with this one. When you want your kid to go to bed early, you might as well entice them with the possibility that novels are magical.
6. Batman (the 1960s movie)
Every good parent wants their child to grow up loving comic books. Batman is an essential part of a child’s literary diet, teaching us the importance of the link between capitalists and the distribution of justice (that is, the capitalist has an implied right to punch threats to the capitalist structure).
7. Star Wars: A New Hope
Swords, spaceships, and Vader. Plus, kids look super adorable when they’re dressed up as Stormtroopers; it gives us a cute look into their future career path.
Get your child ready to confront issues about death with a film about an alien who can resurrect himself. I hate children.
9. The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm
Fairytales are basically how we teach our children to adopt the social manners of 18th Century Germans. This film condenses all of these stories into an hour or two.
Music and animations again. While they might not be able to name the tune used as their default ringtones, they’ll be able to remember the funny cartoon that went with it.
11. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
No, seriously. How great are these films? These films are the bestest.
12. Star Wars: The Revenge of the Jedi
Remember ask your child what they think happens to the Ewoks when a space station explodes in Endor’s orbit. I hate children.
13. Muppets’ Christmas Carol
Fast forward through the love song, else your kids will get bored.
14. The Wizard of Oz
It’s important that children learn that people with bizarre deformities will not have valid grounds upon which to contest wills. Dead people don’t have property rights, after all. It’s a great way to explain the Greens’ Death Tax policy.
15. The Land Before Time
If your child doesn’t cry when Littlefoot’s mum dies, you’ve got a monster on your hands.
They won’t get half the jokes, but it helps you to justify arbitrary detention to your child. ‘Why do monsters deserve trials before being sent to jail? Look at all the disruption Slimer caused to the bourgeois elite! Didn’t he deserve to be locked in a scifi dungeon?’
‘Peck! Peck! Peckpeckpeckpeckpeck!’
It’s important that kids learn that robots are the enemy. Robots are the enemy. This film explains why.
19. 2001: A Space Odyssey
They’ll fall asleep after the monkeys anyway. In their half-sleep, they’ll learn why robots are the enemy.
20. Tron Legacy
More Daft Punk into their diet. Plus, a good opportunity to check your kid for epilepsy. Also, robots are evil.
21. The Great Yokai War
‘Don’t throw away old things,’ this film says, ‘Or it will turn into a chainsaw wielding monster.’ There’s something in this film for all of us.
23. Bill and Ben the Flower Pot Men
Okay, it’s really four episodes on an old VHS tape, but long before television shows started blitzing kids into strobe-induced lethargy, there were shows where puppets would work out what things were by hitting them with sticks.
24. Where the Wild Things Are
This is a beautiful film and a fun introduction to reflective ethical thinking. Max, the protagonist (maybe antagonist) realises that his behaviour has consequences for other people and that the only way for him to resolve these problems is to subordinate himself to the dominant ethical ideologies of consumerist liberalism.
25. Silence of the Lambs
Welcome to horrors.