So last night, after a few drinks, my flatmates and I had a long, drunken, nostalgic conversation about the movies we watched growing up, and how kids today have no idea what they missed out on in terms of quality films. Kids today just totally live an existence where a good family movie like Finding Nemo comes about a few times a decade. Instead they have no choice but to turn to Nickelodeon/Cartoon Network/Disney Chanel for their entertainment, or what settles for entertainment today, but that’s another story. The fact of the matter is that they simply do not pump out good movie after good movie like they used to in the 80’s and 90’s. Children’s movies completely and totally lack that X factor and those intangibles that were abundant in movies like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or The Mighty Ducks. The worst part is if you show kids today movies from this golden area they don’t even like them. Their standards are too high. Here is a prime example. A couple summer’s ago, I lived with a host family in Kansas who had two young girls, 6 and 9 years old. Literally the cutest girls you ever saw, and they were both very girly – all into dolls, ballet and the like. Well my host mom sent me on an errand one day to go to Blockbuster and rent some kids movies for the girls, and gave me a list of movies the girls would like. I can’t remember exactly but it was something like Barbie goes to France or Yu-Gi-Yo in Space or something absolutely terrible. So instead of wasting the $2 on renting garbage, I bring home a guaranteed children’s classic: Homeward Bound. I’m about to flip these girl’s worlds’ upside down, and after it’s over, they are going to beg me to keep bringing back classic 90’s movies. It was a sure fire win-win in my head, since I’d get to satisfy a nostalgia craving, and there was absolutely no way these kids wouldn’t love Shadow, Chance and Sassy… right? Welp, not exactly. The girls were bored stupid, didn’t pay attention, didn’t even finish watching the movie. They were actually upset with me for not getting the Barbie movie instead, that they’d rather watch a digitally animated doll brush her hair for 2 hours. Because of the increase in high definition, 3D and digital animation, and the decrease in attention spans, kids today actually believe that old movies equal bad movie. A true shame.
There’s a few intentions behind this post. To remind generation Y of our roots. To maybe inspire a throwback movie marathon in the upcoming future. To give me something fun to do while at work for the next 30 minutes. But most importantly the purpose is to answer a heated drunken debate had last night between me and five other 20 something’s:
What are the 10 best underrated movies of our generation, the ones that we’ve forgotten about? What are the hidden gems, the sleeper pics? The one’s that make you go “Oh yea! That one!”
But first, some ground rules because there are honestly too many choices.
Rule 1) It must be a KIDS movie. Remember that kid who just looooved to remind you how strict your parents were when it came to what movies they’d let you watch? There was always at least one kid who would pride him/herself on how much more mature they were than you because their parents would let them watch Titanic or Jurassic Park, or some other PG-13 or R Rated movie. Yea… all those movies don’t count on this list. Because not all of us were so lucky at 7 years old to have such enlightened parents who would let them watch movies with titty shots or movies with people getting graphically murdered. That kid can go kick rocks by the way – big fucking jagged sharp rocks. Okay cool, keep telling me how much I’m missing out because my dad won’t let me watch RoboCop. I’ll be over here sucking on my Eco-Cooler Hi-C planning on how hard I’m going to cheap-shot and cherry bomb your ass in four-square later. So for the sake of argument, let’s set a capped movie rating of PG. That pretty much eliminates all Jim Carey, Chris Farley, Eddie Murphy, and Adam Sandler movies. The point is to remember movies marketed towards children, not teenagers.
Rule 2) No obvious choices. The purpose is to name the best underrated/forgotten gems. So definitely no Disney Animated Classics (Little Mermaid, Aladdin, The Lion King, Toy Story, etc.). The point of this is to remember a movie you haven’t seen in forever, or maybe have never seen at all. If ABC family shows it 50 times a year it probably shouldn’t count. Because if this was about just naming the top 10, it would simply be this list:
But it’s not, so we’ll ignore these.
Rule 3) The movie must be released between 1980 and 2000. Technically, at least according to Wikipedia, that’s our Generation – ‘Generation Y’. My focus is going to be primarily between 1990 and 1995 though, but thats just my bias.
THE TOP TEN UNDERRATED/FORGOTTEN MOVIES FROM 1980-2000
10.) HOMEWARD BOUND (1993)
Free Willy came out in 1993 too apparently, but without a doubt Homeward Bound is simply the best animal related kids movie of all time. Michael J Fox in his prime playing the voice of Chance. Sassy made you love and hate cats at the same time. No need for crazy special effects, just great animal actors. I think this guy puts it best:
9.) HEAVYWEIGHTS (1995)
“Lunch has been cancelled today… due to lack of hustle.” One of Ben Stiller’s earliest films, and I’m still surprised when I meet a 90’s kid who has never seen this movie. Fat people are funny. It’s just a fact.
8.)FERN GULLY (1992)
A lot of people forgot about, or had never heard of Fern Gully… until Avatar hit theaters. Avatar is essentially a 3D Fern Gully with more special effects. It’s laughable how similar the two plots are. Robin Williams kills it as the bat, too.
7.) HONEY I SHRUNK THE KIDS (1989)
What ever happened to Rick Moranis? Dude was all over the place, in all kinds of good movies, then up and vanished like a fart in the wind. Shame… Honey I Shrunk The Kids is a classic, and was one of my all time favorites growing up. It has been far too long since the last time I’ve seen it. The sequels to it were good too, but the original was definitely the best. Plus damn, Amy was so hot.
6.) THE WITCHES (1990)
This movie scared the shit out of me as a kid. To this day I can remember having nightmares about meeting creepy old women turning me into a mouse.
5.) UNCLE BUCK (1989)
Before he was Kevin McCalister in Home Alone and before he was Richie Rich, and before he was a drugged out has-been loser in real life, Macaulay Culkin was Miles, the smart ass little kid in Uncle Buck. I think it might have even been his first full length feature movie.
4.) FIEVEL GOEST WEST (1991)
I burnt a hole in this VHS as a kid. A sequel that was better than the original. And with names like Jimmy Stewart, Dom DeLuise, John Cleese, and Jon Lovitz involved what’s there not to love?
3.) THE SECRET OF NIMH (1982)
The best Don Bluth movie out there. Period. A reminder of how dark some children’s movies used to be. They just don’t make em like this anymore, unfortunately.
2.) BLANK CHECK (1994)
Oh man was I jealous of Preston in Blank Check. At a time when I had to beg my mom to buy me Skittles, this little bastard became a millionaire, bailed on his parents, bought a mansion, bought every cool toy you could ever think of, built a water slide from the roof to his in-ground pool, and got to set up booby traps on bad guys Home Alone style. This movie literally had it all.
1.) THE LAND BEFORE TIME (1988)
No description necessary.
Air Bud (1997)
The movie that started a new genre of kids movies where animals played sports. To this day I’m positive every golden retriever is capable of shooting the 3 like Buddy. There have literally been over 10 Air Bud sequels though, which makes it kind of hard to call it “underrated” or “forgotten.” But come on – When was the last time you saw this movie? 1997?
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)
A classic. The bro-est of all heroes. I defy you to go to a halloween party anywhere without a group dressed like the Turtles. I didn’t see the new remake that came out a couple years ago, but it has to suck in comparison. Cowabunga!
The Phantom Tollbooth (1970)
One of my favorite books as a kid, and the movie was too, but it was too old to make the list.
Mary Kate and Ashley Movies (1992-2000)
Bitches loved Mary Kate and Ashley.
Power Rangers: The Movie (1995)
If you didn’t play Power Rangers growing up, then chances are you didn’t have any friends. Every guy wanted to be the Green Ranger, and every girl Pink. The TV show was the real inspiration, but in the end the movie sucked something awful.
Other mentions brought up in discussion included: The Pokemon movie, The Brave Little Toaster, Beetlejuice, 3 Ninjas, Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead, Harriet the Spy, Beethoven, The Borrowers, Milo and Otis, The Pebble and The Penguin, Runaway Ralph, Rock-a-Doodle, My Neighbor Tortoro, Earnest Goes to Wherever, Small Soldiers, Good Burger, and The Page Master.