I have two young daughters aged 5 & 7, who, after a lot of hinting from Daddy, are taking a keen interest in films and are growing up to be excellent little cinephiles in their own right.
2014 was their biggest cinematic year so far and saw them both break out from traditional children’s animated films and start to embrace a wider and more diverse selection of titles.
Each weekend we try and do a secret cinema evening, during which their ban on entering ‘the parents room’ is temporarily lifted and they are able to snuggle up to Daddy to watch a new film on ‘the big television’. It is through these evenings that you can really see the magical and timeless nature of cinema in full flow. Watching their faces captivated by what is on the screen has led to some cherished childhood moments and I hope formed memories that will linger in their minds as they grow older.
The screenings have been more adhoc than pre-planned, taking in everything from The Wizard of Oz to Back to the Future. One thing I hope to do for 2015 is plot out a more structured programme for them to follow, perhaps cherry picking from the BFI list of 50 films children should see before they are 14.
At this young age their brains are like sponges, keen to soak up everything in front of them, so as far as they are concerned everything has been good. In fact there hasn’t been a film they claim to have not liked, but then again I haven’t showed them anything bad, maybe I should to see what happens? I have also often wondered if their favourable responses were simply to appease Daddy, but have been gratified by observing what they choose to watch on ‘the children’s television’ or their iPad when Daddy is not around to maintain quality control.
I am pleased to report that the following films have survived the transition from ‘the big television’ to the ‘the children’s television’ and been on pretty heavy rotation over the last year, fighting it out with some more recent releases:
Bedknobs and Broomsticks
The Wizard of Oz
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factor
All three original Star Wars, but Jedi wins out as ‘it has the space teddies in it’
Superman I & II
Back to the Future I & II
The Last Starfighter (the current favourite)
Disney Classics – The Jungle Book, Aladdin, Alice in Wonderland, Sleeping Beauty & Cinderella
Honey I Shrunk the Kids
The Iron Giant
The Potential Disappointments
As I mentioned earlier, both of them claim to like everything, but the only film that I got a sense of not quite working was the first two thirds of Home Alone. They both seemed to enjoy it, but were restless. I wonder though if this was because I built it up too much by saying how funny it was, when the slapstick humour only really kicks in for the final act. However when the final act did arrive, they were in fits of laughter and now when they see the film as whole, they really appreciate it.
Its not all been classics at home though with both girls clocking up just over a dozen 2014 releases at the cinema and my eldest has even had a go at her first top ten of the year; next time on Malone on Movies (still can’t get Serial out of my head….)