When I was young, my parents worked opposite schedules so I wouldn’t need a baby-sitter. I could get into how much I admire the sacrifice they made in their lives during those years, but that’s not the point of this post. Suffice it to say that they were, and still are, fantastic parents. During those first couple of years, my poor father learned every line to “The Little Mermaid,” which often put me to sleep at the end of his “take care of the daughter” shift.
Politics and other “real life” issues aren’t part of this blog*. For those who do not know me personally, though, I think it’s important to note that I am the sort of person to hate Disney. I can see myself being that person who complains about Ariel giving up her voice for a man and wooing him with her “body language.”
But I won’t. Because I still love it.
Look, I’m an introvert. I love my job. I love working with my team and my outside contacts. As an introvert, however, I need time to recharge. While blogging and writing make me happy, they also feel like work to me. It’s one of the reasons you’ll notice my posts increased while I was on vacation – I felt like I had the charge to work on this blog. During normal life, I occasionally need the quiet evening at home to reset.
Neflix is occasionally my best friend. My husband and I like to make cheap at-home dates of watching a new show or movie. When we’re finding that we’re both a little more tired on a Sunday evening than normal, or gosh darn it, it was a long Wednesday this week, we reach for a feel-good movie. Enter the animation.
Children’s movies, Pixar films in particular, have a definite formula: Meet a weak character. Watch character fail. Watch character grow against a challenge. Watch the character’s weaknesses become strength. Watch the little guy win.
You know what? Who doesn’t like an underdog? I’m fully aware that my emotions are being manipulated, and I’m okay with it. Because things like this love story make me happy:
I can’t tell you how many parents I’ve met who have told me that they love having the excuse to watch children’s movies again now that they have kids. Maybe I’m immature, but like I said, why not watch something that makes you happy? Besides, plenty of children’s material contains great content that adults can enjoy as well. Tonight, we began looking through our movies, and somehow, Wall-E ended up in the Xbox. That got me thinking about my favorite stories for kids that I enjoy as an adult. I’m going to list my top 5, recognizing that those top 5 are probably different any given week.
5. Despicable Me: We’ll begin with something light. The Despicable Me movies are the definition of fun and happy for me. They’re also arguably the most childish on this list. Sometimes I want to giggle, and a minion is good for that. Reserved for the conclusion of long, busy weekends with too much travelling to see in-laws in faraway places, the Despicable Me movies begin this list. On a side note, I once ordered minion hats on Etsy and they never arrived. Pro tip: Don’t let the Etsy seller talk you into allowing too more time, because Pay Pal only let’s you open disputes for a short while after purchase.
4. Up: If the first 10 minutes of Up fail to get any adult right in the feels, then I’m not sure I want to know that adult. It may not be the most detailed story, Ellie and Carl’s story is real. They’re two people who begin their lives together with dreams, and as they grow, they have to make choices that don’t always align with those dreams. They also find their dreams evolving with growth. I love Carl’s journey in moving on with this life after trying to complete that big goal. Perfect for when I feel like a nice pick-up from any kind of real-life emotion.
3. How to Train Your Dragon: We’re obviously a little into the How to Train Your Dragon movies right now. I love it for the cliche reason: Underdog proves himself and changes the world. Plus, Toothless is the perfect combination of dog and cat in an adorable dragon form. All sorts of smiles from that. The second movie got me in particular, because I was amazed that it introduce kids to a different perspective on violence: It should be avoided at all costs. Communication and reason are are strongest tools, but sometimes, we do have to make the difficult decision to fight for what’s right. Not everyone has a warm fuzzy soul that can be triggered with the right words. It’s probably good that we let my mother-in-law borrow the first movie, or we probably would burn ourselves out on it and not watch any “grown-up” movies for awhile.
2. Toy Story: Admittedly the only franchise to make the list that began while I was a kid. The first movie is a good trip to my childhood. I saw the third while I was alone travelling in London. It had premiered in the US a month before, and it was killing me that my friends and family at home had seen it. I stood outside a theater during the London premiere, and I was in that theater as soon as tickets were sold, crying along with a room full of adults as we watched toys we’d known in our youth face their death. Okay, I also cried when Andy played with his toys one last time. We all move on, like Andy did, but those throw-backs to our childhood can can bring us joy, just like that last adventure with his toys did for Andy.
1. Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra. The only TV shows to make my list. The original series and the discussion of Korra had a lot to do with the beginning of my relationship with my husband, so they’re obviously pretty close to my heart. Also different about this item on the list is that these aren’t feel-good stories for me: Korra is currently my new-episodes-on-Fridays obsession. Aang and Korra’s stories repeatedly show flawed characters whose plans don’t always work, and who often make more trouble for themselves while trying to do right. If you read the reviews, you’ll find that we’re not the only adults who love this universe.
What are other people’s feel good movies? I admit mine aren’t all made for kids. I have my guilty pleasure list of chick flicks that I don’t like to admit I watch as well. It’s probably worth some consideration that I’m more willing to share the kid’s movies than those…
*It’s also one of the reasons that I write semi-anonymously. Obviously it’s not too anonymous considering my name is in the URL, but I don’t flaunt this still-new website. I don’t post it on Facebook. I don’t post pictures of myself on it, just to leave that shadow of a doubt. Conflict isn’t necessarily something to be avoided, but I can tell you that I have some relatives who would take offense to my love of children’s movies. If I saw those people frequently, sure, I’d be happy to discuss it with them. But who wants to argue about the value/harm of children’s movies with someone you only see once a year? I’d much rather hear about their lives, not about how Ariel damages their children.