They Matter – 20 Great Family Movies

While I in no way would condone NOT listening to Dave Karger talk family movies on the podcast episode Family Movie Night Solved, we at Dads on Doody know that you are busy parents and may simply need a movie suggestion without the hassle of iTunes.  So, below is the list.  Reward my kindness by sharing this post and giving us a listen the next time you have 30 minutes in the car.  Deal?

Dave is an awesome guy.  We went to college together.  In fact, I have Dave to thank for any semblance of a social life that I did have at college.  Dave, who was a year ahead of me, was part of the selection committee for a living group called Maxwell House.  Maxwell House is essentially a co-ed fraternity (or co-ed sorority, depending on your perspective), without any of the campus street cred of a normal fraternity or sorority.  At least we were nice?

Dave has gone on to do cool stuff with his life.  When I say cool, I mean two thumbs up cool…literally.  He’s been on that two thumbs show, and his actual thumb can be seen on DVD cases.  He’s THE resident movie expert for TODAY, hangs out on the Oscar’s red carpet, hosts Access Hollywood, writes for Entertainment Weekly, etc.  Lego made a mini figure of him.  No shit.  You get the point.

We asked Dave to come up with a list of 20 epic family movies:  10 for the little ones (G-PG) and 10 for the young adults (PG-PG13).  All of them are intended for family movie night, meaning they are GREAT movies that you are supposed to watch TOGETHER as a family.  As Dave said on the podcast, “These aren’t Doc McStuffins, don’t press play and leave the room”.  Thank God.  The giant heads on Doc and friends make me nauseous for some reason.

I told Dave to push us.  In other words, yes, The Lion King is a logical choice for a list of excellent family movies, but “no duh”.  He also limited the list to his lifetime.  Apologies to The Guns of Navarone.

Without further adieu, 20 great family movies, with side commentary from moi…


10.  Pee Wee’s Big Adventure

Forgot all about this movie, watching it this Friday night though.  Paul Reubens’ “work” in live theater unfortunately overshadowed his brilliance as a comedian and actor.  Forgive the man.  Now.

9.  Enchanted

I’ve always liked Amy Adams.  Dave knows her, says she’s even better as a person than an actress.  Double bonus!

8.  The Goonies

I have shown this one to my kids, and can certify it was a huge hit.  Baby Ruth!

7.  Legally Blond

This one caught me off guard.  I told my my 8-year-old daughter it was on the list.  She promptly replied that she had seen some of it this past summer and it was “hilarious”.  Boom.

6.  Toy Story 2

The first Toy Story is apparently pissed at Dave for this choice.  Get over it, Toy Story 1.  He still thinks that the Toy Story franchise is the Muhammad Ali of children’s animated films.  G.O.A.T.

5.  Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Wouldn’t have thought of this one, but I should have.  I’ll show it to my kids, and pray that they don’t decide to take the Ferarri I keep in the living room for a joy ride this weekend.

4.  The Rookie

Haven’t seen this one, but it sounds like it could be just what I need to keep my waning hopes of a professional sports career alive.  Plus, even crappy sports movies somehow satisfy.

3.  Paddington

Chris didn’t know who Paddington was, but he grew up in the  back woods of Texas.  My Northeast (blue) blood is well acquainted with the bear.  We both need to get acquainted with this movie, regardless of our Pilgrim lineage.

2.  Babe

Hey, Tin Man.  If you don’t want your kids to see you cry/rust, don’t watch this one.  Otherwise, get out the tissues.  An absolute barnyard classic.

1.  The Lego Movie

Everything IS indeed awesome, especially this list.  One question though, “Have you seen my…PANTS???”  Seriously.  None of us should be walking around in just a shirt anymore.  Even you, Tom Cruise.

family movies

Dave Karger, in Lego character format.


10.  Hairspray

I liked Grease growing up, but mainly because of the swearing in the title track.  Maybe Hairspray is the Grease for a new generation?

9.  Stand By Me

Man, what a great movie.  My wife already watched this with our oldest daughter and it left an impact, and I’m not just talking about the stains from the Barf-O-Rama we had in the minivan this summer.

8.  Apollo 13

Space travel is cool, and as Dave says, we’re not doing much anymore.  Speak for yourself, pal.  I space out all the time.

7.  Clueless

Who doesn’t love Alicia Silverstone?  Admit it, you love her.  I actually dated her for a little while when I was in Aerosmith.

6.  Groundhog Day

Your kids need to meet Bill Murray.  This is a great place to make that intro, again and again and again and again…

5.  Poltergeist

I soiled myself in the studio when Dave told us this was on this list.  Luckily, Chris hasn’t lost his diaper changing skills just yet.

4.  Sixteen Candles

None of us guys will ever be as hot as Jake.  I heard he got fat and zitty though.  Or maybe I didn’t.

3.  Brooklyn

Dave declared this teen romance his favorite movie of 2015.  As someone who has little experience in the teen romance department, I waive my rights to any legitimate commentary.  Maybe I’ll watch it and then go find a time machine.  Doc Brown?

2.  Say Anything

There are a few songs that I’m good at singing.  “In Your Eyes” is not one of them.  The range in the chorus stretches me.  And of course, the scene at the gas station where the dudes are complaining about girls?  LOL.

1.  The Breakfast Club

This should be required viewing for anyone entering high school in America.  After the viewing, a government authority could apply Trump’s extreme vetting process.  Those who don’t like the film would immediately be sent to Canada, where they would be forced to work at a Tim Hortons until changing their mind.


Why are these great movies?  According to Dave, you want unique characters, quotable lines, an interesting story and a lesson or two to take away.  Check, check, check and check yourself before you wreck yourself.

Schedule your next, or maybe your first, family movie night.  Line up one of Dave’s suggestions.  You can’t go wrong with any of them.  Afterwards, talk about what you saw, maybe over a family dinner?  Quote your favorite characters.  Laugh together.  Cry together.  Great movies make us feel and draw us closer.

In our confusing and complex world, we could all benefit from getting lost in an amazing story for a few hours.  Throw in some lessons for the family in the process?  I’ll take 20 of those.  Please share this post with your friends and family if you agree!

Dave, thanks for the thoughtful list of family movies.  What started as a favor to an old friend will probably impact more lives than either of us could have imagined.