As a parent, navigating your child’s teenage years can be a daunting task. No longer a kid, but still not a hormonal kid clamoring for independence, a brief but awkward period that affected just about everything, including movie night. While you, this happy little fellow, used to be content with all the loud and colorful things, now they’re getting more and more pretentious. At the same time, they’re not so eager to prove their maturity that they need a legal thriller or a businessman’s ivory costume drama. So how do you choose the right movies to please all audiences?
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Don’t despair. We are here to help. We’ve rounded up 36 films that almost seem to target lasers designed to blow up the pleasure center of anyone between the ages of 10 and 12. The good news is that most of the things that work for this demographic are things you loved growing up, from ’80s blockbusters to goofy comedies to adventure movies to films about young love and growing up struggles. Wear one of these and you’ll be a hero for at least one night.
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Start an evening of witchcraft and wizardry with the opening story of the beloved Harry Potter series. When a young boy learns his true identity and magical powers, he quickly finds himself on Platform 9 3/4 on his way to Hogwarts, a boarding school like no other. Adventure awaits our new budding wizard.
An instant animation classic, the team behind Netflix’s hit “Into the Spider-Verse” is part road trip comedy and part apocalyptic sci-fi action, and it’s all very entertaining. It’s also a visually stunning and engaging family movie
The generation gap between the front and rear seats of the Mitchell station wagon, seeking sympathy for the online generation and adults struggling to forge more analog connections with their children. Add in a pair of adorable robots, a squishy dog and a sentient smartphone voiced by Olivia Colman, and you really have something for everyone. Rated PG.
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The ’90s classic follows a group of young girls who want to turn their babysitting jobs into a legitimate summer camp, but one grumpy old neighbor is determined to stop that from happening. Along the way, there were family issues, health scares, and of course, smashes.
Played one of the least exciting games – chess – and turned it into the basis of a winning underdog story. Centered on the true story of a Ugandan teenager’s rise from the slums to the World Chess Olympiad, and featuring a solid turn by David Oyelowo and Lupita Nyong’o, this is essentially a movie about lost for the bishop. Ball sports movie.
Goonies never say die, and neither does the Richard Donner-directed, Steven Spielberg-produced gem. This 1980s comedy follows young people who embark on an adventure to save their home from foreclosure. Overzealous leader Mikey convinces his friends that finding One-Eyed Willie’s treasure is a good way to protect their roots, but their quest for jewelry is extremely dangerous…especially when the Fratelli crime family catches up!
We are all nannies; some of us have a little nannies. Luckily (or unfortunately) nothing has ever happened as ugly as Chris Columbus’s 1980s cult comedy, in which Elizabeth Shook’s child-welfare expert exposes her youthful accusations to a series of dangers in Chicago. Not dinner, some TV, and beds, but gangsters, blues clubs, and a date with Thor (played by the full-bodied Vincent D’Onofrio). Technically, that could make the faint but adorable cape part of the MCU.
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High school was never without its challenges – mean girls, unrequited love, misery to name a few. But what happens when a teenage normal turns into royalty? In Meg Cabot’s acclaimed YA story, Anne Hathaway stars as Mia Thermopolis, who finds herself the princess of Genoa…and has a nasty grandmother who has some tricks up her sleeve . How a teenage girl will deal with a new title, learn about her late father’s past, and, you know, drive that Mustang up a mountain in a downpour (another high school horror story).
In this Disney retelling of the 1976 classic, a punk-rock teen (Lindsay Lohan) and a grumpy mother (Jamie Lee Curtis) can’t seem to agree…until a bizarre scene Force them to change your body. Can they see the good in each other and, most importantly, return? obviously. But both stars had a great time playing two separate branches of the same family tree.
Netflix dropped the high school romantic comedy in 2018. It’s the story of 16-year-old Lara Jean Song Covey (Lana Condor) who writes (but doesn’t publish) five of her crushes, who they’ll never know about…until one day they do. terrifying event. Yet, out of the ashes of this social catastrophe, something sweet, funny and profound has emerged. watch it, then watch the sequel
In Robert Zemeckis’ Eternal Adventure, the only one who grows old is Huey Lewis. With Michael J. Fox’s composure and Christopher Lloyd being more “brainless” than any cartoon character, everything else still looks as fresh as it was the day it was released. Get ready to answer some potential questions about Marty’s mother falling in love with her son.
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Jenna longs for adulthood, but when she magically finds herself graduating from junior high school and turning 30, she discovers that navigating the murky waters of the adult world isn’t as easy as it seems. Basically a gender-swapped version
, Garner is an absolute blast for Tom Hanks, and Mark Ruffalo matches her now-adult childhood friend.
Louis Sacher’s best-selling film about a wrongly convicted young boy who must either go to jail or work in a camp. He chose the latter and was forced to dig a hole in the desert under the guidance of an overseer who had an idea: buried treasure.
Doubles as a special effects adventurer with a slight scary and plenty of kid-friendly adventures. Sure, it’s a bit dated, but it’s still the perfect Saturday matinee yarn…or a double feature for a reboot starring Dwayne Johnson.
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Ridiculously charming, with endless quotes (“My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die!”) and utterly timeless, it’s impossible to resist this incredible quest for princesses, farm workers and vengeance romantic. In the spirit of all good fairy tales, this is about the most dreamy and escapist love. A timeless mood enhancer – like it’s adapted from William Goldman’s book.
How can one expect Ferris Buhler to sit at school on such a beautiful day in Chicago? He couldn’t, so he pretended to be sick so he could play truancy – which was pointless to the teenager. Accompanied by his best friend and a girl, Ferris gets into a series of crazy predicaments that have kept audiences laughing since 1986. We never hear “Twist and Shout” and feel compelled to yell “Get off!”
Nick and Liz decide to part ways, but the twin girls (both played by Lindsay Lohan in her breakout role) get caught up in a nasty breakup. As a result, every parent wants a child and disappears into nothingness. But almost 12 years later, the girls are unwittingly sent to the same camp, where they discover their significant other and come up with a plan to reunite their parents “face-to-face”. Their “nice trick”? To change place. Can Annie and Hallie handle this transition seamlessly, or will the sleek and crafty Meredith Blake throw some hurdles? If you’ve seen Hayley Mills’ 1961 original, you already know that…but that doesn’t make it any less interesting.
Sam’s anonymous correspondence with a man makes her evil stepmother’s antics more bearable. When she agrees to meet her estranged friend at a school dance, she lashes out at her discovery, typical of a teenage girl. You know that story. But it’s all in the details, and they’re fantastic here.
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Was a YA sensation who broke down in tears at book club meetings and movie outings. Hazel and Gus — two teenagers with cancer — were to blame. They met in a support group and started a romance, but their relationship was threatened with relapse. Even adults will appreciate this emotional story by John Green.
On Netflix, you haven’t seen the movie behind it, and you’re in for a treat. Daniel is a high school student who is bullied by a group of bullies. He’s certainly no match for the students of the Cobra Repost…until he teamed up with Mr. Miyagi and showed these tough guys what he could do.
Would you trust your younger siblings to keep secrets? Elliott will. When he discovered aliens, he
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