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Movies You Loved When You Were A Kid But Would Never Watch Now

A child's favorite movie is a special thing. It is often watched obsessively, to the point that parents, babysitters, or older siblings have to hide the offending copy somewhere to get a break from repeat viewings. It informs the child of what good and evil look like, and helps them to realize why the former is worth choosing. It is reflected upon, years later, with fondness and fresh understanding of how it shaped the adult the child became. Nostalgia is inevitable, and often worth indulging — who doesn't love to revisit the art that shaped one's self, or even to share it with loved ones?

But not every movie beloved of children is a Pixar classic or a Studio Ghibli masterpiece. Often, in fact, kids grow attached to some truly awful cinematic failures. They don't notice the subpar acting or the cynical nature of the enterprise when there are favorite characters present, a song they want to listen to every hour or every day, or a tie-in to a beloved video game or YouTube character. It's fun! It's silly! It's got Mario in it! But kids grow up and tastes change, even ones that were once held fast to. Here's a look back at some movies you might have loved as a young one but should, under no circumstances, return to. Leave your memories untarnished and watch something new instead.

Everything by Video Brinquedo

We all live in the shadow of the Disney empire — it only makes sense that some seek to profit from it. But we're not talking about knockoff Mickey ears here. We're talking about full-scale, movie-length con jobs like the ones perpetrated by Brazilian studio Video Brinquedo. What does Video Brinquedo do? Make movies they hope your nearsighted grandma will confuse for a Disney property. There's Ratatoing, starring a rat with dreams of being a gourmet chef. There's What's Up, featuring a house lifted into the air by a giant balloon. There's The Little Cars, full of cars with faces that love to race. You get the idea. But even they have their fandom in children who don't know any better — who might even think they're watching the Disney film they're expecting. If they've never seen the original before and they're too young to notice cheap animation, they might even have a good time.

But past the age of five or so, the cracks in the veneer are unavoidably obvious. Many character designs, especially in the Little Cars series, are identical, separated only by swapped colors. Physics don't behave quite as they should. Hair moves in big chunky blocks of color. They're lazy, cheap, and depend entirely on consumers confusing them for something else — but you can't fool people forever, and kids grow up to discover the movies they thought they were watching are something else entirely.


Foodfight! Is a bizarre patchwork of a movie. It takes place in a supermarket full of living corporate mascots, called "ikes" in this universe, like Charlie the Starkist Tuna and Twinkie the Kid, plus a whole host of ones made up for the purposes of the film like protagonist and cereal icon Dex Dogtective. Voiced by Charlie Sheen, Dex is a strange combination of Indiana Jones, Casablanca's Rick Blaine, and, well, a golden retriever. He fights for the rights of besieged corporate figureheads everywhere — and to save his true love, a cat-eared raisin maven named Sunshine Goodness. He is joined by Dan, a chocolate-themed squirrel, menaced by the forces of the fiendishly generic Brand X, and ultimately saves the day by revealing the villainous Lady X as a revamped prune mascot.

If you're thinking Foodfight! sounds like an absolute nightmare of attempted sponsorship, laziness, and theft of ideas from vastly more popular films, you are exactly right. It's a genuine monstrosity that is funny only when it doesn't intend to be. But it's the kind of mayhem a kid can enjoy before they've grown up too much, when simply recognizing the Twinkie mascot is exciting, rather than a shallow cash grab. At best, Foodfight! is a fascinating trainwreck, a worst case scenario of mistakes and shortcuts that actually came true. At worst it's, well, a garish stew of everything the creators could throw into 87 minutes. Only one thing is consistent: its utter failure to achieve anything resembling coherence.


1982's bright-eyed adaptation of Annie, the classic story of a Depression orphan whisked off to a life of riches and ease, found favor with children of the era. As it's full of backflipping actors, catchy jingles about indoor swimming pools, and a life of fun and contentment, there's no mystery as to why. And indeed, Annie has a certain charm and energy that's hard to resist. Even if you absolutely hate the movie from beginning to end, there's still a significant chance you'll be humming "It's a Hard Knock Life" the next day. From its original incarnation as a monochrome newspaper strip, there's just something about Annie's infectious optimism that stays with you.

You might be tempted, as a result, to revisit it in your adulthood. But when you watch Annie with adult eyes, the flaws leap out: lopsided pacing, wooden acting, and a certain vulgarity that's hard to take. Annie should come served with a heaping side of wish fulfillment, sure, but there's a gleeful consumerism to the enterprise that's taken to almost grotesque heights. You can't help thinking about all the kids who don't end up as lucky as Annie — but the movie doesn't expect you to think that deeply. It turns out, most damningly of all, that if you're not a kid eager for the glitter of Annie's world, it's also... well, a little boring. Annie is fun for the little ones, but insulting to anyone older.

Fred: The Movie

There was a time when Fred Figglehorn, one of the first major YouTube personalities, ruled the playground. His childish wardrobe, gratingly high voice, and hyperactive style gave rise to an empire that culminated in Fred: The Movie, and, ultimately, an entirely new kind of celebrity. Fred helped usher in the era of online cooking shows, comedy stars, and educational entertainers that currently rule our online lives without the interference of traditional network intermediaries. Fred, in his way, changed the world.

But don't let that fool you into thinking he's worth revisiting. Today's teenagers would likely blush to remember how much they loved him, but those of us who were already adults during his rise always knew how awful he was. Fred's shtick is even more unbearable when stretched to a theatrical runtime. His trademark shriek is barely tolerable when confined to short sketches, but to endure it over and over again could be used as a new form of torture. Take it from us: remember the laughs Fred brought you as a child, thank him for the way he changed media, and leave him in the past, where he belongs.

The Country Bears

It's hard to remember now, but Pirates of the Caribbean was never supposed to be the mammoth success it became. For one, it's based off a theme park ride — and compared to the some of the attractions at Disney parks, a fairly sedate one. For another, the first installment was preceded by The Country Bears: also based off a Disney park ride, also heralding tremendous innovations in filmmaking technology, and yet a total and complete flop.

If you're a kid, the lesser aspects of The Country Bears aren't as obvious. It's got big humanoid bears in funny outfits! It's got fun music! There are lots of puns on the word " bear" and half of them aren't terrible! Plus, if you were a kid lucky enough to visit the ride in person, you got to experience the world of the movie from the inside in a bit of synergy that was then largely unexplored and still innovative. But oh, what a creaky mess The Country Bears is. Whatever charm a kid can find in it is groanworthy to an adult, the whole enterprise amounting to not much more than a soulless attempt at theme park marketing. It's cheesy, dull, and frankly, weird. It'd take another year and a whole lot of Johnny Depp in eyeliner to erase its stain from the world of Disney live-action fare.

Batman & Robin

Joel Schumacher's Batman movies are legendarily controversial. Fans decry his camp take on the Dark Knight, the anatomically detailed batsuit, and the puns — oh, the avalanche of puns. But if you were the right age to see them, you very well might have loved what you saw. Batman and Robin fighting bad guys wearing neon wigs! Arnold Schwarzenegger wielding a giant freeze gun and lots of ice-themed jokes! Batgirl emerging from dramatic clouds of back alley fog! It is, essentially, a live-action cartoon, and kids do love a cartoon — the wackier the better.

But it's not just the hardcore cape-and-cowl fans that dislike Shumacher — it's most everyone over the age of 12. Upon revisiting his take on Gotham City, one realizes that these movies fail even as goofy, over-the-top fun. They're caught in a bizarre no-man's-land of gleefully nonsensical and simply lazy, as though the team behind them turned to goofiness because they couldn't think of what else to do past a certain point. If one is looking for a campy Batman, one is much better off turning to the classic 1966 Batman television series. Leave the rubber batsuits and Batman-themed credit cards in the 1990s where they belong.

Super Mario Bros.

Nintendo is a cultural institution few remain unconnected to. You need not be a hardcore gamer to have some familiarity with their properties, whether it's The Legend of Zelda, Pokemon, or most probably, Mario and his merry band of plumbers, turtles, and sentient toadstools. His is a cheery world in which the bad guys get beat, the princesses get saved, and brothers with a willingness to dive into mysterious green pipes can save the day. It's really no surprise there's a Mario movie — only that it managed to sidestep every ounce of charm the Mario series contains. 

 If you're under the age of 10 or so, you can remain ignorant of this. The sheer joy of seeing one's video game heroes on the silver screen counts for a lot when you're too young to have become jaded to that experience. But to an adult — well, there's a reason an entire generation has passed since this movie without seeing a sequel, or even one in the same vein. It is truly, legendarily terrible, an absolute stinker of poor acting and a nonsensical plot. If you're feeling nostalgic for the man in the blue overalls, take it from us: play a Mario game instead of revisiting the Mario movie.

The Legend of the Titanic

Titanic is still one of the biggest movies of all time, and its effects on popular culture, cinema, and perceptions of the historical disaster it portrays ripple to this day. Some are expected — it launched Leonardo DiCaprio's career into the stratosphere and made it possible for James Cameron to make something as ambitious and costly as Avatar — while some are... not. Enter The Legend of the Titanic, an Italian animated movie from 1999 about a romance on the doomed ship between a wealthy young woman and a good-hearted pauper. And also a giant, friendly, anthropomorphic octopus named Tentacles who saves everyone from dying during the sinking of the ship. The sinking which was, in this adaptation, caused by a gang of thuggish sharks. Also, there are magical moonbeams that allow dolphins to talk to humans. And have we mentioned that the entire story is narrated by a mouse?

But kids can love even the most ludicrous trainwrecks around. Tentacles the savior octopus might be ridiculous, but he's got a cute little button nose and huggable arms. The romance at the heart of the movie is gauzy and instantaneous in a way kids can understand. And who wants to feel "too little" for something, especially a cultural event as huge as Titanic? The Legend of the Titanic works for the young ones — but anyone else will find little to love in its oddball stew of historical tragedy and cartoon hijinks.

From Justin to Kelly

American Idol is still a major part of popular culture — it has, in fact, spawned an entire genre of talent competition shows, from The Voice to America's Got Talent. When it began, however, it consumed the world's attention in a frenzy of speculation, album deals, and classic reality show drama that hasn't been equaled. Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guarini were omnipresent figures, their rags-to-riches stories irresistible, to say nothing of their abilities to belt out classics to the masses. The passion for them, separately and together, could not be denied. Enter From Justin to Kelly, a fictionalized romance even Kelly Clarkson has admitted to hating.

A teenager caught up in the excitement of the era could be forgiven for enjoying From Justin to Kelly's frothy take on teen cliches, including spring break, charming busboys, and all manner of beach shenanigans. Adults, however, will quickly understand why it's considered one of the worst movies ever made. It's not just lazily dependent on its stars' TV fame — it's plain old lazy. The cast seems half-asleep as they make their way from scene to scene, knowing as fully as the audience what a clunker of a cash-in they're in. Justin Guarini and Kelly Clarkson are plenty talented as singers — this movie just proves they didn't need to expand to the world of teen flicks. But when all the world as singing "A Moment Like This," who were media executives to deny themselves a lucrative tie-in?

Every Disney direct-to-video sequel

Imagine yourself as you were before adulthood made you cynical. You were young. You had a favorite Disney movie. You watched it over and over again, to the point where you could recite it line for line and your parents were considering hiding the tape. Then, to your joy and astonishment, you discovered that there was more to the story. There was a Mulan 2! A Cinderella 3! A sequel to everything from The Hunchback of Notre Dame to The Little Mermaid! You didn't care if the directors were different or the budget reduced. You were just happy to gobble up more, more, more of your favorite characters doing their thing.

Now, not every direct-to-DVD Disney sequel is downright terrible: the Aladdin trilogy stands up pretty well to revisiting, and there are some memorable songs in Mulan 2. By and large, however, the Disney sequels are obvious cash grabs to grown-up eyes — and often just plain weird. Did the world really need to see Quasimodo find a girlfriend? Was it a great idea to introduce the world to a Disney-fied version of the marriage that would ultimately lead to Pocahontas' death at 21? Disney magic is thin on the ground in these sequels and often missing entirely. If you're looking for your princess fix, stick to the originals.

Pokemon: The First Movie

Pokemon has long since proved it's more than a kiddie fad. From the games to the anime to the Detective Pikachu movie in which Deadpool's own Ryan Reynolds plays the beloved title character, Pokemon continues to rule the imagination of the young and the young at heart. But in the 1990s, it was new and confusing to the many parents who lived in its shadow and were, inevitably, dragged along to screenings of Pokemon: The First Movie. Why were only a few Pokemon able to talk? How come everyone wanted to get their hands on Ash's Pikachu? Their charges found something exciting in the morass of chattering characters and excitable tween protagonists, but it eluded anyone over 14.

There's good reason for that: It's not good. Pokemon: The First Movie is great fun if you're a kid with Pikachu fever, but the maudlin lessons and shockingly stiff animation lose their magic once puberty dawns. It's hard not to giggle at the Pokemon's tears reviving Ash's petrified body — harder still when Mewtwo, with his oddly pompous voice, talks gravely about having learned a valuable lesson in tolerance. Let it be a lesson: if you want to revisit Pokemon as an adult, stick to the games.