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75 Most Underrated Family Movies You Need To Watch

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For many, watching movies is a favorite activity that families enjoy together, especially when they don't have the time or luxury to go on vacations or do other activities that require so much effort. For busy members of the family, spending time with their loved ones at home and watching movies in the comfort of their pajamas is already enough of a big relief.

Whether you're watching with family members or you're alone, family movies can be the ultimate comfort genre. These are the types of films that can feel good for the heart and soul, especially when you just want to temporarily escape from reality. However, if you're prone to having frequent family movie nights, they can turn stale and boring if you've run out of movies to choose from and find yourself just rewatching popular or mainstream films that you've seen a million times.

Don't worry though, because we've got you covered. We have gathered 75 family-friendly movies that you might not have heard of or perhaps saw long ago, and have since forgotten over the years. Ranging from inspirational dramas to animated comedies to fantasy adventures and to action-filled movies, the underrated titles listed below all deserve recognition for their entertaining aspects that people of all ages can enjoy.

A Boy Called Christmas

"A Boy Called Christmas" is a British fantasy film that begins during Christmas Eve, when three kids are left in the care of their Aunt Ruth. Following the death of their mother, the three children are all feeling unhappy and disheartened. So, Aunt Ruth tries to lift their spirits up with an old Christmas story about 13-year-old boy Nikolas (Henry Lawfull), who lives in the forest with his father Joel (Michiel Huisman). When the King announces that a reward will be given to whoever finds a new symbol of hope for the kingdom, Joel decides to take up the challenge, so he can give his son a better life. Joel sets out to find Elfhelm, a secret, mythical elf village, which he thinks can be the new sign of hope, and he leaves Nikolas behind. However, when Nikolas stumbles upon a map of Elfhelm, he decides to go after his father to give him the map and help him find this magical place. With only a talking mouse and a headstrong reindeer to keep him company, Nikolas bravely sets off on his own magical adventure, venturing out into the dangerous and cold snowy north.

This 2021 film is definitely a holiday classic in the making, and many critics seem to agree based on its high Rotten Tomatoes score. It has everything one could want in a family or holiday film: a whimsical storyline, entertaining characters, action, and heartfelt scenes that will leave viewers with some holiday wisdom. The all-star cast features Dam Maggie Smith as the voice of Aunt Ruth, who's joined by acclaimed stars like Sally Hawkins, Kristen Wiig, Toby Jones, Stephen Merchant, and Jim Broadbent.

A Dog's Purpose

After lending his voice to Olaf in the massively popular animated film "Frozen," Josh Gad voiced another sweet, huggable, and curious character in the comedy-drama adventure "A Dog's Purpose." Gad plays Bailey, a loyal and devoted dog, who forms an incredible and unbreakable bond with Ethan, whose younger self is portrayed by "Riverdale" star KJ Apa and older self by Dennis Quad. 

"A Dog's Purpose" introduces us to Bailey, a Red Retriever who's left locked inside a truck without ventilation. Bailey is on the verge of dying from heatstroke, when he gets rescued by an 8-year-old Ethan. From then on, Bailey and Ethan are inseparable, and Bailey realizes that loving and protecting Ethan is his true purpose in life. Bailey and Ethan both grow older together, with Bailey reaching the end of his life just as Ethan hits adulthood.

Here's where a magical aspect comes in, as Bailey then gets reincarnated as another dog. He still has memories of his past lives, as he gets reborn repeatedly as different dogs, who embarks on different adventures across the country with his new owners. Some are sweet and caring, while some are neglectful. He keeps on being reincarnated until he finds his way back to his true home with Ethan.

Despite not being a critical darling, the film does have a decent audience score rating on Rotten Tomatoes. This charming dramedy from 2017 offers a more grounded storyline, but still retains that magical element to it in regards to its interesting perspective on the afterlife.

Adventures in Babysitting

Before gaining recognition in the 1990s for directing blockbusters like "Home Alone," "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York," and "Mrs. Doubtfire," Chris Columbus made his feature directorial debut with "Adventures in Babysitting." The 1987 teen comedy was led by '80s icon and eventual Oscar nominee Elisabeth Shue

After her boyfriend cancels their anniversary date, 17-year-old Chris (Shue) reluctantly agrees to babysit the Andersons' 8-year-old Thor-obsessed daughter, Sarah (Maia Brewton). A night that was supposed to be quiet and boring turns chaotic when Chris receives a frantic call from her best friend Brenda (Penelope Ann Miller), who tells her that she's currently in danger. 

She intends to rescue her alone, but Sarah's 15-year-old brother Brad (Keith Coogan) insists on joining her, along with his friend Daryl (Anthony Rapp) and his baby sister. What comes next is a series of mishaps involving a flat tire, disgruntled tow truck driver, gang of car thieves, short trip to the hospital, frat party, and more, all of which happen in one wild night.

This is a classic fun adventure film that often gets lost in the conversation when people talk about their favorite movies from the 1980s. Shue delivers a strong performance as Chris, who must face her biggest babysitting challenge yet. It also features appearances from future "West Wing" star Bradley Whitford, as well as a young Vincent D'Onofrio, who seems to have manifested his bright Marvel future by portraying a Thor look-alike in this classic teen movie.

Akeelah and the Bee

In order to avoid getting detention, 11-year-old Akeelah Anderson (Keke Palmer) is forced to join her school's spelling bee, which she wins. She shocks everyone with this hidden talent, including English professor Dr. Larabee (Laurence Fishburne). Impressed by her spelling skills, Dr. Larabee sees her potential and believes she can compete in the National Spelling Bee. However, due to Akeelah's initial rude and nonchalant attitude, he refuses to become her coach. But because of Akeelah's perseverance, he eventually agrees on the condition that she starts being unafraid of what she can do and accomplish. With the help and overwhelming support of her community and family, Akeelah finds the strength  to overcome the challenges and stigmas that might hold her back from becoming a Spelling Bee champion. 

"Akeelah and the Bee" is a coming-of-age drama, which hails from writer and director Doug Atchison, who developed the project for more than 10 years (via Student Life). It features the ever-so-talented Keke Palmer in her breakthrough performance as the titular character. Even at this young age, Palmer showcases her natural talent, as she effortlessly plays opposite acclaimed stars like Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett. This is an inspirational movie about self-perception, empowerment, race, social class, stereotypes, and the importance of community. Despite receiving positive reviews from both critics and audiences, sadly, the film wasn't able to garner enough attention to become a box-office hit like critics predicted it to be

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Loosely based on Judith Viorst's 1972 children's novel, "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" centers around an under-appreciated 11-year-old kid (Ed Oxenbould), who is having the worst day of his life — from getting a gum stuck in his hair, to accidentally setting his crush's notebook on fire, to learning that his best friend isn't going to his birthday party, Alexander's day is just getting worse and worse. As he tries to seek comfort from his family by telling them about his bad day, Alexander gets more upset because no one even tries to listen to him. On the eve of his 12th birthday, he wishes that his family would finally understand what he's going through. What comes next is a series of misadventures following Alexander's parents and siblings, who are each having the worst time ever on a very important day of their lives.

This is a feel-good family comedy featuring a hilarious and talented cast that includes Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner. Don't let its mixed critical reviews get in your way of enjoying the film, as it has an entertaining, fun, and heartwarming storyline that's perfect for family movie nights. If anything, it's worth checking out for its awesome Dick Van Dyke cameo.


"Antz" is an adventure comedy about Z, an anxious worker ant, who believes that there's more to his life than conforming to the colony's communal system. One night, while sitting alone at the bar, Z falls in love at first sight with Bala, an enchanting female ant, who asks him to dance with her. Soon, he discovers that she's actually the colony's princess, who's also feeling suffocated by the role imposed on her. Desperate to meet Princess Bala again, Z forces his best friend Weaver, a soldier ant, to switch places with him. However, he suddenly finds himself in the middle of General Mandible's secret evil plan of wiping out the weaker parts of the colony. Following a misunderstanding that leads to an unlikely adventure far from the colony, Z and Princess Bala decide to work together to stop Mandible from enacting his plans.

This marks DreamWorks SKG's first CG-animated film, and features an all-star voice cast including Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman, Jennifer Lopez, Sylvester Stallone, Christopher Walken, Danny Glover, and Dan Aykroyd. At the time of its production, DreamWorks was in a feud with Pixar and Walt Disney Studios due to the film's similarities with "A Bug's Life" (via Business Week). Because of this, both animated films were released during the same year in 1998, and ultimately, the financial success of "Antz" was overshadowed by the box office numbers of "A Bug's Life." However, interestingly, both "Antz" and "A Bug's Life" did receive the same Certified Fresh critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes, although "A Bug's Life" currently is a bigger hit with audiences.

Are We There Yet?

"Boyz N the Hood" star Ice Cube portrays sports shop owner Nick Persons in the 2005 road trip comedy film "Are We There Yet?" The story begins when Nick meets his dream woman in the form of Suzanne Kingston (Nia Long), a recently divorced mother of two mischievous kids, Lindsey (Aleisha Allen) and Kevin (Philip Daniel Bolden). The siblings are always scheming against the unlucky men, who dare to date their mother. In an attempt to impress Suzanne, Nick disregards his dislike towards children and volunteers to accompany Lindsey and Kevin on their flight to Canada. However, due to an airport incident caused by the pranking kids, Nick has to drive them instead to their destination. Chaos ensues, as Lindsey and Kevin do everything in their power to annoy Nick enough to make him stay away from their mother, which includes destroying his precious and expensive car.

Despite receiving a very low Rotten Tomatoes rating, this film deserves recognition from audiences for its very entertaining storyline, which features over-the-top hilarious pranks. Ice Cube and his young co-stars Aleisha Allen and Philip Daniel Bolden all deliver the laughs and charm. Allen and Bolden in particular do a great job playing two grieving kids, who are just trying to cope with their parents' breakup. They have a good chemistry with the former N.W.A rapper, which makes their scenes together more natural and fun to watch.


Based on Dick King-Smith's 1983 novel titled "The Sheep-Pig," this classic fantasy comedy-drama revolves around Babe, a sweet and curious piglet. Humble farmer Arthur Hogget wins Babe at the county fair, and brings this prize pig back to his farm. There, Babe meets different animals, including Fly, a border collie, who becomes a mother figure to him. After seeing Fly's work as a sheep dog, Babe gets inspired to become like her. While the other dogs tend to use aggression and fear to herd the sheep, the gentle Babe goes with a different strategy by doing the opposite. He politely talks to the sheep led by Maa, an older ewe, who are impressed by his politeness and nice attitude towards them, and cooperate fully with him. This amazes Hoggett, who signs Babe up for a local sheepherding competition, despite other people's judgments and disbelief.

During its theatrical release in 1995, "Babe" became a critical darling and received praises for its cute, innocent, and heartfelt storyline. This is a wonderful family movie that features the voices of Christine Cavanaugh, Miriam Margolyes, and Hugo Weaving. And of course, there's James Cromwell as Arthur Hoggett, who not only was nominated for an Oscar for this role, but was also inspired to become a vegetarian after working on the film (via Vegetarian Times). However, despite receiving recognition that included seven Oscar nominations, the film is often overlooked when people discuss great '90s movies. 

Big Fish

Acclaimed visionary filmmaker Tim Burton takes the audiences into another fantastical world in "Big Fish," a fascinating comedy drama film about an estranged son connecting with his ailing father after three years of zero communication, as he struggles to believe his father's out-of-this-world life stories. The story revolves around the epic, dramatic, lively, and unusual life of the ambitious Edward Bloom. Bloom loves recounting his fantastical experiences about his strange childhood, time fighting in the Korean War, and meeting his wife Sandra after joining the circus. His skeptical son William decides to investigate the authenticity of his father's stories in order to better understand him and his reasons for continuing to tell these over-the-top tales.

Although it's based on Daniel Wallace's 1998 book of the same name, many have seen "Big Fish" as Burton's most personal film to date. This 2003 film is different from the "Beetlejuice" director's usual works because it's more lively, bright, and vulnerable in terms of its storyline and visual tone. However, it still retains a gothic fantasy element to the story, which is known as part of Burton's signature style. Leading the charming and sentimental movie is the talented Ewan McGregor and acting vet Albert Finney, who both equally embody their eccentric character of Edward. It also features a wonderful supporting cast consisting of Billy Crudup, Jessica Lange, Helena Bonham Carter, and Danny Devito, as well as a young Miley Cyrus in her feature film debut.

Bridge to Terabithia

"Bridge to Terabithia" is a coming-of-age drama that follows the story of Jess Aaron, an 11-year-old aspiring artist, who's having a hard time at home and in school. His life changes with the arrival of Leslie Burke, a new student, who shows him the true power of their imaginations. They start hanging out in the woods, where they create their own magical world filled with different sorts of creatures, including a giant troll. In the small imagined kingdom of Terabithia, Jess and Leslie's bond grows stronger, as they create a place where they belong, far away from the harsh reality of their lives.

This 2007 fantasy film is based on Katherine Peterson's 1977 novel of the same name, which was actually inspired by the death of one of her son's friends when he was a young boy (via NPR). In fact, her son David is the screenwriter, who adapted his mother's classic novel into this film. Leading this grounded but fantastical story are a pre-"Hunger Games" Josh Hutcherson and AnnaSophia Robb, who both deliver moving performances as two outcasts. They are joined by Robert Patrick, Zooey Deschanel, and Bailee Madison. 

Despite being considered a box office success during the time of its theatrical release, the film hasn't seemed to reach more mainstream attention. This might be due to the story offering a more mature view of the real-life and sometimes adult struggles that many children deal with. It cleverly uses fantasy and imagination to address the way children cope with heartbreak and loss and offers a compassionate and emotional portrayal of the inner lives of these young people.


Before directing Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan in the romantic fantasy film "City of Angels," filmmaker Brad Silberling made his feature directorial debut with "Casper." This supernatural comedy drama is about a nice and friendly young ghost (Malachi Pearson/Devon Sawa), who peacefully inhabits an abandoned mansion along with his chaotic and oftentimes annoying uncles, who call themselves "The Ghostly Trio." Casper is lonely, as he has no friends, but things change with the arrival of paranormal therapist James Harvey (Bill Pullman) and his teenage daughter Kat (Christina Ricci). James has been hired to remove the mischievous ghosts from the mansion. Casper immediately lets his presence known to Kat in an attempt to befriend her. Understandably, Kat isn't too thrilled to suddenly see a ghost. However, due to Casper's kind gestures, they become friends, while also Casper finds himself falling in love with her.

This 1995 film is based on the Harvey Comics cartoon character of the same name, which was created by Seymour Reit and Joe Oriolo (via The Guardian). Interestingly, this is also the first live-action movie to feature a CGI character as its lead (via Filmsite). At the time of its debut, the film adaptation's charming and entertaining storyline wasn't enough to impress critics and audiences, as it garnered mixed reviews on both the Rotten Tomatoes' Tomatometer and the Audience Score. However, this really doesn't take away how great and fun this classic movie really is. It also features awesome cameos from Mel Gibson, Clint Eastwood, and Dan Aykroyd — who appears as his iconic "Ghostbusters" character, Ray Stantz.

Charlotte's Web

Gary Winick's fantasy comedy drama "Charlotte's Web" is the second film adaptation of E.B. White's 1952 classic children's novel of the same name. The movie follows the story of Wilbur, a piglet who gets saved by a young girl's kind heart. Young Wilbur is brought to live on the Zuckermans' farm, where he soon discovers his doomed fate of being turned into Christmas dinner. As Wilbur panics over the impending end of his short life, he's comforted by Charlotte, a lovely and well-spoken spider, who lives in the rafters of the barn. She promises to help him change his destiny, and does so by spelling out Wilbur's worthy traits on her web. The Zuckermans and their extended family are shocked, and realize that Wilbur is too special to slaughter.

Led by Dakota Fanning, the film features a wholesome and delightful storyline that will guarantee to make you laugh and cry, as the end credits roll. Wilbur's touching friendships with Fern and Charlotte are the highlights of the film. It has a star-studded voice cast, including Julia Roberts, Oprah Winfrey, Kathy Bates, John Cleese, and Steve Buscemi. Whether you love E.B. White's novel or the original 1973 animated film, you'll find much to appreciate in this live-action retelling of one of the most beloved children's books around.

Chicken Run

Hailing from Nick Park, the Oscar-winning creator of the popular "Wallace and Gromit" characters, "Chicken Run" is a stop-motion claymation film about a group of British chickens trying to escape the farm owned by the Tweedys, a cruel married couple. Following a string of failed escape attempts, their luck changes with the sudden arrival of Rocky Rhodes, a confident American rooster, who accidentally crash-lands on the coop. After seemingly seeing Rocky's so-called flying abilities, de-facto leader Ginger convinces Rocky to teach them how to fly. Meanwhile, the Tweedys are starting their preparations of turning their chicken farm into a meat-pie production business, signaling an impending doom for the chickens. Now, it's up to Rocky to choose between saving himself or becoming the hero and impressing the hen he likes.

This 2000 comedy adventure is oftentimes forgotten, despite being one of the best stop-motion animated movies to date. It holds a near-perfect Certified Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but has perhaps been overshadowed by Park's other iconic characters like Wallace and Gromit and Shaun the Sheep. Featuring the voices of Mel Gibson, Julia Sawalha, Miranda Richardson, Timothy Spall, and Imelda Staunton, the film offers a hilariously engaging storyline filled with interesting and fun characters. It is a must-see family movie, especially for people who are fans of "Wallace and Gromit."

Christopher Robin

"Christopher Robin" is a hybrid live-action/animated comedy drama film featuring the beloved characters of A.A. Milne and E.H. Shepard's iconic children's novel series "Winnie the Pooh." The story centers around an adult Christopher Robin, who's having a difficult time balancing his work and personal life. One day in London, Christopher Robin gets a surprise visit from his honey-loving old friend Pooh, who is having an unusual day, as he can't seem to find any of his friends. Christopher Robin helps him by traveling back to his countryside home, where the way to the Hundred Acre Wood is located. He is then greeted by a very gloomy-looking Hundred Acre Wood, which is far different from the bright and warm place he remembers from his childhood. As Christopher Robin embarks on a search mission for Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, and the others, he slowly rediscovers a significant part of himself that he previously discarded.

Marc Foster's 2017 film highlights a heartwarming but poignant storyline, which effectively shows a deep perspective on childhood. In addition to featuring the voice of long-time Pooh and Tigger voice actor Jim Cummings, the movie also has a wonderful live-action cast led by Ewan McGregor and Hayley Atwell. Unlike previous animated films and shows about Winnie the Pooh, this adaptation feels more mature while still holding onto the magic and charm of these beloved characters. It deals with the idea of how growing up can make people lose sense of what really matters, and how important it can be to return to what we once loved.

Eight Below

Frank Marshall's survival drama "Eight Below" tells an amazing journey of two men and eight sled dogs, as they try to get through the harsh conditions of Antarctica. Jerry Shepard is a seasoned guide, who accompanies professor and geologist Dr. Davis McClaren on a dangerous expedition across the South Pole. They travel by dog sled, led by eight brave dogs. But due to an accident involving Dr. McClaren and a fast approaching storm, Jerry is forced to leave his dogs behind. He promises to return for them as soon as he can. However, he struggles to secure a sponsor to finance his rescue mission to Antarctica. Meanwhile, the dogs must fend for themselves and find ways to survive while they wait for Jerry to return. This includes facing other dangerous animals, navigating the cold environment, and staying together no matter what.

This 2006 film features a tender and inspiring storyline that rests in large part on this incredible group of real canines, who amazingly convey the emotions needed for their scenes. It's hard to not have your heart melt while watching them, and the film is further bolstered by a great cast that includes the late Paul Walker, Bruce Greenwood, and Jason Biggs. The loyalty and friendship among the dogs, as well as their bond with Paul Walker's character, are captivating and very moving to watch. It also doesn't hurt that the film's incredible cinematography showcases various gorgeous landscapes of Antarctica.


"Exit" is a South Korean action-comedy from 2019 that revolves around an unexpected disaster in Seoul, which causes two people to climb to the tallest building in the city to avoid their untimely deaths. The story begins with Yong-nam, an unemployed easy-going man, who runs into his college crush Eui-joo at his mother's birthday celebration. However, his family's happy gathering takes a sudden terrifying turn, when a terrorist releases white poisonous gas that begins spreading around the city. With the gas continuously rising up, they must all stay on the highest part of the building to survive. However, after his older sister accidentally comes in contact with the gas, Yong-nam must act fast to save his family. What comes next is an exhilarating adventure in which Yong-nam and Eui-joo must use all of their strength and stamina to run, jump, and climb through buildings in an attempt to reach the highest one, where rescue helicopters can save them.


This 2019 film offers an engaging and entertaining take on the disaster genre. Leading stars Jo Jung-suk and Im Yoon-ah's amazing chemistry shines in their hilarious and action-packed scenes together. In addition to its amusing storyline, the film also has a lot of heart and emotion, which is made possible by the solid performances of its supporting cast including veteran actor Park In-hwan and Go Doo-shim.

Extreme Job

"Extreme Job" is an action crime comedy that centers around an eccentric Narcotics squad led by Captain Ko. He's a seasoned detective, who hasn't received any promotions in his long tenure in the police department. After a string of failed missions and very expensive mistakes, the Captain and his detectives have been given one last chance to prove themselves before the chief disbands their squad. Determined to stay together, the squad takes on a major career-saving mission involving an international drug gang, whose leader Lee Moo-bae has just gotten out of prison. In order to observe the gang's every move, the squad takes over a failing chicken restaurant, where they can set up their stakeout location and stay undercover as restaurant employees. They wind up being a bit too good at going undercover, as they create a sticky chicken recipe to maintain the front, and it becomes a hit with the public. Now, they must balance their time and efforts between running a successful chicken business and doing their real jobs as detectives.

This 2019 film offers a highly-entertaining and fast-paced storyline that features quirky and clever elements to its narrative. It is filled with lots of laugh-out-loud moments and well-written characters brought to life by its talented cast, which is led by the versatile Ryu Seong-ryong of Netflix's hit horror drama "Kingdom." Their engaging and fun chemistry elevates the film, making it more enjoyable for viewers. Audiences agreed, as the film is the highest grossing movie of all time in South Korea to date, proving that South Korean action comedy films deserve as much recognition as its excellent thriller and horror (via The Hollywood Reporter).

Fly Away Home

Following the sudden death of her mother, 13-year-old Amy Alden moves to Canada to live with her estranged father Thomas, an inventor who hasn't been in her life for a long time. While she struggles to adjust to her new life, Amy discovers an abandoned nest of goose eggs near their house and decides to take them to her father's barn to set up an incubation system for them. The goslings hatch and imprint on Amy, making her their surrogate mother. However, due to a local ordinance that requires domestic geese to be rendered flightless by clipping their wings, Amy and her father come up with an extraordinary plan to help the birds migrate. Through their long journey across North America, they get the chance to repair their bond, making it more stronger and more lasting than it has ever been.

"Fly Away Home" is a touching family drama, inspired by the real-life experiences of Bill Lishman, who helped a flock of geese migrate by using a small plane in 1993 (via The Washington Post). Paquin became the second youngest Oscar-winner to date for her acting debut in Jane Campion's "The Piano," and continues to display her limitless talent in this 1996 film, where she delivers another strong turn as Amy Alden. Joining her is acclaimed actor Jeff Daniels, who also gives an outstanding performance. They both lead a beautiful and emotional storyline about hope, love, courage, and overcoming challenges, which features lots of uplifting moments that people of all ages can surely enjoy.

Free Willy

"Free Willy" is a charming and sweet family drama about the unlikely friendship between a boy and a captive young orca whale. This 1993 film introduces audiences to a rebellious 12-year-old boy named Jesse, who was abandoned by his family at a very young age. One night, he decides to vandalize a theme park, but gets caught. As punishment for his vandalism, Jesse is forced to clean his graffiti at the park. There, he meets an orca whale named Willy, who also got separated from his family. Jesse suddenly finds himself connecting with Willy, leading them to form a unique bond, where he's the only one who can make Willy eat and do tricks. After learning about the park owner's evil intentions with Willy, Jesse devises a plan to free him and get him into the ocean, where he belongs.

"Free Willy" features a heartwarming storyline effectively brought to life by a young Jason James Richter, whose moving performance makes him the heart and soul of the film. His chemistry with Keiko — the whale who plays Willy — is believable and endearing to watch. It remains a great educational story that addresses the significance of animal rights. Because of the film's influence during the time of its release, a movement was formed to free the film's real-life star Keiko, who had been captured at a young age. Sadly, the attempt to rehabilitate Keiko so he could live in the wild wasn't so successful, and he spent the last years of his life in a Norwegian fjord until his death in 2003 (via The Guardian).

Finding 'Ohana

Siblings Pili and Ioane's busy lives in New York City get upended when their mother decides to move their family back to Hawaii to take care of their ailing grandfather. They get to their mother's childhood home, and Pili finds an old pirate's journal in her grandfather's studio. It sparks her interest in seeking out the long-lost pirate treasure that is rumored to be hidden in one of the island's caves. With the help of two new friends and her older brother, Pili leads a "Goonies"-inspired adventure, which brings her and Ioane closer to their Hawaiian heritage. 

"Finding 'Ohana" is a charming family comedy-adventure that highlights the rich and beautiful culture of Hawaii. It uses different influences from other similar films like the "Goonies," all while making sure that the film doesn't lose its own identity. It also primarily deals with the idea of embracing your true self and the importance of exploring the cultures that make up parts of your identity. The film features a diverse cast including Kea Peahu, Alex Aiono, Lindsay Watson, Owen Vaccaro, Kelly Hu, and Branscombe Richmond, as well as an appearances from '80s icon Ke Huy Quan of the "Goonies" and "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom."

Galaxy Quest

Serving as an homage to the popular "Star Trek" franchise and a love letter to its dedicated fandom, "Galaxy Quest" is a funny and well-crafted sci-fi comedy about former TV stars, who get kidnapped by aliens because of a misunderstanding. We meet the cynical cast of a canceled space adventure series, whose acting careers now consist mostly of attending fan conventions to make some easy money. Unbeknownst to them, their show has reached outer space and become extremely popular with the alien race called Thermians. The Thermians mistakenly take this fictional series for a documentary of a real space crew's adventures on Earth. So, they transport the entire cast to their spaceship, with the hopes of using the heroic humans' supposed knowledge and skills to help defeat their terrifying enemy.

This 1999 film offers a highly-entertaining storyline that features an epic ensemble cast consisting of Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaving, Sam Rockwell, Tony Shalhoub, and the late Alan Rickman. It also includes future "The Office" star Rainn Wilson in his feature film debut, as well as a young Justin Long. They all deliver impressive performances by effectively portraying each of their characters' strengths and flaws. Sure, this film is considered a cult classic, but it's still an underrated gem that many are not familiar with, and it's worth checking out on your next family movie night.

Heart and Souls

In this fantasy comedy drama, Robert Downey Jr. stars in one of his most underrated roles to date as Thomas Reilly, a hot-shot businessman, who had a difficult childhood because everyone thought he was crazy for believing in his imaginary friends.

After years of undergoing psychotherapy, Thomas gets "cured" of his supposed delusions. However, over three decades later, his four imaginary friends — Penny, Milo, Julia, and Harrison — suddenly reappear again. They reveal that they're actually souls attached to Thomas and have never left his side ever since he was born. The four of them died in the same car accident, and have been stuck in limbo. They find out that Thomas is the key to fulfilling their unfinished businesses, so they're forced to disrupt Thomas' life once again before truly moving on to the afterlife.

"Heart and Souls" offers a heartwarming and charmingly funny storyline about second chances and not taking everything in your life for granted. It's filled with upbeat and sentimental moments that highlight an interesting perspective on the meaning of life and death. In addition to Downey Jr.'s fantastic leading performance, the film also features an incredible supporting cast of Alfre Woodard, Kyra Sedgwick, Elisabeth Shue, Charles Grodin, and Tom Sizemore. While the film got mixed reviews with critics on Rotten Tomatoes, the much higher audience rating speaks to the wonderful aspects of "Heart and Souls" that make it a perfect choice for any family movie night.


After gaining worldwide recognition for his portrayal of Captain America in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Chris Evans temporarily traded his star-spangled suit and shield for a more grounded and dramatic role in the 2017 film "Gifted." This emotional and touching drama is about a single man trying his best to raise his late sister's genius 7-year-old daughter. Following the untimely death of his sister Diane, Frank Adler becomes the guardian of Diane's daughter Mary, and is determined to give her a normal childhood, which is something that neither he nor his sister ever had. Like her mother, Mary is a child prodigy, who has mathematical talents far beyond her age. Frank enrolls Mary in a regular school, where other people start to discover Mary's gift. This catches the attention of Frank's mother Evelyn, who plans to take Mary away from Frank in hopes of giving her a more comfortable life as well as being able to nurture her granddaughter's incredible gift.

Evans gives a more grounded performance as Frank, a man who's trying to do what's best for his niece, while also honoring the love of his sister. McKenna Grace plays opposite him as Mary, and her bright future as an actress shines clearly here in her first leading role. Although she's young, Grace is able to successfully deliver a commanding and heartfelt performance, leaving viewers in awe of her potential as they anticipate more of her scenes. Her effortless chemistry with Evans is delightful to watch, making their characters' bond more realistic and endearing.

Herbie Fully Loaded

After starring in a string of successful comedies such as "The Parent Trap," "Freaky Friday," and "Mean Girls," Lindsay Lohan switched gears to lead the sports comedy, "Herbie: Fully Loaded." This film was the final installment in the decades-long "The Love Bug" film series. "Herbie: Fully Loaded" centers around Maggie Peyton, who aspires to become a NASCAR driver. Maggie got into an accident while street racing a few years ago, so her overprotective father has forbidden her from pursuing racing again. While searching for a graduation present at a junkyard, Maggie is drawn to a vintage white Volkswagen Beetle, which she ultimately chooses. Little does she know, that old car is actually Herbie, a special former racing car, who has life of his own. Literally. After discovering Herbie's unique qualities, Maggie's life completely changes, as Herbie helps her achieve her NASCAR dreams.

Despite having an enjoyable, quirky, and oftentimes funny story, this 2005 film didn't get as much attention as Lohan's other Disney movies like "The Parent Trap" or "Freaky Friday." Lohan shines here, as she gives another solid and witty comedic performance, proving her status as a mid-2000s teen movie queen. While this movie marks Lohan's last collaboration with the House of Mouse before she transitioned to more mature roles, it's a fun and charming finale to her teen Disney era.


Just before the conclusion of Disney Channel's iconic "Even Stevens" series, Shia LaBeouf reached a milestone in his then-rising career by starring in his first major film, as the lead character in the 2003 adventure comedy-drama "Holes." This massively underrated film deserves to be recognized as a great Disney classic because it isn't your typical children's movie. Based on Louis Sachar's novel of the same name, the story has more depth to it than it initially seems. Stanley Yelnats IV (LaBeouf), is a teenager wrongfully accused of stealing a pair of sneakers, who has long suffered a string of bad luck, which he believes is tied to his family's curse. Stanley's punishment for the theft is to spend 18 months at a juvenile detention camp called Camp Green Lake. There, he meets other juvenile delinquents, as well as the camp's eccentric staff and mysterious warden, who forces the inmates to dig holes all day in the hot desert. While digging, Stanley finds a strange object that leads him to discover the truth about Camp Green Lake's history, which has an unexpected connection to the origins of his family's curse of bad luck.

"Holes" is a great film that offers audiences that sense of youthfulness and wonder that can be found in timeless adventure films such as "The Goonies." The movie's linear storytelling is epic in terms of its carefully-planned western lore, which offers a satisfying connection to the overall narrative without overdoing it. LaBeouf stands out thanks to his engaging and compelling performance, and the adult cast of Sigourney Weaver, Jon Voight, Patricia Arquette, and Tim Blake Nelson are all also funny and delightful to watch.

Honey, I Blew Up the Kid

Three years after the surprise commercial success of "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids," Rick Moranis returned in "Honey, I Blew Up the Kid" to reprise one of his most iconic roles ever as the clumsy inventor Wayne Szalinski. In the popular first installment, Wayne accidentally shrinks his two kids and their neighbors' kids with his ray gun machine. This time, in the 1992 sci-fi comedy "Honey, I Blew Up the Kid," Wayne makes another mistake by inadvertently zapping his 2-year-old son Adam with a machine that makes objects grow bigger. Because of this, the adorable toddler uncontrollably turns into a giant and soon overcomes his parents and brother Nick, who are having a difficult time handling his mischievous behavior. What comes next is a series of mishaps involving a growing Adam hilariously wreaking fun chaos in the city of Las Vegas.

Perhaps overshadowed by its predecessor's box-office and critical performance, "Honey, I Blew Up the Kid" didn't quite capture the same attention of audiences or critics, as seen by its poor scores on Rotten Tomatoes. Despite this, the movie still features the charm and good-natured humor that many love about the first film. If you're a fan of Rick Moranis' incredible comedic work, then it's definitely worth giving this a chance, especially since it's an entertaining family movie that people of all ages can enjoy.

Horton Hears a Who!

Based on Dr. Seuss' 1954 children's book, "Horton Hears a Who!" is a 2008 animated film that features an all-star voice cast led by Jim Carrey and Steve Carell. This underrated comical adaptation has an amusing and gleeful storyline that mainly highlights the importance of having conviction and the value of standing up for the helpless. The film begins after Horton discovers a flower with a dust speck on top of it. Soon, he finds out that the speck actually carries the city of Whoville inside of it, which is inhabited by real (tiny) people called Whos. Horton meets the Mayor of Whoville, who urges him to find a safe place for the flower to stay before he destroys their city with his constant moving. However, because of the other animals' judgments towards Horton, Whoville's journey to safety proves to be more difficult than Horton expected.

This marks Carrey's second Dr. Seuss film, following his iconic portrayal of the Grinch in the live-action holiday film "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." Carrey and Carell bring life to the respective characters of Horton, an extroverted and thoughtful elephant, and Mayor Ned McDodd of Whoville, a responsibly fun leader, who tries to balance his work with his personal life as a father of 96 daughters and 1 son. Horton's sweet and caring nature is a complete contrast to Carrey's grumpy and cynical titular role in the 2000 film, which makes it worthwhile for any fans of Jim Carrey (or Dr. Seuss, of course).

House Arrest

A coming-of-age comedy that centers around a group of kids, who are fed up with their parents' problems that constantly affect them, "House Arrest" is a criminally underrated feel-good movie that was way ahead of its time. Its poor box office performance and critical reviews don't reflect how great and hilarious this film is. Siblings Grover and Stacy Beindorf are dealing with some massive changes in their family, as their parents are about to get separated. In order to stop this, Grover comes up with an outrageous plan to trap their parents in the basement with the hopes of giving them space and time to talk things through and rediscover their love for each other. This ridiculous plan quickly escalates when other kids from school find out about what they're doing. What ensues is a chaotically fun experience for everyone, although it overwhelms Grover and Stacy, who really just want their parents to get back together.

This intriguing storyline isn't only filled with enjoyable scenes, but it also features a much deeper sentimental theme about kids trying to cope with their parents' failed marriages and parenting. Leading the film is a talented young cast including Kyle Howard and then-rising star Jennifer Love Hewitt, whose relatable performances serve as the heart of the story. Joining them is an impressive adult cast featuring Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Pollak, Christopher McDonald, Jennifer Tilly, Caroline Aaron, Sheila McCarthy, and Wallace Shawn, who are all funny and magnetic.


Often described as Martin Scorsese's love letter to cinema, "Hugo" is a coming-of-age adventure drama about Hugo Cabret, a 12-year-old boy, who lives in a Paris railway station. Set in the 1930s, the story centers around Hugo's life as an orphan following the sudden death of his father and the disappearance of his uncle. He dedicates most of his time to protecting and fixing the only thing his father left to him, which is a broken automaton that the two of them were previously working on together. At the station, he meets Isabelle, a young girl who's the granddaughter of an embittered toy store owner. Hugo discovers that Isabelle possesses the heart-shaped key, which is needed to finally make the automaton work. Together, they embark on a mission to search for answers regarding the true meaning behind the automaton's drawings and how these are connected to his father.

This 2011 film is quite different from the serious and gritty films that Scorsese is known for. However, "Hugo" serves as his most personal film, as he pays homage to the craft of filmmaking (via CBS News). It tells an upbeat and whimsical story that is both visually captivating and emotionally riveting. The acclaimed filmmaker directs a stellar cast led by Asa Butterfield and Chloë Grace Moretz, who — at the time of the movie's production — were only 13-year-old kids. Their talent is quite clear in their commanding performances opposite acclaimed co-stars, who include Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Emily Mortimer, and the late Helen McCrory.

Instant Family

"Instant Family" is a family comedy about Pete and Ellie Wagner, a married couple, who is quite sick of being criticized by their relatives for not having kids. So, Pete and Ellie decide to try foster care adoption. At a county-organized fair where potential parents meet foster children, they meet Lizzie, a tough and clever 15-year-old girl, who makes an impression on them. However, Lizzie has two younger siblings — Juan and Lita — and refuses to be separated from her siblings. So, Pete and Ellie agree to adopt all three kids. What comes next is a series of comical parenting mistakes, as Pete and Ellie navigate the highs and lows that come with parenthood, all while trying their best to form a bond with Lizzie, Juan, and Lita.

Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne both deliver genuine and charming performances, making their characters' plight more believable and relatable to audiences. "Instant Family" features a heartfelt and incredibly funny storyline about the meaning of found family and the beautiful relationships that can form within it. It is an enjoyable movie filled with feel-good moments highlighting Pete and Ellie's efforts in showing their care and love for the kids.

James And The Giant Peach

Hailing from the creative minds of Henry Selick and Tim Burton, "James and the Giant Peach" is a well-crafted and delightful film adaptation of Roald Dahl's 1961 children's novel of the same name. A combination of live-action and stop-motion animation, the movie revolves around James Henry Trotter, a young orphan boy, who dreams of going to the big city of New York in hopes of fulfilling his late father's promise. In order to survive the tragic reality of his father's death, James is forced to live with his cruel and selfish aunts Spiker and Sponge, and he must endure all of their demands and mistreatment towards him. A flicker of hope appears before James, as he discovers a massive and extraordinary peach, which is inhabited by a group of friendly and kind human-sized anthropomorphic insects. Desperate to escape from Spiker and Sponge, James boards the peach as it rolls into the ocean, and he embarks upon a once-in-a-lifetime adventure as he tries to make his way to New York City.

Retaining the unique gothic visuals and fantastically grim signature element found in Selick and Burton's works, this 1996 film is an underrated masterpiece that is one of the best and most faithful Roald Dahl adaptations. It features an imaginative, whimsical, and endearing storyline, which is further elevated by its terrific live-action and voice cast that includes Miriam Margolyes, Joanna Lumley, Susan Sarandon, and David Thewlis. Margolyes and Lumley's villainous and comical portrayals of Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker in particular are one of the highlights of the film, which offers enough fun and heart for kids and adults alike.

Kiki's Delivery Service

In this animated fantasy film from the brilliant Hayao Miyazaki, 13-year-old young witch-in-training Kiki leaves her small village, as traditional customs demand that young witches leave their home for a year. Jiji, a talking black cat, accompanies Kiki on her journey. She settles in the city of Koriko, where she meets a kind pregnant lady named Osono, who lets Kiki stay in her spare room in the attic. Kiki must create a life for herself, so she uses her ability to fly on a broomstick to start a delivery service business, which gives her the experience she needs to find her independence. And as she faces different obstacles in this new, different place, Kiki discovers her real purpose in the world.

Despite receiving positive critical reviews, "Kiki's Delivery Service" remains as one of Hayao Miyazaki's lesser known anime films. Unlike other Studio Ghibli movies, this 1989 adaptation of Eiko Kadono's book of the same name has a more grounded and slice-of-life storyline about a young girl trying to find her place in the world, while trying her best not to lose herself in the process. It deals with different coming-of-age issues, including a crisis of self-identity and creative burnout. However, it still retains the fantastical and enchanting elements found in Miyazaki's other popular works such as "My Neighbor Totoro" and "Spirited Away." In true Studio Ghibli fashion, the animation and visuals for this lighthearted and feel-good film are impeccable and very well-detailed.


A refreshing and unique take on the timeless story about the origins of Christmas, "Klaus" is an animated family comedy about Jesper Johansen, a self-centered guy, who's considered as the worst postman ever. Because of his immaturity, he gets sent to a small northern island town called Smeerensburg, which is dominated by the rival clans of the Ellingboes and the Krums. In order to be allowed to return home, Jesper must first post 6,000 letters within a year. As easy as that may sound, Jesper soon finds out that no one in Smeerensburg is interested in writing letters because they're too busy constantly fighting each other. As he tries to find a way to solve his dilemma, Jesper encounters Klaus, a burly craftsman, who isolates himself in his house full of handmade toys. After witnessing an act of kindness involving Klaus and a child's drawing, Jesper comes up with a genius idea, which leads him to change Smeerensburg forever.

Sergio Pablos makes his feature directorial debut with this animated holiday film, which delivers a smart and beautifully done storyline about the power of kindness and how it can improve lives. In addition to its thoughtful and heartwarming story, the film is visually stunning and captivating. The film makes use of hand-drawn animation, which calls back to a pre-CGI time, but also employs newer techniques and technologies to overcome some limitations of that type of traditional animation (via Cartoon Brew). So, "Klaus" creates a perfect balance between the old and the new, which can speak to people of all ages. Although the film holds a stellar score on Rotten Tomatoes and was even one of the first animated Netflix movies to be nominated for an Oscar in 2020 (along with "I Lost My Body"), it still managed to fly a bit under the radar (via IndieWire). However, we think this 2019 film is a holiday classic in the making and given enough time, it will surely become a beloved Christmas movie that people return to over and over again.

Kubo and the Two Strings

Before directing the "Transformers" prequel spin-off "Bumblebee," Travis Knight made an impressive feature directorial debut with "Kubo and the Two Strings." The film is set in feudal Japan and follows Kubo, a 12-year-old boy with only one eye, who has the ability to manipulate origami through his magical instrument. To earn a living for himself and his sick mother, he uses this magical skill to entertain villagers by telling them the tale of his father Hanzo, a samurai warrior, who sets out on a dangerous quest to obtain a powerful suit of armor. Kubo doesn't know what happened to his father in real life, but he soon embarks on a journey to find out and to retrieve Hanzo's armor. Along the way, he's guided by a talking snow monkey and beetle, who help him fight the sinister forces that are now trying to steal his other eye.

This stop-motion fantasy movie hails from Laika Studios, which is known for their incredible work on films like "Corpse Bride," "Coraline," and "ParaNorman." Like all of these masterpieces, this 2016 film also received critical acclaim and two Oscar nominations, including Best Animated Feature. Despite winning the hearts of critics, "Kubo and the Two Strings" failed to appeal to moviegoers during the time of its theatrical release, as it is one of Laika Studios' lowest-grossing films to date.

Box office success doesn't always reflect the quality of a movie, and such is the case with "Kubo and the Two Strings," which offers an enchantingly beautiful storyline about destiny, family, and love. The film is epic in terms of its captivating original story, impeccable visual animation, and compelling characters, who are perfectly voiced by an all-star cast including Charlize Theron and Matthew McConaughey.


"Labyrinth" is a unique collaboration between "The Muppets" creator Jim Henson and "Star Wars" mastermind George Lucas. It is a musical fantasy film led by music icon David Bowie, who portrays the antagonistic role of Jareth, the Goblin King. Joining him is a young Jennifer Connelly as Sarah Williams, a 16-year-old girl, who wishes that her baby brother would just get taken away by goblins. To her surprise, her brother does indeed disappear, which leads her to meet the Goblin King, who offers her a deal of a lifetime in exchange for giving up her brother. Sarah refuses Jareth's deal, so he sends her on the difficult mission of solving his complex magical maze for her brother's safe return. Through her whimsical journey in Jareth's labyrinth, Sarah gets to meet different eccentric creatures, who either help her in her quest or delay her chances of winning Jareth's games.

Most of Bowie and Connelly's co-stars are puppets from Jim Henson's Creature Shop, which makes the story more interesting and fun for audiences of any age. The film straddles the line between Muppet-style playfulness and a more mature undertones (or overtones, really), thanks in part to Bowie's fantastic job of conveying his character's darkness and mischievousness. Plus, fans of the musician will be delighted to watch Bowie perform electrifying musical numbers of original songs that he wrote just for the film.

Little Giants

A sports comedy film about the underestimated kids who never get picked, "Little Giants" centers around adult brothers Danny and Kevin O'Shea, who have always been different from each other. As the younger brother, Danny is used to living in the shadow of Kevin's fame as a former college football star. However, things change when Kevin, who's now the coach of their town's Pee-wee football team, denies Danny's daughter Becky a spot on the team just because she's a girl. This leads to Danny forming his own Pee-wee football team of outcasts as a way of finally standing up to Kevin. Due to the league's rule of "one town, one team," Danny challenges his older brother into a playoffs game to determine which of their teams will represent their town.

This 1994 family comedy stars Rick Moranis and Ed O'Neill, whose phenomenal chemistry makes their characters' bantering and sibling rivalry both relatable and entertaining. Regardless of its initial poor reviews, this is still an enjoyable movie with a great and inspirational lesson for its viewers about perseverance and finding your own place when the world tells you that you don't belong. Its underdog storyline is funny, charming, and sweet, which are really all the elements you need for a good family movie.

Love and Monsters

"Love and Monsters" is a post-apocalyptic monster adventure combined with a romantic comedy, which follows a lonely and clumsy guy on a perilous journey across a monster-ridden America, as he attempts to reunite with his ex-girlfriend. Leading the film is "Teen Wolf" alum Dylan O'Brien, who — after facing zombie-like creatures and an evil organization in the "Maze Runner" films — finds himself in another post-apocalyptic situation, where mutated giant cold-blooded animals have overrun the world. 

Set years after 95% of the world's human population has been wiped out by monsters, the story centers around Joel (O'Brien), who has been living inside an underground bunker with other survivors. Everyone else seems to have found love except for him, so he decides to risk his life and try to reconnect with his high school girlfriend Aimee. Joel goes on a life-changing quest that opens his eyes about the new world they're living in. Along the way, he meets a loyal and reliable companion in the form of a stray dog named Boy, whose endearing chemistry and strong bond with Joel is one of the film's highlights.

O'Brien truly shines with his charming and quirky portrayal of Joel Dawson, and he makes him an extremely likable lead character that audiences will root for during the entire movie. It's baffling how underrated this film is, especially when it has all the makings of a great blockbuster. From O'Brien's fantastic leading performance to its well-crafted storyline to its amazing visual direction and cinematography, "Love and Monsters" has it all.

Meet the Robinsons

"Meet the Robinsons" is an animated sci-fi comedy about overcoming challenges, believing in yourself, and learning how to move forward. Lewis is an orphaned 12-year-old genius inventor, who invents a groundbreaking machine that can scan a person's memories. He wants to use this machine to find the identity of his birth mother within his own memories, but the machine falls apart during before he can do so. It feels like all is lost — he doesn't know who his mother is and no one seems to want to adopt him — until he meets Wilbur Robinson, a mysterious and very confident kid, who literally drags him into the future. Lewis spends the day with Wilbur's eccentric and caring family members, who are all chaotically good in their own fun ways. But Wilbur isn't just interested in introducing Lewis to his family; he needs his new time-traveling friend's help to stop a mysterious man in a Bowler hat from enacting his evil plans and changing the future.

"Meet the Robinsons" is a heartfelt time-travel story told through a very stylistic visual look, which makes the film's version of the future quite compelling. Loosely based on William Joyce's 1990 children's book "A Day with Wilbur Robinson," this film has a wonderful and uplifting storyline featuring lots of scene-stealing characters, who will make audiences fall for their quirks. Apart from its fun and delightful scenes, this adaptation also doesn't shy away from addressing heartbreaking and relatable themes of identity, abandonment, and feeling like you're not worthy of love. 

Mr. Bean's Holiday

Following the box office success of "Bean" in 1997, Rowan Atkinson reprised his iconic role a decade later in the comedy sequel "Mr. Bean's Holiday." This installment follows the antics of everyone's favorite brown-tweed-jacket-wearing man of few words, who is tired of London's gloomy weather. Thanks to a lucky raffle draw, Mr. Bean gets the chance to go on a vacation to Cannes, where he can finally enjoy some sun and beach time. However, in true Mr. Bean fashion, the journey to his destination isn't so easy, as he encounters a series of mishaps en route to the French Riviera. This includes losing his wallet, getting mistaken as a kidnapper, ending up on a TV commercial set, getting chased by the police, and many more wild Mr. Bean shenanigans.

As always, Atkinson does a magnificent job in capturing his character's quirkiness, unlikely charm, and mischievousness. Unlike the first installment, which leans more to its comedy aspect, this 2007 film has more heart and sincerity in its feel-good story. Other than displaying his usual comical and clumsy side, Mr. Bean also shows a different side as a caring and thoughtful friend towards Emil (Max Baldry) and Sabine (Emma de Caune), the two strangers he met in his holiday adventure.


"Onward" is an animated adventure film set in a modern fantasy world of mythical creatures, where magic has faded away in favor of technological advancements. Featuring the voices of "Marvel Cinematic Universe" stars Tom Holland and Chris Pratt, the story introduces the audience to Ian and Barley Lightfoot, two teenage elf brothers, who get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of spending a whole day with their deceased father. On his sixteenth birthday, Ian receives an unexpected gift: a magical staff that will allow them to cast the visitation spell, where they can resurrect their father for one day. Because of a mistake, however, they fail to complete the spell, and are left with just the lower half of their father's body. Determined to finish the spell, Ian and Barley embark on a thrilling magical adventure that brings them closer than ever.

The film hails from "Monster University" director Dan Scanlon, who draws inspiration from his personal experience of losing his father at a young age. Despite its fantastical storyline, it is still a heartfelt and relatable film about longing, embracing your true self, and family relationships, which makes "Onward" great for adults as well. It is a great Pixar movie that suffered from the effects of debuting in theaters in March 2020, which resulted in a low box-office turnout and its early streaming release.

Over the Hedge

"Over the Hedge" is an animated family comedy based on Michael Fry and T. Lewis' comic strip of the same name (via AWN). A group of woodland creatures wake up from hibernation, and discover that most of their forest has now been turned into a new housing. They're now left with no place to gather food for the next winter. RJ, a cunning raccoon, offers a solution to their problem: They can steal food from the humans, who live on the other side of the large hedge that separates the forest from the housing development. The gang of woodland animals agrees to this plan, not realizing that RJ actually has a hidden agenda: He intends to give all of the stolen food to a bear to whom he owes a debt.

This 2006 film features a stellar voice cast including Bruce Willis, Steve Carell, Allison Janney, William Shatner, Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, Wanda Sykes, and Avril Lavigne. It is a simple and fun movie that everyone of all ages can definitely enjoy. The main characters are all different and interesting, while the villains — the president of the homeowners' association, Gladys Sharp, and exterminator Dwayne LaFontant — are a hilarious and chaotic duo.

Queen of Katwe

Hailing from acclaimed filmmaker Mira Nair, "Queen of Katwe" is a biographical drama about chess champion Phiona Mutesi. Phiona lives in Katwe, Uganda, where she first discovers her talent for the board game, as a 10-year-old girl. Phiona is living a life of poverty with her family, but everything changes when she meets missionary Robert Katende, who introduces her to the intricate game of chess. Phiona quickly discovers that she has a natural talent for the sport, and soon becomes the top player in her area. She starts entering more competitions in a bid to become the best player in the country, and Phiona's dreams start to transform and grow, as she deals with the ups and downs of winning and losing.

Despite its lack of action, "Queen of Katwe" is still epic and engrossing thanks to its storytelling and Nair's captivating direction, which transforms the film's chess matches into thrilling and exciting events. Portraying Phiona's mother is the brilliant Lupita Nyong'o, whose commanding performance as a mother trying her best to keep her family alive is deeply moving and powerfully gripping. Nyong'o masterfully conveys her character's emotional dilemmas, which helps the audience understand her reasons for standing in the way of Phiona's goals. Ultimately, this is an inspirational and captivating story about learning how to rise above life's obstacles and to fight for the place where you belong.

Real Steel

"Free Guy" director and "Stranger Things" executive producer Shawn Levy directs Hugh Jackman in the sci-fi sports dramedy "Real Steel," based on Richard Matheson's short story titled "Steel." This entertaining and fast-paced film revolves around Charlie Kenton, a former boxer, who's forced to quit the sport due to the sudden emergence of high-tech fighter robots. Charlie struggles to find his footing in the new demands of the sport, which leads him to countless losses and high debts. He starts training robots to fight, but he needs cash to get a new, stronger model. So, he gives up custody of his estranged son to his late ex-girlfriend's sister in exchange for $100,000. Before that can happen though, he has to spend the summer with his son, Max. Together, the find an old sparring robot named Atom, who is able to mirror both his opponent's and controller's movements. Charlie is initially skeptical of this old-school robot, but soon comes to see Atom's tenacity and potential, as well as the ways this robot can help him get closer to his son.

This 2011 film was praised by some critics for its great visuals and strong action sequences, which use a mix of animatronics and motion capture animation to ground it more in reality (via Entertainment Weekly). Its immersive and imaginative storyline is way ahead of its time, which feels especially true considering Matheson's original source material was first published in 1956. The interactions between Max and Atom are sweet and emotional, which brings a lot of heart to this story, while Jackman does a wonderful job portraying his character's strengths as a fighter and flaws as an absent father.

Rise Of The Guardians

"Rise of the Guardians" is a holiday-themed fantasy comedy that features legendary mythical figures like Santa Claus, the Sandman, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and Jack Frost. Based on William Joyce's "The Guardians of Childhood" novel series, this 2012 film marked Peter Ramsey's feature directorial debut, before he went on to win an Academy Award for co-directing "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" (via The Hollywood Reporter).

"Rise of the Guardians" focuses on a group of Guardians, who are legendary mythical figures from childhood: Santa Claus, the Sandman, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy. They're joined by their new recruit, Jack Frost, who's the playful Spirit of Winter. The Guardians are tasked with stopping Pitch Black, a shadowy evil entity, who plans to destroy them by filling children's minds with nightmares to weaken their spirit and cause them to stop believing in the Guardians. Jack Frost tries to help his new friends, while also searching for the truth about his past life as a human.

"Rise of the Guardians" gives us a new and exciting take on these fantasy icons by reinventing them to show something different from what we typically imagine. The film's visually appealing animation compliments its lively and fun storyline, which is bolstered by a stellar voice cast that includes Chris Pine, Jude Law, Isla Fisher, Hugh Jackman, and Alec Baldwin. Additionally, it features great and interesting character designs, particularly with the Sandman and Jack Frost, and any holiday movie fan will be sure to love this entry into the genre.

Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella (1997)

This 1997 version of "Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella" is a fantasy romantic dramedy filled with enchanting and catchy musical numbers. The film hails from legendary singer-actress Whitney Houston, who served as an executive producer and appeared on-screen as the Fairy Godmother. Singer-songwriter Brandy made her feature acting debut as the titular princess, and was the first person of color to portray the iconic character on screen (via Variety).

If you're not familiar with the timeless fairytale, the film is about a young woman, whose beloved father dies, leaving her to become a servant to her cruel stepmother and stepsisters. But one night, Cinderella's life changes when her Fairy Godmother suddenly appears, and magically transforms her, so she can attend the Prince's royal ball to find true love and escape this life with her evil step-family.

This adaptation is an underrated classic because many don't know or remember this version of "Cinderella," particularly since it originally had debuted as a television film for ABC. However, as discussed in an oral history of the film on Shondaland, this "Cinderella" was truly groundbreaking thanks to its colorblind casting process, which has given many viewers the chance to see themselves represented in a new way. The rest of the cast includes Oscar-winner Whoopi Goldberg as the Queen, Filipino-American actor Paulo Montalban as Prince Christopher, and Broadway star Bernadette Peters as Cinderella's Stepmother.

Even though it deserves more recognition for its incredible cast, colorful costumes, lively production, and cultural significance (for giving the world Disney's first Black princess), it has unfortunately been overshadowed by other mainstream "Cinderella" films. So, perhaps it's time to revisit this excellent rendition of "Cinderella" on your next family movie night.

Searching for Bobby Fischer

"Searching for Bobby Fischer" is the directorial debut film of Steven Zaillian, who would win an Academy Award just a year later for writing the screenplay of "Schindler's List." Based on the early life of real-life chess master Joshua Waitzkin, it is a coming-of-age family drama about Josh (Max Pomeranc), a 7-year-old chess prodigy. Josh's parents Fred (Joan Mantegna) and Bonnie (Joan Allen) discover their son's natural talent for chess, so they enlist the services of Bruce Pandolfini (Ben Kingsley) to become Josh's chess tutor. At the same time, Josh develops a mentor-mentee relationship with Vinnie Livemore (Laurence Fishburne), a hustler and park chess player, who teaches him unconventional tactics that clash with Bruce's structured strategies of making Josh a tougher competitor. Josh soon finds himself in the middle of these adults, whose pressures and expectations heighten his victories and losses.

While the film impressively holds a Certified Fresh perfect rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it was a box-office failure that only took in $7 million against its $12 million budget. However, you'll be sure to align with the critics on this one, as the movie depicts a well-written emotional and inspirational story that takes viewers into the world of chess. We go along on Josh's journey, as he deals with his father's high expectations of him, his coach's aggressive teaching methods, and his desire to just play the game without caring about its competitive aspect, all of which make "Searching for Bobby Fischer" one of the best family dramas around.

School of Rock

"School of Rock" is a 2003 music comedy, which hails from Oscar-nominated director Richard Linklater. Enthusiastic and music-loving Dewey Finn gets kicked out of his band due to his messy stage antics, which aren't in line with the band's new direction. The cash-strapped Dewey stumbles upon an unexpected job opportunity: a temporary teaching gig, which is actually intended for his best friend, Ned. Desperate to earn money, Dewey impersonates Ned and takes the job, for which he's a bit under-qualified. However, Dewey soon discovers that the class he's teaching is filled with kids, who have musical potential. He decides to teach them all how to rock, and enlists his students as his new band members for a Battle of the Bands.

"School of Rock" has a hilariously charming and entertaining storyline that is perfect for both kids and adults alike. Leading the film is the incredible Jack Black, whose electrifying and iconic performance as Dewey is one of his best ones to date. He effectively portrays his character's flaws, determination, and passion for music, as well as the care and thoughtfulness that he develops towards his students, who learn how to tap into their true selves thanks to his school of rock.


A coming-of-age sci-fi adventure film from 1986, "SpaceCamp" follows teenagers Kathryn (Lea Thompson), Kevin (Tate Donovan), Rudy (Larry B. Scott), Tish (Kelly Preston) and 12-year-old Max (Joaquin Phoenix), who attend a summer camp run by a married astronaut couple. During an Engine test in the Space Shuttle Atlantis, the five of them — along with camp instructor Andie (Kate Capshaw) — accidentally get launched into space. As they embark on this unexpected adventure, they must team up to learn how to control the spacecraft in order for them to safely return to Earth.

Its release was marred by controversy and bad timing, due to the tragic accident involving the Space Shuttle Challenger that happened less than five months prior to the film's debut (via Vice). This resulted in poor critical and box office performances, with some people accusing the producers of monetizing off a tragedy. However, according to director Harry Winer (via The Morning Call), they were very careful to avoid any references or story details that may come off as exploitative or offensive to the Challenger tragedy.

Looking at it from just the film perspective, "SpaceCamp" does offer a fun and charming storyline brought to life by a delightful cast, including Joaquin Phoenix in his feature film debut, and a great musical score from legendary "Star Wars" composer John Williams. The film's scientific angle can be appealing to those interested in the sciences or math, as actress Lea Thompson noted to The AV Club that physicists and inventors have told her that the film inspired them to pursue those paths. 


"Storks" is an absolutely hilarious and adorable animated adventure about a stork and a human girl going on a wild quest to deliver a baby to its rightful family. Stork Mountain is a place where storks have transitioned from delivering babies to delivering packages. Junior is an excellent delivery stork, who is poised for a promotion. Tulip is a young human woman, who has been stuck on Stork Mountain since she was a baby, and has continuously struggled to find her role within the stork delivery company. One day, Tulip gets a letter from Nate, who wants a younger sibling, so she sneaks into Stork Mountain's now defunct baby factory and creates a baby sister for Nate. Junior discovers what she's done and in an attempt to save his blossoming career, agrees to secretly help Tulip deliver the baby to her family, before his boss finds out. Along the way, they encounter a series of mishaps involving super cool penguins and a pack of resourceful wolves.

The film is an underrated gem that features all the elements you want in a great family movie: an exciting original storyline, engaging characters, satisfying character developments, and important moral lessons. Its comical moments are consistently funny throughout, thanks to its all-star voice cast of Adam Samberg, Jennifer Aniston, Ty Burrell, Keegan-Michael Key, and Jordan Peele.

Stuart Little

Based on E.B. White's 1945 novel, "Stuart Little" is a live-action/CGI comedy following the story of an anthropomorphic mouse, who gets adopted by a human family. 

After getting welcomed into the Little family, Stuart tries to adjust to his new almost perfect life, but is having a hard time connecting with his older brother George. However, due to Stuart's perseverance and friendly charm, George soon warms up to him. Stuart must also deal with Snowbell, the Little family's pet cat, who's determined to remove him from the house after other cats ridicule him for having a mouse as an owner.

"Stuart Little" marks the live-action directorial debut of Rob Minkoff, who's best known for co-directing the acclaimed animated film "The Lion King." Interestingly, the screenplay is co-written by Oscar-nominated filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan, which is a definite departure from his other films that are mostly dark horrors and thrillers.

The film offers a sweet and fun storyline that makes its outrageous premise work. Leading the cast are Michael J. Fox (as the voice of Stuart), Geena Davis, Hugh Laurie, Jonathan Lipnicki, and Nathan Lane, who's absolutely perfect as the voice of Snowbell. Because of the title character's wit and warm personality, audiences can easily relate to and understand Stuart's story regardless of how fantastical it might be.

The Book of Life

If you're a fan of Disney's wonderful film "Coco," then you're definitely going to love Jorge R. Gutierrez's animated musical fantasy "The Book of Life," which also gives viewers an interesting interpretation of the sacred Mexican holiday, the Day of the Dead. The 2014 film features the voices of Diego Luna, Zoe Saldana, and Channing Tatum as they bring to life the characters of childhood friends Manolo Sanchez, Maria Posada, and Joaquín Mondragon.

After witnessing the strong bond of friends Manolo, Maria, and Joaquín, the afterlife gods La Muerte and Xibalba make a wager on who Maria will marry: Manolo or Joaquín? La Muerte rules the Land of the Remembered, and believes that Manolo will win Maria's heart, while Xibalba oversees the bleak Land of the Forgotten, and puts his money on Joaquín. There's a lot at stake with this bet: if La Muerte wins, then Xibalba must stop interfering in human affairs, but if Xibalba wins, then the two of them must exchange kingdoms. 

As the trio gets older, Maria falls for Manolo, who wins her heart through his sincerity and serenades. So, Xibalba decides to cheat to win the bet, and tricks Manolo into giving up his life for the sake of saving Maria. Manolo must make his way through the underworld to try to get back to the Land of the Living, as Maria tries to fend off the pressures of Joaquín and her family.

"The Book of Life" offers a colorful and vibrant storyline that highlights the rich culture of Mexico and its beautiful perspective of the afterlife. It mainly highlights Manolo's epic journey through the realms of the Land of the Forgotten and the Land of the Remembered, as he fights for his undying love for Maria.

The Borrowers

Before finding fame as Draco Malfoy in the "Harry Potter" films, Tom Felton first made his feature acting debut in the fantasy comedy film "The Borrowers." Based on Mary Norton's 1952 children's novel of the same name, this 1997 live-action adaptation centers around the existence of tiny people, who live in the walls and under the floors of houses. Fans of Studio Ghibli films may find the story's premise familiar, because Studio Ghibli also adapted the novel into the popular 2010 Japanese animated film "Arrietty."

"The Borrowers" introduces the Clocks, a four-inch family of four, who have been secretly living in the Lender family's house. However, because of a crooked lawyer's greedy ambitions, their house is about to be demolished and turned into a condominium. Now, it's up to the Clock to stop this from happening by obtaining the will and deed to the house — a.k.a. proof of the Lenders' ownership of the property — before the lawyer Ocious P. Potter finds it and destroys it, so he can move ahead with his plan. A chaotic and hilarious ensues between Potter and the Clocks, once he discovers the tiny but resilient family living in the house that he wants for himself.

The 1997 film is an underrated, adventure-filled story that's worth viewing due to its fun and inventive storytelling. It also features a superb cast consisting of John Goodman, Jim Broadbent, Mark Williams, Hugh Laurie, and Celia Imrie.

The Boy Who Could Fly

After starring as the menacing Michael Myers in the first two "Halloween" films, Nick Castle hangs up the William Shatner mask in exchange for the director's chair in the coming-of-age fantasy drama "The Boy Who Could Fly." Also written by Castle, the film is a sentimental and charming story about a kind and thoughtful teenage girl's budding friendship and romance with a social outcast, who may have the ability to fly. 

Following her father's death, 14-year-old Milly moves to a new home along with her mother and younger brother. There, she meets her neighbor Eric, a mute autistic teenage boy, who lives with his alcoholic uncle. Milly begins a friendship with Eric after realizing that he feels comfortable around her in a way he doesn't with others. Their friendship takes a surprising turn when one day, she accidentally falls off a bridge, but is saved by Eric, who prevents her from getting seriously injured. Milly starts to believe that there might be something more to Eric than meets the eye.

Leading the 1986 film is Lucy Deakins as Milly Michaelson and Jay Underwood as Eric Gibb, who both deliver genuine performances that justify their respective characters' stories. In addition, the storyline also addresses a number of relevant issues that several characters are facing including grief, mental health, bullying, and prejudices around those with neurodiversity.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

Oscar nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor makes his feature directorial debut with the biographical drama "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind," which revolves around a clever young boy using his resourcefulness and imaginative mind to save his village from drought. Based on William Kamkwamba's memoir of the same name (co-written with Bryan Mealer), the film is set in Kasungu, Malawi, and follows 13-year-old William Kamkwamba, who's fascinated with electrical engineering. Despite his eagerness to learn, he has to stop attending school because his parents can't pay his tuition. Things get even more difficult for his family, when a massive drought hits that destroys all of his father's crops. The other villagers are affected too, as many must leave their homes to get away from the drought and subsequent famine. William decides to take matters into his own hands and through his ingenuity, figures out how to build a windmill and save his village from devastation.

"The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind" offers a beautiful, inspirational, heartbreaking storyline about family, hope, overcoming adversities, the importance of education, and a person's relentless determination. It gives audiences an honest look into the harsh realities of people living in places that are being neglected by governments. Aside from Ejiofor's compelling direction, he also delivers a strong and moving performance as a realistic father, who's forced to make difficult decisions for the sake of his family's survival.

The Count of Monte Cristo (2002)

"Waterworld" filmmaker Kevin Reynolds directs Jim Caviezel and Guy Pearce in the epic historical drama "The Count of Monte Cristo," which is a film adaptation of Alexandre Dumas' 1844 novel of the same name. Edmond is a kind and reliable man with a great future ahead of him and plans to marry the love of his life, Mercedes. Unbeknownst to him though, a bitter betrayal is awaiting for him: His best friend Fernand is extremely jealous of Edmond's life, and schemes to take Edmond down. Just before marrying Mercedes, Edmond gets arrested for a crime he didn't commit. For more than a decade, Edmond is imprisoned in a seemingly inescapable prison fortress. There, he meets Abbé Faria, a prisoner who teaches Edmond many new skills, and offers him the key to his escape, and the resources that he'll use to take revenge upon those who wronged him. What comes next is a series of Edmond's adventures involving a death-defying escape, facing pirates, finding a lost treasure, and reinventing himself as the Count of Monte Cristo.

The film features a well-written and enjoyable storyline that continues to thrill audiences, centuries after Dumas' wrote it. "The Count of Monte Cristo" is further elevated by the solid performances of its stellar cast, which includes a 19-year-old Henry Cavill in his first major film project. Despite its beloved source material, it still is an underrated classic that has everything you want in an epic drama including romance, adventure, mystery, a satisfying redemption story, and a captivating revenge arc.

The Father of the Bride

"The Father of the Bride” is a hilarious family comedy led by incredibly talented stars, including Steve Martin, Diane Keaton, and Martin Short. It hails from the comedic minds of filmmaking duo Charles Shyer and Nancy Meyers, who have worked together on a number of comedies such as "Private Benjamin," "Baby Boom," and "The Parent Trap." The story centers around George Banks (Martin), who has everything a guy his age could wish for. Life seems perfect and peaceful for George, until suddenly his 22-year-old daughter Annie returns home from studying abroad and announces her engagement to Bryan MacKenzie, a guy she's only been seeing for three months. Despite thinking that Annie is making a mistake, George still gives his approval for the sake of his only daughter's happiness. From then on, he gets roped into the total madness of wedding planning, which is led by Franck (Short), an eccentric European wedding coordinator.

The 1991 film is a remake of Vincent Minnelli's 1950 comedy of the same name (with its own all-star cast of Spencer Tracy and Liz Taylor), and in Meyers and Shyer's hands, "Father of the Bride" is its own special, underrated feel-good classic. It features a humorously charming and highly entertaining narrative about parents struggling with the idea of their beloved children growing up and not needing them anymore. Martin delivers another career-best titular leading performance with his wit and comedic charisma shining through each scene. One of the many highlights of the film is the dynamic chemistry between long-time collaborators Steve Martin and Martin Short. All of their scenes together are chaotically fun and amazing.

The Haunted Mansion (2003)

Inspired by the famous Disneyland attraction, "The Haunted Mansion" is a horror comedy about a family who gets trapped inside an old creepy mansion that's inhabited by a number of restless souls, who are bound to the place because of a curse. Leading the live-action adaptation is comedic genius Eddie Murphy as a father and husband trying to fight for his family.

Jim Evers (Murphy) is a successful real estate agent, who prioritizes work over his family. After missing an important family celebration, he tries to make it up to them by taking his wife Sara and two children Michael and Megan on a vacation at the lake. However, Jim gets the opportunity to make a deal with the owner of Gracey Manor, so he makes his family stop for a "brief" detour at this mansion on the bayou. There, Jim and his family meet the mysterious mansion owner, Master Gracey, and his strict butler Ramsley. A storm comes in, leaving the family stranded at the estate, and they soon discover that there's something dark and sinister about this place.

At the time of its theatrical debut, the 2003 film was considered a box office failure with its worldwide gross of $182 million (against a $90 million budget), as well as a critical miss, as seen on its very low Rotten Tomatoes rating. This is a bit unbelievable considering how highly-entertaining and funny the storyline is. Murphy adds his trademark humor and charm to this haunted mansion filled with ghosts and things that go bump in the night, and while it may not scare you very much, it will be sure to make you laugh.

The Intern

Hailing from Oscar-nominated writer, director, and rom-com queen Nancy Meyers, "The Intern" is a comedy drama centering around Ben Whittaker, a 70-year-old widower, who takes on an internship at a growing fashion website. After securing a spot as one of the "Senior Interns" — thanks to the company's community outreach program of offering internships to elderly folks — Ben gets assigned to work as the assistant to the website's CEO and founder, Jules (Anne Hathaway). Jules initially ignores and dismisses him, as she doubts Ben's capacity to work. However, Ben soon charms everyone else in the office with his friendly nature and reliability. Eventually, he wins over Jules with his words of wisdom and comforting presence, and the two form an unlikely friendship. Ben supports Jules through professional and personal problems, while Jules teaches Ben how to live again amidst the grief of losing his wife.

While "The Intern" got mixed reviews from critics, landing in a more middling place among Meyers' other movies like "The Parent Trap" and "Private Benjamin," the film stands out for its unexpected friendship between Academy Award winners Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway. They're both phenomenal as Ben and Jules, and their sweet and lovely chemistry radiates throughout the film's enjoyable and feel-good story that will be sure to delight audiences of all ages.

The Iron Giant

Before directing Pixar's popular superhero film "The Incredibles," Brad Bird made his feature directorial debut with "The Iron Giant," an animated sci-fi action comedy based on Ted Hughes' 1968 novel "The Iron Man." Set in 1957 during the Cold War, the story begins when Hogarth Hughes, a curious and brave 9-year-old boy, discovers a 50-foot tall metal-eating robot from outer space in a forest near his small town. Because of the Iron Giant's friendly and non-violent nature, Hogarth forms a special bond with his unusual new friend, as he teaches him about humans. Meanwhile, Kent Mansley, a paranoid government agent, arrives to investigate the mysterious crash nearby, and suspects Hogarth's involvement with it. After confirming his suspicions, Mansley launches a violent mission to destroy the robot, because he believes it has a malicious intent on humans. With the help of junkyard owner Dean McCoppin, Hogarth does everything he can just to protect his beloved friend.

The film features a great voice cast including Eli Marienthal, Jennifer Aniston, Vin Diesel, Harry Connick Jr., Cloris Leachman, and Christopher McDonald. It is a tender and fantastical story about friendship and choosing your own destiny by going against the stereotypes set by society. The film also addresses the grave consequences of fear and ignorance, as others' narrow-mindedness and resistance to accept something foreign or unfamiliar leads to the oppression and harming of others.

The Kid Who Would Be King

"The Kid Who Would Be King" is an action fantasy, which perfectly blends medieval lore with a modern coming-of-age story. It is a fantastic movie with an enjoyable and adventure-filled storyline about Alex, a brave 12-year-old boy in London who becomes the rightful person to inherit King Arthur's legendary Excalibur sword. While hiding from bullies at a construction site, Alex stumbles upon a mysterious sword that is embedded in concrete. After successfully pulling the sword out, he gets approached by an eccentric new student, who introduces himself as the famous Merlin, the wizard from the legendary Arthurian tales. Merlin reveals that as the sword's newest wielder, Alex is the only one who can defeat the evil sorceress Morgana, who reawakens after sensing the Excalibur's newest master. With the help of Merlin, his best friend Bedder and two other classmates, Alex must find a way to defeat Morgana and her army of dark warriors in order to save mankind from getting enslaved.

Leading the cast is Louis Asbourne Serkis, who is no stranger to the fantasy genre after making small appearances in "The Hobbit: An Expected Journey" and "Alice Through the Looking Glass." Serkis does a wonderful job in conveying his character's strengths and flaws, which makes him more relatable and genuine to the audiences. He is joined by incredible established stars including Patrick Stewart and Rebecca Ferguson.

The Kings of Summer

Before landing his first blockbuster project with "Kong: Skull Island," Jordan Vogt-Roberts made his feature directorial debut with the independent film "The Kings of Summer." It is a coming-of-age dramedy following three teenage boys as they try to become adults by building their own house in the woods. Fed up with each of their parents' annoying ways of controlling their lives, best friends Joe (Nick Robinson) and Patrick (Gabriel Basso) try to reclaim their freedom by building a makeshift house in the middle of the woods. After completing its construction, the pair runs away from home with Biaggio (Moisés Arias), an unusual kid, who goes along with them even though he doesn't really know them. Despite encountering some initial problems, the trio fully embraces their newfound independence. 

This criminally underrated film offers a well-crafted, funny, and honest narrative that gives viewers an interesting look at the theme of growing up and the complex relationship between parents and children. The friendship between the three leading characters is the core of the story, which leaves viewers with the desire of wanting to experience the same blissful and youthful feelings that the trio enjoys in the film.

The Monster Squad

"The Monster Squad ” is a 1987 supernatural horror comedy about a group of kids, who are obsessed with classic monster movies and call themselves the "Monster Squad." Unbeknownst to them, Count Dracula has risen from his 100-year-long slumber to achieve his goal of ruling the world. To successfully enact his plans, Dracula first needs to find and destroy a special amulet that could be used against him. So, the Prince of Darkness assembles his dangerous allies — including The Wolf Man, Gill-man, The Mummy, and Frankenstein's monster — to help him find the amulet ... which just so happens to be hidden in the small town of the Monster Squad. Meanwhile, after learning about the existence of the amulet through Van Helsing's diary, the Monster Squad kids decide to find the amulet first before it falls into the hands of Dracula. What comes next is a battle between good and evil, as the Monster Squad bravely face their favorite monsters with their ingenious tactics and horror knowledge.

This 1987 film is an underrated coming-of-age classic featuring a fun, wholesome, and imaginative storyline. It is perfect for people of all ages, who are fond of nostalgia and "Goonies"-like movies. While the film got mixed reviews from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, the much higher audience score shows just how much viewers have responded to "Monster Squad." The film's young cast are a delight to watch, and the movie's practical special effects and make-up designs are pretty remarkable, considering the time it was made.

The NeverEnding Story

Based on German author Michael Ende's 1979 novel, "The NeverEnding Story" is a fantasy adventure film about pushing the limits of your imagination. This 1984 adaptation introduces us to 10-year-old Bastian Bux, a social outcast, who's an avid reader. While running away from bullies, Bastian hides out in a bookstore, where a strange and interesting book catches his attention. The shop owner warns him that this book is unsafe for kids like him, so naturally, Bastian steals it to see what it's all about. The novel introduces him to the fantasy land of Fantasia, which is being threatened by a sinister force called The Nothing. As he continues to get captivated by the story's unique creatures and interesting characters, Bastian soon learns that there's more to the book than meets the eye.

"The NeverEnding Story" is full of wonder, magic, and emotion, and also features dark elements that make the obstacles featured in the story more dangerous and high-stakes. The film has great critic and audience scores on Rotten Tomatoes, as people have celebrated both the story and ways that "The NeverEnding Story" brings the magical and fantastical world of Fantasia to life with its distinct visuals. The film's story may seem unusual and strange at first glimpse, but this is actually what makes it so original and compelling, so be sure to queue up this classic kids' film on your next family movie night.

The Pacifier

"The Pacifier" is an action comedy about an elite soldier tasked to become the temporary "babysitter" to five children, who recently lost their father. After failing to save Professor Howard Plummer from an assassination, Shane Wolfe gets a second chance to redeem himself by taking on a mission he isn't trained for. Shane must protect Plummer's five children — 16-year-old Zoe, 14-year-old Seth, 10-year-old Lulu, 3-year-old Peter, and baby Tyler — while their mother goes on a trip concerning her late husband's secret project. As easy as it may sound, Shane's strength, skills, and patience get tested once he discovers how chaotic babysitting can be, especially when all the kids are uncontrollable and prone to pranks.

While it wasn't exactly a hit with the critics, "The Pacifier" does feature an enjoyable and pleasing story that's filled with good-natured humor and family-friendly action-packed sequences. Leading the film is "Fast and Furious" star Vin Diesel, who portrays NAVY SEAL lieutenant Shane Wolfe. Despite following a cliché character trope, Diesel effectively embodies his character's toughness and courage, while also not shying away from showing the character's emotions and gentle side. The cast is rounded out by Lauren Graham, Brittany Snow, Max Thieriot, and Brad Garrett, whose talents elevate this film that might otherwise be generic.

The Rookie

Based on the life of former professional baseball pitcher Jim Morris, "The Rookie" is an underrated sports drama about second chances and never giving up on your dreams. After injuring his shoulder in his 20s, Jim Morris (Dennis Quaid) sets his pitching career aside and returns to his hometown to settle down and start a new life as a baseball coach. 12 years later, during batting practice with his high school baseball team, Jim's players get a glimpse of his impeccable pitching skills. Surprised by their coach's hidden talent, they urge him to try-out for the big leagues and not waste his talent in their small town. He eventually makes a deal with them where if the team wins a championship, he will try out for a major league organization. Now motivated by the goal of giving their coach the opportunity to achieve his dreams, the players shock everyone by delivering a top notch performance and the bet against their coach. This leaves Morris no other options but to confront his fears, and keep his end of the bargain.

Leading this inspiring underdog story is Dennis Quaid in the role of Jim Morris. Quaid perfectly embodies this science teacher and high school baseball coach, who gets another shot at reclaiming his younger self's dreams. Critics and audiences agreed, the critics consensus on Rotten Tomatoes declares "The Rookie" to be "a heart-warming sports flick." It hails from director John Lee Hancock, who gained recognition for his work on the 2002 film. Hancock went on to replicate his success with biographical dramas by directing three other critically-acclaimed films such as "The Blind Side," "Saving Mr. Banks," and "The Founder."

The Spiderwick Chronicles

"The Spiderwick Chronicles" is a fantasy adventure film based on Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi's children's book series of the same name. Following their parents divorce, the three Grace siblings move into a new home, the Spiderwick estate, which was inherited by their mother. One day, while snooping around the old house, rebellious twin Jared discovers a hidden book called the Field Guide, which belonged to the house's original owner Arthur Spiderwick. As he digs into the contents of the book, Jared finds himself in the middle of a fairytale adventure against an evil shape-shifting ogre Mulgarath, who will stop at nothing to obtain the tome.

"The Spiderwick Chronicles" was a hit with the critics, thanks to its whimsical and entertaining plot about three siblings, who discover an enchanting world of fairies that's filled with both beautiful and terrifying creatures. Future Golden Globe nominee Freddie Highmore carries the film in the dual roles of twin brothers Jared and Simon, which earned him praise for effectively capturing the imagination and heart of the story. It also features the voices of Seth Rogen and Martin Short, who play the respective roles of Hogsquel and Thimbletack, and not surprisingly offer a great deal of comic relief to the tale.

The Water Horse

"The Water Horse” is a heartwarming fantastical drama about the origins of the legendary mythical creature the Loch Ness Monster. Set against the background of World War II, the film revolves around Angus MacMorrow, a young boy, who discovers an unusually large and mysterious egg while strolling along the shore of Loch Ness, Scotland. Soon, it hatches before him, revealing a weird-looking but adorable creature, which Angus names as Crusoe. To protect his new friend, Angus tries his best to keep Crusoe a secret from others. However, as Crusoe keeps on growing and growing, he has no other choice but to release Crusoe back to the lake, where his life will be endangered once the locals get a hint of Crusoe's existence.

This 2007 family film garnered positive reviews by critics, as the critics consensus on Rotten Tomatoes declares that the movie "takes a classic tale and infuses it with extra imagination, sly humor, heart, and inventive special effects." Ultimately, this is a well-crafted coming-of-age story about friendship, selflessness, acceptance, and the importance of kindness, especially during dark times. The storyline is full of wonder, charm, and emotions, which is elevated by its amazing visuals and formidable acting performances from lead stars Alex Etel, Emily Watson, Ben Chaplin, David Morrissey, and Brian Cox. The main highlight of the film is the bond between Etel's Angus and Crusoe, who unexpectedly find comfort in each other's presence, which makes the story more grounded and relatable despite its fantasy aspect.

The Witches (1990)

Based on Roald Dahl's classic children's novel, "The Witches" is a dark fantasy film about a young boy, who gets transformed into a mouse by a bunch of children-hating evil witches. Following the sudden death of his parents, 8-year-old Luke Eveshim moves to London with his beloved grandmother Helga, who tells him what she knows about witches after encountering one when she was just a child. To relieve some stress, Luke and his grandmother decide to spend the summer at a seaside hotel. Unbeknownst to them, a witch convention — disguised as the Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children — is also taking place at the same hotel. When Luke accidentally discovers the Grand High Witch's plans of turning every child in England into a mouse, he suddenly finds himself forced to be her first test case. With his mouse transformation complete and time running out, Luke tries to stop the witches from enacting their diabolical plan.

"The Witches" was a total hit with the critics, thanks to its entertaining, witty, and terrifically grim story. The brilliance of the movie comes in no small part from Oscar-winner Anjelica Huston, whose appearance as the villainous and dark Grand High Witch predates her iconic turn as Morticia in "The Addams Family" by a year. Here, Huston delivers a wickedly great performance, which is a highlight of the 1990 adaptation. The impeccable special practical effects featured in the film were supervised by the late Jim Henson, making this the last film that the famous puppeteer had personally worked on before his death (via HOME) just one week before the film's release (via The New York Times).

Treasure Planet

"Treasure Planet" is a 2002 coming-of-age fantasy film about a teenage boy going on the space adventure of a lifetime, as he searches for the titular legendary planet that's "the loot of a thousand worlds." 15-year-old troublemaker Jim Hawkins receives a mysterious sphere from a dying stranger. Soon, he discovers that the sphere is actually a map that will lead them to the fabled Treasure Planet. Along with a trusted family friend Dr. Delbert Doppler, Jim embarks on a once–in-a-lifetime intergalactic treasure hunt. Doppler enlists Captain Amelia and her crew of the ship RLS Legacy to help them reach their destination. During his journey, Jim meets the friendly but mysterious John Silver, the ship's half-robot cook, who forms  a special bond with him.

"Treasure Planet" features an all-star cast of voice actors, including a young Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emma Thompson, David Hyde Pierce, Brian Murray, Martin Short, Laurie Metcalf. It is a bit mind-boggling how underrated this film is, especially when it features one of the most beautiful and cinematic animations ever. On top of its remarkable visuals, it also offers an engaging and charming storyline filled with action and heart. One of the film's highlights is the epic montage right before its climax, which is set to the Goo Goo Dolls song "I'm Still Here."

Despite all the great things about this 2002 sci fi adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic "Treasure Island," this Disney animated flick was considered a box office bomb. The movie earned just under $110 million worldwide against its reported $140 million budget (via Box Office Mojo), which The Los Angeles Times declared in 2014 made it one of the costliest flops of all time.

We Bought a Zoo

Oscar-winning filmmaker Cameron Crowe directed Matt Damon in "We Bought a Zoo," a family comedy drama film about overcoming grief and finding the courage to follow your dreams. Following the death of his wife, Benjamin Mee is having a hard time managing household responsibilities and keeping up with his two kids: rebellious 14-year-old Dylan and sweet 7-year-old Rosie. Benjamin decides to quit his job as a journalist to build a new life for his family, and he finally finds the perfect home for them in the countryside. The only catch is, it comes with a closed-down zoo containing 47 animal species within it, and the zoo is in dire need of management and renovation in order to reopen. This new challenge will either help him and his family heal from their recent tragedy, or further damage his relationship with his grieving son.

This movie marked Crowe's comeback after a six-year hiatus from directing scripted drama films (via The Seattle Times). Based on Benjamin Mee's 2008 memoir of the same name, this movie offers a wholesome and feel-good story about a family trying to reconnect and move through their grief. Damon, who delivers a solid leading performance, is also joined by a stellar cast including Scarlett Johansson, Elle Fanning, Thomas Haden Church, and Colin Ford. While the film got mixed reviews from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, audiences seemed to respond a bit better to the movie's themes of bonding with family, pursuing your dreams, and finding hope in unexpected places.


A unique collaboration between filmmakers Ron Howard and George Lucas, "Willow" is a dark fantasy film about an unlikely hero, who ventures upon a dangerous mission to accompany a child of great destiny to her rightful place. In this 1988 film, the children of amateur sorcerer Willow Ufgood discover an infant girl with a rune birthmark by the river, near their village of Nelwyn. Willow and his family bring the baby into their home, without knowing how important the child is. Meanwhile, Queen Bavmorda orders her minions to find and kill the baby that has a special birthmark, since that child is prophesied as the one who will end Bavmorda's evil reign over Nockmaar. Soon, Willow learns about the true significance of the baby and fearlessly volunteers to safely deliver her to a more capable warrior that could protect her. What comes next is a fantastical and touching adventure, as Willow encounters different types of creatures and characters along the way, while going beyond his own limits and boundaries just to keep the baby safe.

Despite the mixed critical reviews, "Willow" stands out as an underrated gem thanks to its highly imaginative and charming storyline that is full of action and magical adventure. Leading the film is the brilliant Warwick Davis, whose phenomenal performance as a kind and brave hero makes him the heart of the story. He is joined by Val Kilmer's Madmartigan, a mercenary swordsman; Patricia Hayes' Fin Raziel, an aging sorceress; Joanne Whalley's Sorsha, a ruthless warrior; and Jean Marsh's Queen Bavmorda, who gives a wonderfully wicked performance as the film's main antagonist.


"Wolfwalkers" is an animated fantasy about two young girls, who can shapeshift into wolves while they're asleep. Robyn Goodfellowe is a young English girl, who aspires to become a great hunter like her father Bill Goodfellowe. Robyn and her father travel to the small town of Kilkenny in Ireland, where Bill has been tasked to kill the wolves that are disrupting the Lord Protector's clearing operation of the forest. While secretly following her father to the woods in the hopes of hunting down a wolf herself, Robyn meets a mysterious wild girl named Mebh, who bites. Robyn soon finds herself transforming into a wolf at night, which leads her to form a strong friendship with Mebh, who teaches her how to be a wolfwalker.

"Wolfwalkers" features a beautiful, endearing, and enjoyable storyline about friendship, nature, and family told through its stunningly unique visual 2D animation. The film also serves as a commentary on colonialism and humanity's disregard against the laws of nature, particularly the rights of animals, in order to make way for personal gains and desires. It's ridiculous how underrated this film is, especially when it currently holds near-perfect ratings on both its Tomatomater and Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes.


After making his feature directorial debut with the 2012 adaptation of "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," Stephen Chbosky helmed another heartwarming coming-of-age drama in the form of the 2017 film "Wonder." Based on R.J. Palacio's children's novel of the same name, the story begins with Auggie, a 10-year-old boy, who's about to start school after years of being home-schooled. Auggie was born with facial deformities, and has never been to traditional school. But with the support and encouragement of his loving family, Auggie bravely enters the harsh and unknown world of middle school. Despite being met with uneasy looks and judgment from other kids, Auggie finds a friend in Jack. However, their friendship gets tested after an heartbreaking incident that leads Auggie to wonder if someone like him deserves to have friends.

"Wonder" is a sentimental and sweet story about friendship, kindness, and courage. The film garnered positive reviews for its heartwarming and emotional approach, which teaches viewers about acceptance. After a successful first leading role in the award-winning drama "Room," Jacob Tremblay showcases his talents again in "Wonder" with his portrayal of Auggie. Tremblay delivers a heartfelt and genuine performance as Auggie, which forms the heart of the film. He is joined by an award-winning cast including Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, Daveed Diggs, Sônia Braga, and Mandy Patinkin.

Yes Day

"Yes Day" is a family comedy drama based on the eponymous children's book by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld. Before becoming parents to three sweet but mischievous kids, Allison and Carlos were an adventurous couple, who always said "yes" to new experiences like skydiving, traveling the world, and rock climbing. However, as they've settled down into becoming responsible parents, now "no" is their favorite word. They realize how negatively this has affected their relationship with their kids, so Allison and Carlos agree to do a "Yes Day," where they aren't allowed to say "no" to their children for 24 hours. What comes next is a series of wild and fun activities, including driving through a carwash with the windows open, participating in an epic water balloon fight, and more.

Leading the film is Golden Globe-winner Jennifer Garner and Emmy nominee Édgar Ramírez, who both bring energetic performances to the roles of Allison and Carlos Torres. The lively, charming, and enjoyable film also features a cool cameo from Grammy and Oscar-winning artist H.E.R. as she sings a rendition of Four Tops' Motown hit "Baby I Need Your Loving" along with Garner.

Zathura: A Space Adventure

Before venturing into a galaxy far, far away, "The Mandalorian" creator Jon Favreau directed the coming-of-age sci-fi adventure film "Zathura: A Space Adventure." The film is set within the world of "Jumanji," serving as a standalone spin-off to the iconic 1995 film starring Robin Williams. Walter (Josh Hutcherson) and Danny (Jonah Bobo) are brothers, who are having a hard time getting along, as Walter tends to be mean towards his younger brother. When their father temporarily leaves for work, the both of them are left alone under the care of their ill-tempered older sister Lisa (Kristen Stewart). The three siblings stumble upon a mysterious board game called Zathura. They start playing, and strange things start happening ... like their entire house is now floating in space. Despite how dangerous the challenges might be, they must set their differences aside and win the game if they ever want to go back home.

Fans of "Jumanji" will love this "Jumanji"-esque film, which combines elements of family and adventure films. Critics enjoyed it too, with the critics consensus on Rotten Tomatoes calling this "cinematic satisfaction for the whole family." "Zathura" is an extremely underrated family movie that deserves more recognition for its great visual effects, high-stakes adventure, and fast-paced storytelling that has a lot of heart and good-natured humor.