At the request of Damian, this is a guide for parents or older siblings who are wondering what they should put on TV for their kids to keep them entertained, and maybe even help them learn something. Don’t get me wrong, everyone loves a Will Ferrell movie, but once you’re watching Daddy’s Home followed by Get Hard, it’s easy for parents to get bored. So this is a guide of what I did watch, and what I wish I’d watched when I was younger, before I was really into films, but when I’d outgrown Disney a bit, between the ages of 11 and 15. Chuck any of these on, and hopefully it’ll give you some peace and quiet for a few hours.
There’s no better time than a lockdown to crack through some of the superhero films you haven’t got to yet. Most people have seen at least something from the MCU, and they’re all excellent, so if there’s any you’ve missed then check them out. For children, Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man and Thor: Ragnarok are probably the highlights, as are all the team-up films. They’re great for parents too, and will keep you entertained for hours.
If you’re looking for something a bit more high-brow, and more mature, go to Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. Starting with Batman Begins, the trilogy offers a darker look at the genre. I remember watching The Dark Knight with my mum, and although the Joker did scare me, I still loved the film. Deadpool is hilarious too, but probably more for teenagers, and Logan is a sad, sombre look at superheroes.
There are only so many Dwayne Johnson/Jason Statham/Vin Diesel movies one can stomach. I love action films, but sometimes mindless explosions is just boring. The Lord of the Rings trilogy is always worth visiting, as is Avatar. Moving more to something more thoughtful, Inception is worth a go, although the plot is complicated, so be prepared for questions! Any of the Star Wars are worth a watch if your kids haven’t seen them yet, as are the new Bond ones. Baby Driver is also a sleeper, your kids will love it. Those should all be suitable for younger children.
If we’re looking a bit more adult, towards teenagers, then really the possibilities are limitless. The Bourne trilogy or the John Wick trilogy are shining examples of action done well. Dunkirk, Zombieland, and Shutter Island are worth checking out too.
I remember my parents showing me Ferris Bueller’s Day Off when I was younger, and I was adamant that I didn’t want to watch it because it was old. They forced me, and I’m glad they did because it’s amazing. It’s hilarious, and perfect for all the family. The Other Guys is one of my favourites, as is Happy Gilmore.
Unfortunately, a lot of the best comedies are more rude, and more suitable for teenagers. 21 Jump Street and its sequel are amazing, and Hot Fuzz is also one of the best comedies ever made. Step Brothers and The Hangover are also essential viewing.
These might be more slow, and might be more adult films that your kids will tolerate, but oh well, you need to watch something you like too! I watched The Departed aged 14 and it was quite honestly a life-changing experience. It’s potentially the reason why I’m two years into an English and Film degree now, and why I want to make films for a living. The Martian is also great, and really entertaining. Moving into more adult territory, definitely for teenagers and parents, Nightcrawler, Get Out, Us, Drive and No Country for Old Men are very dark and unsettling at times, but really well-worth the watch.
I watched Chuck when I was about 11, and rewatched it over the last few months with Zaveri, and it cemented itself as probably my favourite show of all time. It’s great for all the family, and is definitely suitable for young children. There’s five seasons of it, so it’ll keep you going for weeks.
Hustle is a British show about con-men which is also highly entertaining. Each episode is an hour long, and it’s very easy to drop in and out of. There are a number of BBC shows worth checking out. Sherlock is great for kids, as is His Dark Materials, an adaptation of the Phillip Pulman books I loved so much as a child. Comedy-wise, you can’t go wrong with any of the big sitcoms. Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Office, The Good Place, How I Met Your Mother, Parks and Rec, are all just as entertaining as a child or as a parent, and there’s something really nice about settling into a boxset together.
I hope all that helps everyone. If you want any personal recommendations, or have a specific type of film in mind but can’t think what, then let me know and I’ll try and help! It’s also worth noting that while I remember all this stuff being suitable for kids, I may not remember scenes that could be explicit or graphic. Before watching any of these films with your children, it’s worth looking it up on IMDB. If you search the film, click on the “more” button on the black tab, then click on the Parent Guide, it’ll give you a full rundown on everything that happens that could be unsuitable for kids.