Weekend Roundtable: Movies Kids Force You to Watch

If you have kids, or at least have ever spent a lot of time with young children, you should well understand the way they get fixated on certain movies and watch them over and over again. As a result, you’ll wind up watching them over and over again as well, to the point of exhaustion. What movies have you had to suffer through in order to placate the kids in your life?

Mike Attebery

I don’t know that I’m sick of them, but before I had a daughter, I would NEVER have thought I would be able to tolerate Pixar’s ‘Cars’ movies. When they first came out, they seemed like the epitome of mindless kids’ entertainment and the downfall of Pixar. She’s not so interested in them now, but once my daughter was old enough to request movies and TV shows, there was a long stretch where ‘Cars‘ and ‘Cars 2‘ were some of her favorites. The funny thing is, if there’s something that makes my daughter extremely happy, I have a very hard time finding fault in it.

M. Enois Duarte

When my daughter was in grade school, I let her watch my VHS tapes of ‘Ren & Stimpy’ and ‘Beetlejuice’. She instantly fell in love with them and would constantly watch them over and over again every morning during her summer breaks. Thankfully, I could watch those shows repeatedly and never be tired of them. The real problem began in the late ’90s when ‘The Powerpuff Girls‘ came out, and my daughter immediately became a fanatic. At first, I enjoyed the show’s quirkiness and oddness while also seeming like an animated series out of the 1960s.

However, after year two of watching many of the same episodes again and again, the show lost its charm and humor. When the eventual theatrical movie came out, of course, we had to watch it on the silver screen. It wasn’t a bad experience, but I found myself yawning a lot and even dozing off a couple times while my daughter watched in complete bliss, an immovable, trance-like stare that gobbled up all the pretty colors. To be perfectly honest, as bored as I was, it was well worth it just to witness that beautiful smirk of utter, innocent joy from seeing her favorite characters on the big screen.

Luke Hickman

Over the years, my daughters have taken to two movies they repeatedly watched like crazy: one of which I’m basically done with and, oddly, one that never burned me out because it’s just perfect.

The burned-out movie is ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas‘. No matter the season or holiday, they ALWAYS wanted to watch it. I admire and adore the film, but I’ve seen it a few times more than I should have. Maybe I’ll be ready to give it another shot in ten years.

The title that wasn’t able to burn me out was ‘WALL•E‘. There’s something – many things, in fact – that make it timeless. When my girls attached to it and started repeat viewings, I worried that I’d get fried, but that never happened. It’s just as entertaining to watch now as it was the first time I saw it.

Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)

I’m not a parent, but I did (well, still do) have a sister.

Having been born at the tail-end of the 1970s, I grew up around VCRs but never took to watching the same movies obsessively. I’m not sure I really had the option. My sister was born in 1981, and it was an altogether different story there. My father was an A/V nut back in those days. We had no shortage of VCRs, and since Macrovision wasn’t a thing yet, we’d copy every single thing we rented. He made Nicky a tape that had ‘Dumbo‘, a bunch of random ‘Merry Melodies’ cartoons, and ‘Strawberry Shortcake in Big Apple City’, and she watched it start to finish every single day. She could recite every line in ‘Dumbo’ word for word, and even though I probably can’t tell you what I had for lunch today, I still have entire sequences of that Strawberry Shortcake special forever seared in my brain.

A few years later, she’d do the same thing with ‘Labyrinth‘, which I was subjected to so much growing up that it took me something like twenty years until I could bring myself to watch it again. (It’s a favorite now!)

Josh Zyber

My kids are still young enough that they don’t understand the distinction between movies and TV shows. Most of what we let them consumer is TV content. They can watch episodes of ‘Sesame Street’, ‘Yo Gabba Gabba’ or ‘Paw Patrol’ ad nauseam.

My son Thomas in particular is obsessed with cars, trucks and vehicles of any sort. When their grandmother gave the boys a collection of Disney storybooks, he immediately gravitated to those based on Pixar’s ‘Cars‘, even without having seen the movie. Not long after that, the movie aired on cable and we recorded it on our DVR. The boys have watched that recording innumerable times since then – usually only in half-hour chunks, because their attention span doesn’t last much longer than that.

As an adult, ‘Cars’ has never been one of my favorite Pixar efforts, but the first movie is pretty tolerable and has a genuine sweetness and warmth. I can deal with the repetition of that one. I dread the day when my sons are old enough to comprehend the notion of a sequel and demand to see the wretched ‘Cars 2’. One viewing of that was as much as I think I’ll ever be able to take.

What movies have kids driven you crazy by watching again and again? Do you remember which movies you were obsessed with at a young age?


  1. NJScorpio

    This is why, when looking for films for your children to watch, you should just skip the kiddie fare and jump right into the classics. ‘Easy Rider’, ‘Blazing Saddles’, ‘Gone With the Wind’, ”West Side Story’, ‘The Graduate’, ‘Midnight Cowboy’, ‘Raging Bull’, ‘Exodus’, ‘Apocalypse Now’, ‘North By North West’…I’m very grateful I was exposed to some pretty significant classics at a VERY early age. I didn’t see stuff like ‘Willy Wonka’ until I was a senior in high school, and classmates were being nostalgic for children’s films they grew up watching. Sure, I caught some of these on cable…but at the age where my parents had full control over what I watched, they didn’t want to watch cartoons with no substance, and I don’t blame them!

  2. Csm101

    The first movie my daughter made me watch repeatedly with her was The Nightmare Before Christmas, she was maybe one year old when she discovered it on my bluray shelf and would point at it and say “baw” (it was the one with Jack Skellington’s head on the cover). As soon as it would finish, I would have to restart it. I’m very grateful for this, because I had never paid too much attention to it before she discovered it. This went on for a very long time. I had never cared too much for Toy Story 2 but I now have a special appreciation for it because of the countless times I saw my daughter enjoying it. Aside from those two, Jurassic Park III, Jaws, Godzilla vs. Hedorah, Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla II, Fantasia, Land of the Lost (to her it was Grumpy) and Little Mermaid were in constant rotation in my household and at my in laws when they were watching her while my wife and I would be working. There have been dozens upon dozens of cycles we’ve gone through with all the Pixar, Disney, kid friendly, and not so kid friendly films you can think of that we have watched repeatedly throughout the eight years my daughter has been with us, but the ones mentioned above have an extra special place in my daughter’s earliest developmental years, in my opinion. In more recent years it’s been Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters 2 (I can’t believe she really likes that one) Pacific Rim, Scream, Jeepers Creepers, the Sharknado movies, Harry Potter. At any given moment, she’ll ask me to pop any of those in. This past week, we’ve been watching the shit out of Zootopia, especially before bed time. I kind of feel the same as Atteberry stated above about finding fault in something my daughter is enjoying so much.

    • Thats quite a list of movies there…..but um…Scream and Jeepers Creepers for an 8 year old? thats definitely an interesting set of choices there and before that Jaws and Jurassic Park III? I get stuff like Nightmare before Christmas but those ones are definitely not movies my son will watch until he’s much much older, being almost 5 I would never think of showing those movies to him, even Ghostbusters 1 & 2 are off limits due to the pretty bad language and adult situations in those, they were definitely the product of 80s PG films, I have quite a few of those I cant wait to watch with him but not until he’s quite a ways into grade school, he will get exposure enough to bad language at that point, no need to introduce it sooner 🙂

  3. I don’t have any children (yet), but looking back on my own childhood, I saw each Disney tape over and over. When I discovered ‘Back to the Future’ in 1995, it became the first tape I literally destroyed by watching it so much. I still have the VHS copy (of course), but it’s a snowy mess.

  4. EM

    I’m not a parent or even a sibling, but I’ve had some young children figure prominently in my adult life. I have a friend whose children I first met when the kids were 10 and 6, and in fact the occasion of our meeting was that we were all going to see The Iron Giant together. So, the notion that I was a grown-up who was into movies was established at the very beginning of our relationship. I remember later that year—sometime after we’d caught Toy Story 2 together—there was some discussion about the upcoming Bicentennial Man, and I said I wasn’t interested in going. When the younger boy asked, “Why not?!?”, I hesitated a moment to frame an answer, but my friend jumped in and expressed it very well: “[EM] is very particular about what he sees.”

    And I think that description helped define my character for those kids. Whether in theaters, at my home, or at theirs, I often shared movies and TV shows with them…but I did so with discernment. I was happy to listen to the kids’ viewing suggestions and preferences, but I didn’t let them goad me into watching something I didn’t think I would enjoy. And I think they usually did enjoy the movies and TV I introduced to them. I think they even learned to trust my judgment, or at least give it the benefit of the doubt.

    I feel that as a non-parent honorary-uncle type, I have enjoyed the advantages usually attributed to grandparents, without having had to go through long years of parenthood to finally get to that point. Grandparents get to “sugar ’em up and send ’em home”; likewise, I get to have fun with the kids, then let their parents deal with nuisances such as bedwetting, uncompleted chores, and inane movies repeated ad nauseam.

    • What a lovely story. If my math skills are up to sniff, these kids are now 27 and 23. Do you still see them? Still watch movies with them? Are you still EM The Honorary Uncle to them?

      • EM

        Thank you, it’s gratifying that a story that ends with the word nauseam can be deemed lovely.

        You are correct in your math and your release-date trivia. I don’t see the 23-year-old often—he’s busy with his grown-up life, and I might see him once or twice a year—but I see the 27-year-old frequently. He’s squarely on the autism spectrum, and he could use some assistance in various pursuits. When he finished high school, I showed him how to get around town a bit on foot to some points of interest, because otherwise his life was just at home, at work, and wherever else his family took him. My effort helped, but he still could use ongoing guidance. I often make arrangements for us to attend movie screenings, sometimes at mainstream theaters but more often at arthouse venues (often older films), and we sometimes watch movies and classic TV at my home. I also take him to concerts, museum exhibits, Halloween haunted houses, whatever. He has a lot of intellectual curiosity, and fortunately we have a lot of overlap in our tastes. His mother asked me to take him on a vacation somewhere, and so we’ve been planning a week at Disney World, probably early next year. Previously the plan was for me to take him to Paris, but his family got antsy about terrorism. Last night I happened to mention the Disney World trip to his mother, and she didn’t say anything about shooters or alligators, and so I guess the trip is still on.

        Nowadays those “kids” have another, much younger brother, who just turned 9 last week. He’s even more deeply autistic than Mr. 27. I don’t see the nine-year-old quite so often, but I make efforts. Last fall at my suggestion he and I and his family saw The Peanuts Movie together. The reason Disney World was mentioned last night was that his mother and I were discussing Finding Dory, which we might go to see next weekend. For his birthday I gave him a collection of Walt Disney’s silent Oswald the Lucky Rabbit shorts, which he loved. We’ll see how this lad’s story develops.

        • Really heartwarming and nice to read, EM. Sounds like you’re one awesome honorary uncle. Some days will surely be extra hard for the parents (taking care of two children that require special attention), so it’s great they have you to take some pressure off their daily lives and have you spend time with their offspring. Highly commendable.

          • EM

            Ha ha, sometimes I don’t get with the kids because the logistics would put too much pressure on the family!

  5. The One movie my son loves the most and what we’ve probably watched the most is the Ducktales movie, thats one I never really get tired of myself, its a classic from my childhood, but otherwise we dont watch too many movies too many times yet, he really likes a lot of his cartoon shows and he watches episodes of them much more, right now he’s watching PJ Masks and he loves anything Scooby Doo with monsters 🙂

    But we’ve seen just about every Disney and Pixar movie and anytime he wants to watch either Cars films I’m down as I love those personally, the first one is one of my all time favorite Pixar movies, I love the characters, easy and relaxing story and the message it puts out there, especially in today’s society

  6. William Henley

    No kids of my own, and kids who have been in my life (goddaughter and godson and their friends, my cousins, etc) generally did not wear out tapes and such – when I had them, we would generally play or do activities, and very seldom would we watch television together. Although my goddaughter was obsessed with Suite Life of Zack and Cody and she couldn’t DVR the show – oh no, she had to watch it when it originally aired, which was usually when I had her. Luckily, I just put up with the 30 minutes of that show, then we would play video games, or go to the park, or something like that.

    As for me, I think my earliest obsession was Pac-Man. I was about six when we got a VCR, and didn’t have much for it. Ghostbusters and Star Wars got wore out, and I always recorded Muppet Babies and watched it over and over again.

    As a preteen, it was Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventures

    I think as a teenager, the only movie I remember being obsessed with that I watched over and over again was Jurassic Park. To this day, it is still one of my favorites, and I have probably seen it more than any other movie – I am sure it has been at least 50 times. i saw it six times in the theater when it originally ran (DTS just wowed me!), and I saw it at the IMax when it was rereleased in 3D, and I must say, Jurassic Park has got to be my favorite ever 3D conversion – it really adds a lot to the experience.

    In College, I wore out Terminator 2 (the first DVD I got after getting a player), The Matrix (that was interesting – the DVD had multi angle shots, and the early DVD code for Linux did not properly know how to handle it – it was probably the only time I submitted code back to the open source community and it got accepted (granted, it was fixing about a dozen lines of code – it was in place, just had bugs in it)), and Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life (still my favorite Monty Python movie, although it just barely outscores Holy Grail for me, and I didn’t have a copy of Holy Grail in college). That was also the time in my life that I discovered Anime, and became obsessed with Sailor Moon (in the original Japanese), Dragonball Z, Oh My Goddess, and a few other shows. I did watch Sailor Moon over a few times (that’s saying something – it takes a while to go through 200 episodes, so considering I got through the entire series more than once, more than twice, is dedication!)

    Since college, I just don’t have time to watch movies again and again. I may watch something, and put it back on the shelf for a year or two before I get around to it again (some movies much longer – not sure why I continue to buy instead of just renting, I would save a fortune). As an adult, I think the movies I watch more than once a year are Sound of Music, Dune and Jurassic Park, and once a year, I have a Harry Potter marathon. As for television shows, the only one I will watch episodes again and again is Bringing Up Bates (just don’t really have time for any others, but I REALLY like that show).

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