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Busy, Smart and Strong: ‘Essential’ movies your kids ‘must’ see before they’re 13 (or it could kill them)

OK, I made up that last part. But the headline I read gave me pause. 55 movies! Really? 55?!

That works out to roughly four of these “essential” movies per year from the time a child is born until they become a teen. And that’s if you start them off before they turn 1, when they won’t remember them anyway. So let’s revise the math and start this at, say, 4 years old? Now we’re up to roughly six “essential” movies a year. Factor in the current movies that they’re going to want to see plus television, and that’s a heck of a lot of screen time!

I get the reasoning — that these movies are filled with pop culture, which has become part of the fabric of our lives. Could you imagine not knowing the reference “To Infinity…and Beyond” if someone brought that up in a business meeting one day? There are just some things ya gotta know! The other reasoning is that there is a bit of a history lesson, a “Jeopardy” version, in many of them. And, the list is varied enough to introduce your kids to the many facets of acting, movie-making and movie watching.

There are some on the list I’d call good, but not essential. “The Iron Giant” is a great movie and we bought it and my kids watched it over and over, but it is not essential. Nor is “Finding Nemo” — again a great one that is a personal favorite, but not essential following that reasoning. And there are some that are left off the list. Where’s “Gone With the Wind”? “Jaws”? Kids can handle those by the time they’re 13, especially if your list includes “Titanic” and a warning to go to the kitchen for a snack at one particular spot.

Do you agree with the list? What’s missing? What doesn’t need to be there?

And, by the way, I found a few on there I haven’t even seen. I plan to rent “Singin’ in the Rain” as soon as possible. I already know there’s an umbrella and Gene Kelly though!