Childhood can basically be divided into three parts: (1.) Too young for movies, (2.) Only interested in cartoons and, (3.) Finally able to appreciate a great live action comedy, hallelujah. My kids haven’t quite reached that Holy Grail yet, but when they do, I’ll be ready. Here are some of the funniest movie moments that I can’t wait to share with them (and they’d better laugh, or I’ll be crushed).
If your kids are ready to crack up at some classics, the full feature films are all available on Hulu right now, so you don’t even have to leave the house to make tonight an awesome movie night.
Thanksgiving Play / Addams Family Values
The movie versions of the classic TV show about a ghoulish family were brilliantly cast, especially Christina Ricci as the dark and bitter preteen Wednesday Addams. In this hit sequel, which many reviewers thought was even better than the first Addams Family movie, Wednesday is exiled to a peppy summer camp and forced to perform as Pocahontas in the camp’s Thanksgiving play. She hijacks the proceedings and gives the play a very different ending, involving sharp commentary on white privilege and a lot of fire. Don’t mess with Wednesday.
Sandy Claws / The Nightmare Before Christmas
Halloween and Christmas collide in Tim Burton’s funny/spooky stop-motion animation musical. Jack Skellington, the ghoulish pumpkin king of Halloween Town, loves to scare people. But when he accidentally discovers a secret portal to Christmas Town, he is moved by the Christmas spirit and wants to be a part of it. And what better way to immerse himself in Christmas than to kidnap Santa and take over his job? Of course, the people of Christmas Town are not expecting to see a gangly skeleton slide down their chimneys. In one funny scene, Jack, all dressed up as “Sandy Claws,” earnestly delivers a present to a small boy. Unfortunately, that present is a shrunken head. Boo!
Prank War / The Parent Trap
When Nick (Dennis Quaid) and Elizabeth (Natasha Richardson) get divorced, they decide to split up their identical twins girls, so each parent can have custody of one. They move far away from each other, and keep the other twin’s existence a secret–because that’s a totally normal thing to do, right? No matter. Years later, when Hallie and Annie (both played by an adorable Lindsay Lohan) are 11, they accidentally meet at summer camp and figure the whole thing out. But it’s not love at first sight for the twins, who are only identical on the outside. Brash American twin Hallie (her theme song is “Bad to the Bone”) beats refined British twin Annie at poker, forcing Annie to skinny dip while Hallie steals her clothes. Annie retaliates by moving Hallie’s bed onto the roof of her bunk. Kids love pranks, but don’t let yours try these at home!
Goldberg the Goalie / The Mighty Ducks
Don’t you hate it when this happens? You get a DUI and the judge sentences you to coaching a scrappy Bad News Bears-esque ice hockey team. Luckily, Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez) is up to the task, with unorthodox coaching tactics that will turn this rag tag bunch of hooligans into winners. In one memorable scene, Gordon helps Goldberg the Goalie overcome his fear of getting hit by tying him to the goal cage. The entire team shoots and scores on a panicked Goldberg until he realizes that his helmet and pads are actually keeping him safe, and that he has what it takes to be a great goalie.
Serenade / Freaky Friday
Single mom Tess (Jamie Lee Curtis) and her teenaged daughter Anna (Lindsay Lohan) never see eye to eye, but that’s all about to change when they accidentally switch bodies and learn what it’s like to be each other. In one of the funniest scenes of an overall very funny movie, Anna’s crush Jake (Chad Michael Murray) starts to fall for Tess–despite the middle-aged mom bod–because, of course, it’s really Anna. That doesn’t make it any less awkward when Jake serenades Tess with an out of tune rendition of Britney Spears’ “Baby One More Time,” a call-back to a flirtatious conversation they’d had at a cafe. It’s Anna (really Tess) who has to tackle Jake in front of her house to make it stop.
Die Laughing / Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
A lot of the humor in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? comes from its wholly original premise: cartoon characters live among us (in Toontown) and can interact freely with humans. Our story begins with Roger Rabbit wrongfully accused of murder and private investigator Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins) reluctantly agreeing to help free him. Eddie initially suspects Roger’s femme fatale wife, Jessica Rabbit (voiced memorably by Kathleen Turner), but eventually she and Roger are captured by the real villain and tied up in a warehouse. In a stroke of genius, Eddie realizes he can distract the gun-wielding cartoon henchmen by making them laugh, so he purposely slips on a banana peel and juggles cannon balls that land on his head, essentially becoming a human cartoon, and victim to the kind of slapstick violence we usually see on Bugs Bunny. But oof–how much more painful (and funny) when it happens to a flesh and blood person.
The Hokey Pokey / Honey I Blew Up the Kid
What’s harder to manage than a toddler? How about a 100 foot tall toddler? An inventor (Rick Moranis) has a little whoopsie in the science lab, accidentally pointing an enlarger ray at his son, and the results are hugely hilarious. It’s hard to pick just one classic scene, but now that I’m a parent, I love the part where Mom and Dad try to keep their giant baby calm by doing the hokey pokey, only his massive footsteps cause the whole house to shake and send the nosy neighbors into a tizzy.
Dog Disaster / Air Bud
Air Bud is best known as a movie about a basketball-playing dog, but its funniest scene actually precedes that amazing discovery. Josh, a lonely 12-year-old whose family has just moved to town, befriends a lovable stray dog and names him Buddy. The dog is supposed to hide in Josh’s room so his mom doesn’t find out, but Buddy has other ideas, chasing a basketball through the living room which is loaded with obstacles like ladders, open cans of paint, and a big tub of wallpaper glue. Uh oh! Everything falls like dominos, leaving an enormous mess, which is not a great first impression for Buddy to make on Josh’s mom, but it’s a total giggle-fest for kids.