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The results are in! Well, sort of--perhaps we should say the preliminary results are in; there's still time to let me know your favorites for a follow-up post. In the case of short term memory failure, allow me to remind you about Children of the 90s' impromptu polling for your favorite childhood movies. A few days back, we asked for your write-in votes for the movies you most loved growing up. That is, these movies don't necessarily have to be the most objectively good movies out there, but ones that effectively bring us back to our respective childhoods.
This list doesn't represent any actual empirical data; I'm willing to admit our methods were a bit haphazard. That's part of the fun, though. If you want your voice heard, lurkers, the comment section is beckoning. Don't stew quietly over the omission of your opinions--let us know. In the spirit of true interactivity, share a bit. Really, it's fun.
Based on those of you I did hear from, it's pretty fair to judge the way the readership demographic skews. Much to the chagrin of my boyfriend (who, to his credit, did his part in participating in this democratic experiment by submitting the only vote for Independence Day) this list speaks volumes on the female-dominated fan base here at Children of the 90s. Unless a major contingency of young men have a spot reserved in their hearts from A Little Princess and Troop Beverly Hills, it seems safe to surmise the majority of the voters are female. Sorry, guys. This is what happens if you don't comment. Lesson learned, I assume. No hard feelings.
Here are your choices, in some particular order. That's the opposite of no particular order, right? Whatever the expression that conveys they're sorted by tabulated votes but that Excel has alphabetized the ties. Don't fight it, it makes perfect sense. You with me? Great. Let's begin:
10. Camp Nowhere
When your and your friends' parents are dead set on sending you to variations on dreaded summer camp, you pretty much have no other option other than to stage an elaborate kid-run ruse rich in wacky misunderstanding and parent-free fun. If you can think of another solution, I'm willing to hear you out, but I'm almost positive this zany scheme is it--though it could possibly be classified as a last resort. Yes, I said resort, and it was totally a camp pun. Admit it, you loved it.
9. The Lion King
There was a surprising deficit of Disney in the write-in voting results, but I assume most of us take the animated films of the 90s' Disney Renaissance to be something of a given. Many of them not only won universal approval from indiscriminate children, but appealed to adults as well. The Lion King is a particularly creative and visually impressive film, full of deep messages for the parents and comic relief warthog farting references for the kiddos.
The 1982 film adaptation of the popular musical may have received mixed reviews from critics, but as kids anything with songs to sing along to ranked pretty high on our favorites. Plus, it gave us a great start on learning all the words to Jay Z's "Hard Knock Life" a decade and a half later. Even if we couldn't all relate to his experiences, we could at least pantomime sweeping along to the chorus like the orphans did in the movie.
Matilda differed in many ways from the original Roald Dahl story, giving us an Americanized and slightly toned-down version of the darkly humorous children's novel. Then-child star Mara Wilson stars as a prodigy raised by ignorant and uninterested parents in a sufficiently adorable way. They did manage to keep in a bit of the creepiness--I still occasionally have nightmares about being locked in the Chokey.
6. My Girl
Frequent movie cryers, rejoice. My Girl is one of those movies that made it okay to cry in the theater, most likely because everyone else was sobbing along with you. That's what they get for tragically killing off one of their lovable characters with a bee sting allergy--a flood of tears. Thankfully, the humor counter-balances the malady. If nothing else, we all learned to open our mouths, reveal our partially chewed food, and declare it "see-food."
5. A Little Princess
As a child, I wondered why I constantly confused this movie with The Secret Garden. Turns out they were both based on books written by Frances Hodgseon Burnett. Considering I read them both, you would think I would have put the pieces together. You would think wrong. In both of these films, I deeply envied the young girls' life in India and subsequent quiet coming of age adventures. I'm still torn on whether I'd rather have a key to an overgrown forgotten garden or be the most popular girl in boarding school. It's safe to say both remain fairly attractive options.
4. The Princess Bride
To those of you out there who told me you've never seen this one, you need to buckle down and settle in for a viewing. It's truly a classic, from its quirky characters to a preadolescent Fred Savage. The Princess Bride deftly maneuvers its positions as both a fairy tale in its own right and a parody of the genre. Needless to say, if you have not watched it since childhood, you might want to dust off the old VHS; it has a cleverness and wit we did not all pick up on as young kids.
3. Troop Beverly Hills
This movie was like girlhood gospel to my friends and I, so imagine my surprise to find it was absolutely ripped apart by critics. They refused to even crack a smile at Shelly Long's ridiculous get-ups or the "Cookie Time" song. The only likely verdict is that they all have hearts of stone. That "Cookie Time" song is pure gold.
2. Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead
Films we loved as kids defy a need for logic, usually requiring a heaping helping of suspension of disbelief. Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead is a classic example, with its that-would-absolutely-never-happen premise and the dumping of their old lady babysitter's body on the steps of a funeral home. Aside from all of that, it's a fun movie that appeals to kids in the classic no-parents style. Sue Ellen Crandell is still my fashion icon, just for the record.
This was the standout winner in our pseudo-scientific poll, receiving by far the most votes for favorite childhood movie. It's no wonder we all loved it so much, considering its impact on our generation. Without Cher Horowitz, who knows? We may never have uttered the words "As if!" while wearing a pair of knee socks. A sad prospect, indeed.
Honorable Mentions: TMNT, Neverending Story, Mrs. Doubtfire, All of the Home Alone Movies--unfortunately none of you could agree on which one was the foremost contender in the series, diluting the votes over the three installments. Better luck next time, Home Alone fans. I recommend banding together with purpose next time around.