To Kids, Every Movie Is a Great Movie

One thing I've learned as chief movie-picker and media curator for my kids: Don’t trust young children when they first say they have no interest in seeing a particular kids' movie.

In fact, of all the movies I've ever shown my kids, from excellent (Up, Kung Fu Panda) to execrable (Inspector Gadget, Monsters vs. Aliens), they've only come away unimpressed by one: Wall-E, one of the most-lauded family movies of the past decade. It's also one of the least pandering, which is perhaps why it left my kids somewhat bored.

Most recently, I offered Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, one of the worst-reviewed movies of 2007, to my twin girls, 7. They were leaning toward a umpteenth viewing of The Princess Bride, but I promised we could switch after 15 minutes if they didn't like it. (It's an offer I've made many, many times, but never had to carry out.)

Even I was curious to see Dustin Hoffman do a poor man's Willy Wonka.

The girls loved Magorium, per the rule above, and made a hard sell to their 10-year-old brother for a viewing the next weekend. He grumpily preferred Alvin and the Chipmunks, but I knew he'd enjoy it as much if not more than his sisters did.

"It's about a magic toy store," I said.

He paused.

"It also stars the woman who played Queen Amidala," I offered. "And the guy from All the President's Men," I said, just to amuse myself.

Following a super-condensed explanation of Watergate, I got my son to agree.

And this is how Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, which only 27% of Rotten Tomatoes' top critics liked, became all three of my kids' "favorite movie ever"... for the week of February 8, 2010.

Alvin, Simon, and Theodore, get ready. You're next.

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