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The top 5 movies that shaped our childhoods

Movies that shaped our childhood graphic

Many ‘90s kids will argue that they had some of the best movie releases of all time, but here’s a ranking of the top five children’s movies of the 2000’s to prove them wrong. This list is ranked upon the quality of the movie’s overall message, enjoyability and how likely we would be to rewatch it with our kids in the future.

No. 5: “Lemonade Mouth” (2011)

The first movie on my list is about a group of five high school students who form a band aptly named after its respective title. Olivia (Bridgit Mendler), Wen (Adam Hicks), Mo (Naomi Scott), Charlie (Blake Michael) and Stella (Hayley Kiyoko) all meet after ending up in detention for various reasons. Over the course of the film, you learn important lessons about self-expression and standing up for what you believe in. This movie is pretty good in terms of sending a good message to kids, but overall, it’s viewed as cheesy and could use a better plotline.

I would watch this movie if there was nothing else interesting on TV, but unless my children discovered this gem in the depths of the internet, I wouldn’t plan on showing this to them. The soundtrack goes hard, with anthems like “Determinate” and “She’s So Gone,” but it isn’t enough to compensate for the subpar acting.

No. 4: “Shrek” (2001)

A movie nearly everyone has at least heard of, “Shrek” is a film about an outcast ogre who goes on a quest to rescue a princess from her tower in order to regain the privacy of his swamp from Lord Farquaad. This movie teaches a great message about judging people based on their appearance, despite using jokes strictly about the appearance of different characters throughout the movie.

I watch this movie on a regular basis for the memes and Eddie Murphy’s rendition of “I’m A Believer” alone (not to mention the eighth wonder of the world that is “All Star” by Smash Mouth), but I can definitely see myself showing this Dreamworks masterpiece to my kids in 15 years. I probably would have given this movie a higher ranking if it weren’t as overlooked for purely being a meme on the internet.

No. 3: “Cars” (2006)

My No. 3 movie on this list goes to “Cars,” a film about racing car Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) and his time spent in Radiator Springs as he grows as a character. While he repairs the damaged roads, he becomes friends with the vehicles of Radiator Springs and learns valuable lessons about how the journey is more important than crossing the finish line. Lightning and his friends taught us that it’s OK to slow down every once in a while.

This movie introduced me to both “Life Is a Highway” by Rascal Flatts and Owen Wilson saying “Wow,” so that alone makes this one of my favorite children’s movies. This is a great movie for a rainy day when you don’t feel like rewatching “Friends” or “The Office” for the umpteenth time.

No. 2: “UP” (2009)

A heart-warming tale about Carl and Russell, an elderly man and young scout who go on an adventure planned by Carl and his late wife, Ellie, is a wonderful film about finding your own adventure. This movie has a great message about how it’s never too late to conquer your dreams. Though your dreams may change over time, the most important thing is that you find happiness within your life, whether it be the people you spend it with or what you do for a living. And as the movie’s characters repeatedly mention, “adventure is out there!” It’s up to you to find it.

This is a movie I’m always willing to watch, no matter what mood I’m in. Seeing a world where talking dogs are real gives me hope for our future and my dreams of having a conversation with my dog.

Honorable Mentions:

“Hannah Montana: The Movie” (2009), “Finding Nemo” (2003), “The Incredibles” (2004), “Monsters Inc.” (2001) and “The Spongebob Squarepants Movie” (2004).

Each of the aforementioned movies have the potential to be one of these top five films, but lacked a certain aspect that would’ve put them in these rankings, or couldn’t connect to a large enough audience to have a major impact (i.e. “Hannah Montana” being viewed as a “girl’s movie,” etc.)

No. 1: “High School Musical” (2006)

My top movie boils down to the great “High School Musical.” This entire franchise could have probably made the list, but neither of them compare to their original predecessor. We watch basketball star Troy Bolton (Zac Efron) as he maneuvers his way through winning the championship and embracing his newly discovered passion for musical theater with love interest Gabriella Montez (Vanessa Hudgens). The movie taught us that it’s okay to follow our dreams, despite what others may think. The “status quo” is meant to be broken, even though many characters fear change.

It’s because of this movie that Zac Efron skyrocketed to stardom, giving us bangers like “Breaking Free” and “Getcha Head in the Game.” Finally, this movie taught us that “We’re All in This Together,” and despite what you may think, we’re all going through the same struggles.

These movies all hold a special place in the hearts of many, including myself. I’ve managed to relate to many of the situations presented in these films, and learned many life lessons from them. I hope you can agree with my thoughts, but let me know what other choices you may have made!

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My name is Jamani Reed (JUH-MON-EE, not JU-MON-GEE), and this is my third year on the 42Fifty staff. At school, I'm involved in BIONIC, WE Club, OATS, and Scholastic Bowl. Outside of school, I work at Culver's and Chick-Fil-A, and play piano. I enjoy reading, hanging out with friends, and watching/playing sports.


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