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Monday, April 2, 2012

Why Sometimes All We Need is a Good Kid On Screen.

With the debut of The Hunger Games last week there has been a lot of discussion about whether the film about kids was truly appropriate for kids. The cruel nature of the films raises the question of whether the film about kids killing kids should actually be seen by other children. All of this discussion has me thinking about movies about and starring kids. Since my childhood there have been those classic films that are both about kids and star children. Since I love lists so much, here is a list of some of my favorite Films starring/about children. Let me know if there are any others (reply to the post).

Child Performances
·         Empire of the Sun (1987)
·         Christian Bale was only 12 but his portrayal of JG Ballard was a performance for the ages and truly began an amazing career. Spielberg has a knack for finding amazing child actors and for bringing out the best in them. This film was no different. Bale was emotional and engaging as the star of this film; a role many feel should have earned him an Oscar bid.

·         The Piano (1993)
·         Many know her from HBO’s True Blood but Anna Paquin made a name for herself with her memorable performance in this film which she won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar at only the age of 11. Paquin plays the daughter of a mute Scottish woman mailed to New Zealand as a reluctant bride. This was a difficult and complex role which the 11 year old simply nailed, showing skills way beyond her years. She won an Oscar at 11, enough said.

·         Home Alone (1990)
·         This better be on every bodies list because there is not one of us who have ever seen this film and not pictured ourselves in Kevin’s situation.  With his charisma and lovability, Macaulay Culkin (10) stole the show in this Christmas-time favorite. His second film was just as good and with this performance, Culkin set a precedence for child performances.

·         E.T. (1982)
·         E.T. was as much about the child actors as it was about the aliens. Drew Barrymore got her first role ever in the film but the real star was Henry Thomas (10). Though slightly overacted, Thomas makes us believe he would do anything for his alien friend and truly nailed the role Spielberg wrote for him.

·         The Professional (1994)
·         Everyone agrees that The Black Swan was Natalie Portman’s best performance. But in a close second was her role as an assassin to be in this film. At the age of 13, Portman shows great range while forced to be a mother figure, smoker, hitman’s assistant and yes at times oddly sexual.  This was one amazing performance and if you don’t trust me, see for yourself.
·         The Sixth Sense (1999)
·         At only the age of 11, Haley Joel Osment shocked the world. Sharing the screen with Bruce Willis in one of the highest grossing films of all time, Osment handled a very serious and challenging role like a champ. He doesn’t seem fazed at all and performed amazingly while delivering one of the most famous lines in movie history. Unfortunately, his career didn’t pan out as we all would have liked.

·         Kick-A** (2010)
·         Chloe Moretz (13) stole this very underrated movie. I enjoyed this movie from start to finish but there is no one who left the theater thinking about anything but Hit-Girl. Moretz was insanely charismatic and dominated every scene in the film. With her filthy mouth and kick-a** ability, Moretz gave us a role for the ages.

·         Taxi Driver (1976)
·         Though this was De Niro’s film, Jodie Foster was excellent in this film. Playing the 12 year old prositite Iris, Foster got her start in the film industry as this strangely upbeat character throwing a well-needed addition to the De Niro classic.

·         Brothers (2009)
·         Not to be overshadowed by Portman, Gyllenhaal and Maguire, Bailee Madison was excellent in this average film. The emotion this girl emitted in every scene was astonishing and I was brought to tears just watching this young talented actress. You feel her happiness and her sorrow. At only 10 years old, this was a great performance, one that was unfortunately unseen by many.

·         Where The Wild Things Are (2009)
·         Max Records was given a golden opportunity to own a great child role in a child film and he nailed it. The 12 year old kid was excellent in the deeper than expected film based on the childhood favorite novel.  Records seems older and wise when he needs and young and impressionable at times as well. A hit at the box office, this film about kids isn’t just for kids.

Some Classics About kids
·         Problem Child (1990)

·         Matilda (1996)

·         Annie (1982)

·         Dennis the Menace (1993)

·         Blank Check (1994)

·         A Little Princess (1995)

·         The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking (1988)

·         The Sandlot (1993)

·         Rookie of the Year (1993)

·         Little Giants (1994)

·         Hugo (2011)

·         Camp Nowwhere (1994)

·         Super 8 (2011)

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