I’m very excited to share an interesting book perfect for movie lovers today! It’s called 101 Movies to see Before you Grow Up, by Suzette Valle. It details a number of quintessential films and includes the plot and other information on the films. It’s also able to be used as a checklist, to see how many you’ve seen and take notes while you watch!
As a Disney fan I was of course excited to see the number of Disney films included. I agreed with pretty much everything in here, and I was happy to see some of my favorites that aren’t always remembered by others (like The Princess and the Frog). The pages are full of bright colors and pictures. I was able to talk to the author of this book and do a little Q&A with her that you can read below! There’s also a giveaway to win your own copy!
101 Movies to See Before You Grow Up – order here!
What gave you the idea to write this book?
It was the publisher who came up the idea for the book. But I’m glad they thought of me to help them make their vision a reality!
Did you aim to have a certain amount of animated movies vs. live action movies?
No, but this is a very good question! I hadn’t counted how many of each film type there are on the list until now. This is what I came up with: 73 live action, 24 animated, and 4 are mix of live action, animated, or puppet films. “Mary Poppins,” “The Muppet Movie,” “Space Jam,” and “The Lego Movie” blend animated characters with humans or puppets.
How did you narrow down your list to decide which movies would make the cut? Did you have certain criteria for movies that would be included in the book?
Narrowing the list to 101 movies was a rather daunting task! I first asked my now-grown children to list their favorite films when they were growing up. I didn’t expect to see some of the films they listed: “Hercules,” “The Emperor’s New Groove,” or “Pocahontas.” All great films, of course, but it made me think that I needed a more formal strategy. After that, I researched lists of children’s films that already exist: the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, the American Film Institute, the British Film Institute, and the National Film Registry. Cross-referencing the movies on these lists helped me reduce it from thousands to hundreds of movies. I also consulted websites and books by film critics I respect like the late Roger Ebert, Leonard Maltin and Nell Minow (Movie Mom). This all sounds a lot easier than it was. It took hours and hours of reading. Finally, I contacted Nell Minow and she graciously looked over the list and offered me her valuable opinion about it. She graciously also endorsed my book! It is an honor to have Nell’s seal of approval on my first book – I’ve followed her advice about children’s films for many years.
Do you have a favorite film that is included in your book?
This is a very tough question, but I can answer it by giving you a few of my favorite movies, ones I’ve watched over and over because they are nostalgic or I simply don’t get tired of them: “The Parent Trap,””The Lion King,” “Star Wars,” “Aladdin,” “Pride and Prejudice,” “Harry Potter,” and “Iron Man.” These movies have top-shelf billing in my home!
Were there any movies included in the book that you personally don’t care for but know that others do?
“Cool Runnings” was not a film I had included on any of my initial lists based on research. Though this film represents a true event, I didn’t consider it as good as other films. However, the publisher had the final decision when it came to the selection process, and this movie was one of their suggestions. As I discovered more information about the events surrounding the Jamaican bobsled team, it became clear that this film has a place in pop-culture. The true story of “Cool Runnings” is worth noting because had it not been for this film, not just kids but many adults wouldn’t know that Jamaica had, and still has, a bobsled team. The team even scored a spot in the 2014 Winter Olympics!
What do you think is the best way for people to use this book?
The best way to take advantage of this book is to first check the rating of your chosen film, and then read the descriptions I wrote so you have an idea about what to expect from a particular movie. It’s important to note that this book does not go into details about the appropriateness of a film for each age group. This is simply a broad list meant to help kids and families select films to round out both kids’ and adults’ film knowledge. Most films in this book are meant to be watched as a family, especially the older films like “Back To The Future.” The technology and special effects were not as sophisticated as they are today, so perhaps a younger child might still appreciate these types of films before moving on to more sophisticated movies like “Iron Man.”
After watching each film, I hope you’ll find it a fun exercise for you and/or your child to write down your observations about a particular movie in the notes section. And don’t forget to date it, too. It will be fun to read your opinion of a movie again in a few years!
Curious to know more? Check out the next stop on the blog tour for this book at Refreshing Talk – and be sure to enter our giveaway! One lucky reader will win a copy of this book for themselves.