10 Family-Friendly Classics Available Now on Netflix

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I love logging into Netflix and finding there's a huge influx of new movies waiting to stream. Especially when those movies cover every category imaginable, from comedies to dramas to family fare. Here are a few picks from the Netflix catalog chosen for their distinct appeal for both children and adults alike...

1 .The Red Balloon

This is what I call a "pick me up" movie. It's a short film, only 34 minutes, but it uses every minute to the max. It features a charming young boy who finds an unexpected companion in a red balloon on the streets of Paris. The boy and his balloon venture off together in one of the most delightful examples of helium-based companionship you'll ever seen (the other being Pixar's Up).

2. Housesitter

Ask anyone under the age of 20 who Steve Martin is and prepare to be disappointed. This early 90's movie featuring Martin and Goldie Hawn is admittedly a little campy and corny, but heartwarmingly charming too.

3. The Muppet Movie

The re-imagining of Kermit and the gang in last year's Jason Segal-headed Muppets Movie was wonderful, but there's something about the Jim Henson's original which remains our first choice. The music, the dancing, and the puppetry are all at their best, whether this is your child's first time watching or your 10th viewing as an adult.

 4. Mystery Men

This alternative superhero movie presents a comedic take on the over-the-top nature of comic book characters. While it's technically not well-suited for younger audiences, pre-teens and teenagers will get a kick out of the humor and costumes.

5. Legend

A Ridley Scott directed "Once, long ago" tale with a young Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, and an unforgettable demonic-costumed Tim Curry is closer in spirit to the original fairy tales the Grimm brothers, Jacob and Wilhelm penned back in the 1800's. Dark and unforgettable, parents and older children will find the perilous journey to rescue a captive unicorn an enchanting storybook tale to enjoy together.

6. Wallace and Gromit: Three Amazing Adventures

This three part series features a man and his dog and a heavy dose of whimsey. Watch all three back to back and it plays more like a movie.

7. Goosebumps

Goosebumps is technically not a movie, but the campy humor and fast viewing makes it a worthy series to add to the queue. The series might be a bit too much for those kids under seven, but for the older ones, the frights in this series will spark the imagination.

8. ParaNorman

Norman is the most loveable character I've encountered in children's movies a long time. The animation style, which was mastered by Portland-based Laika Studios, is more than just fancy stop motion. The kids will love it for Norman and adults for the visual artistry.

9. The Wind in the Willows

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This series is technically a multi-part TV show, but can be watched as one continuous tale. It's a classic in every way and filled with plenty of charm and wit for adults and children alike.

10. Bully

I normally would never recommend a heady documentary for family viewing, but this documentary on the effects of childhood bullying offers parents the opportunity to discuss bullying in the context of a powerful and emotional film.

(Image: Netflix - Videos: as linked above)

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