Spy Kids Sucks. And That Sucks.

Captain Jelly Belly’s birthday party is on Saturday, and one of the features of the party is to watch a movie, wearing jammies, eating popcorn.

We struggled for a long time, trying to pick a movie for the party. There were about a thousand criteria.

It had to be (obviously) suitable for a 6 and 7-year-old boy audience.

It had to be something the Captain had not seen before (his request).

It had to be around 1.5 hours long — anything nearing the 2-hour-plus mark was too long.

We wanted it to be something a little off the mainstream, in the hopes that the other boys would also have not seen it before, in the hopes that they would stay in their seats during the viewing and not wander off and destroy our house.

So I made a list of about 30 different movie ideas, and one by one we eliminated them. Some were too long; some were rated AA and we thought they’d be inappropriate. Some were too corny, some were too boring, some were too old and Sir Monkeypants felt that the kids of today would be too jaded for them (so long, my beloved Cloak and Dagger and The Dark Crystal!).

In the end we settled on Spy Kids. It looked kind of fun, was the right length, and was old enough that most of the boys probably hadn’t seen it. So we ordered the DVD and last night we watched it, to make sure it was an appropriate choice.

And HOO BOY, is that a bad movie. STINKY!

There’s nothing objectionable in it, it’s just so, so terrible that we feel we cannot subject our son to it, let alone all his buddies. The action is few and somewhat lame, the parents’ storyline contains too many adult-focused jokes, the bad guys are truly bizarre and not in a good way, the script is JUST AWFUL, the acting isn’t much better… SO! BAD!

And now we find ourselves, three days before the party, looking for a replacement. GACK.

At Gal Smiley’s party in September, we watched Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus. I’ve often said before that it’s the ideal 5-year-old girl movie, seeing as how it contains:

  • a smart, spunky heroine
  • who is a princess
  • who is pretty, and changes her hairstyle often
  • and gets to wear many beautiful gowns and other coordinating outfits
  • and is a champion ice skater
  • who has a pink pegasus to ride around on
  • and a little baby polar bear as a sidekick
  • who meets a cool dude who is smart and who helps her kick ass
  • on an exciting and fun adventure.

So I was thinking, what would the boy-equivalent movie be? What would you put in a movie if you were making it for a turning-7 birthday party? I think you’d need:

  • a smart, spunky hero
  • who has many cool weapons, a sword/light saber being top of the heap
  • who likes to make wisecracks
  • perferrably about poop
  • and has several buddies and sidekicks, all of whom have a unique skill or weapon
  • (but no girls in the posse, unless it’s just one, and she is also sassy and bad ass)
  • who drives a really awesome car (airplane and/or submarine also acceptable)
  • that can transform into other cool shapes and has lots of weapons
  • and there’s lots of running and climbing and jumping and narrow escapes from explosions
  • ending with a big fight with the bad guy.

Hm. Seems I have just described every big action movie ever, no? Now why hasn’t anyone made that in a 7-year-old safe package?

Maybe I should just throw in the towel and rent Gone in Sixty Seconds or perhaps The Italian Job. We’ll just fast forward through the kissing parts.

I personally would choose The Princess Bride, but the Captain has seen it once already and so has nixed it. And yet, he is kind of interested in a party viewing of The Lion King, which we have watched no less than 25 times since returning from Disney and can now quote by heart.

Boys are so mysterious!

Anyway, suggestions are welcome.

27 thoughts on “Spy Kids Sucks. And That Sucks.

  1. Jay

    Bedtime Stories – with Adam Sandler? A Disney movie rated G 99min
    I wouldn’t say it’s THE BEST movie – but it may fit many of your criteria 🙂

  2. ooh tough call. what about the movie about the kids who have super hero parents and go to a special school. it’s with kirk douglad i think. i’ve never seen it, but it seems to fit the mandate. harry potter no good? man i can watch those a bagillion times. boo for sir monkey pants for nixing the dark crystal!

    Agent Cody Banks?

    The original Battlestar?


    I guess these are more PG rated ey? Good luck!!

  3. grace loved that one with the talking gerbils and stuff that came out recently. she just turned 8. it was kinda cute (G-Force I think?) a few fart jokes etc etc for good measure. audience seemed to like it. (i fell asleep, but i also fell asleep during silence of the lambs, so, y;know)

  4. My oldest son turns six next week and on his list of favs are:

    Ice Age – Dawn of the Dinosaurs (cute, just released and I watched it too and enjoyed it).

    He is also very into Star Wars and Indiana Jones, both of which my husband allowed him to watch when I was not home. I don’t recommend either for a b-day party.

    Could use some advice on your PJ party – my son wants the exact same thing. Is yours in the afternoon? Are they sleeping over?? I told my son he could have a PJ party/movie night with three friends and have them sleep over – or an afternoon party at our home with 9-10 friends. He is really torn, lol.

    1. Oh man, how I loved Up. I can’t watch it at the party, though, because I cried through the whole thing and I’m sure that would freak the boys out :). I’m going to check out G-Force, I’ve heard good things about it. Thanks!

  5. mel

    I think the one that smothermother described is Sky High. My six-year-old enjoyed it, and he likes movies that fit your criteria. But didn’t see it myself.

    He also re-watches the original Jimmy Neutron (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0268397/) movie quite often, and it meets most of the criteria. If you’re interested in that one and can’t find it, we can lend it to you.

  6. I got nothing. I have to say that my little guy (when he was littler) loved Spy Kids, stinky or not. As for the not wandering off and destroying your house, we had colouring pages ready if any of the girls got bored with the movie. Although I guess that’s a slightly more girly thing.

    Best of luck!

    1. Actually I find it reassuring that other people’s kids did like Spy Kids. We might go with it after all if the kiddies do like it.

      1. My kids liked Spy Kids, too. I find a lot of the time my kids react to movies much more positively than I do. They don’t really have as high expectations as adults do in terms of plot development and all that stuff.

        For instance, I’d heard the movie Chicken Little was pretty awful, but my kids absolutely love it. And truth be told, I’ve grown to like it more just because my kids think it’s so hilarious. (As a result of that movie, Jamie often belts out We Are the Champions at the top of his lungs, which is totally priceless.)

        Anyway, I think you’ll find that the kids will probably react more favourably to Spy Kids than you did.

  7. Um, I kinda liked Spy Kids. I liked the fact that they weren’t white bread American kids. I liked the Latin American settings. I liked the wild shapes/colours in Floop’s castle. I liked the Thumb guys. I liked that Junie and Carmen had to learn to get along and work together instead of indulging in sibling rivalry. I liked that Terry Hatcher got her hair burned off. And, hello? Antonio? ( So now we probably can’t be friends because my taste in movies is suspect 🙂 )

    Jimmy Neutron is good, my girls liked it. I have no boys to use as control subjects, but the girls like boy type movies. Swiss Family Robinson? Pirates, shipwrecks, tigers, coconut bombs…that’s boy stuff, right? Raiders of the Lost Ark? Spiderman? Are they too young for the first Pirates of the Caribbean?

    1. Like I said to Bibliomama above, I’m reassured to hear that some kids liked Spy Kids. I’m putting it back in the running…the boys will probably like it!

    1. Goonies was one of my major contenders originally…but when we watched it for evaluation purposes it seemed just a sliver too old for the crowd…too much name calling. But next year, it is SO IN.

  8. I’d second The Goonies. I loved that when I was 9. Some other suggestions of movies that I loved at that age:

    Willow – I mean it’s basically the exact same story as Star Wars.

    The Black Stallion – not fantasy or sci-fi, but I think it still holds up today.

    The Secret of NYMH – doesn’t have a boy protagonist though

    E.T. – kinda has a sad vibe for a party though.

    Zathura was good – kind of like Jumanji, but better.

    And finally, dare I suggest Back to the Future?

    1. Williow was one of my finalists originally, but Sir Monkeypants thought maybe it would be too boring for kids who have seen stuff like Spiderman and Transformers. What do you think…do the big special effects spectacles of today ruin gentle, old-time fantasy movies for kids? Are they too jaded to appreciate a well-told story, if it doesn’t have flashy effects and costumes and computer-generated sets to go with it?


      I love love love The Secret of NIMH, but CommonSense.org (a ratings site I trust) recommended it for an older group due to scary scenes of animals being tortured. And E.T. is definitely on my list to show the kids, but I thought for a birthday party, it was maybe a bit too sad. I didn’t want 10 sobbing boys on my hands!

      Back to the Future was also on my short list but again, CommonSense.org suggested an older audience. I think it’s the Calvin Klein undies that push it over the edge :).

  9. Mr Hand

    Holy crap, Cloak and Dagger. I haven’t thought about that movie in years. I think you are my long lost twin sister.

    Not sure, but Stardust is a recent one that reminded me a lot of Princess Bride, but it might skew a tad old.

    Of course Anything by Pixar is a winner, but you can also go back in Brad Bird’s work and find a truly wonderful movie in the Iron Giant. Every boy needs to see that one.

    I am assuming movies like Blade Runner and Alien, although important to a young man’s cultural education, would likely get nixed along the way.

    And as for Spy Kids…at least the mom is superhot.

    1. Yay, someone else knows Cloak and Dagger! I swear I watched it a hundred times as a kid with FameThrowa, but when I talked to her about this post she denied knowing it. SO SAD. I can’t find a copy of it anywhere, to download or rent or buy. Now it’s become a personal quest. Do you own a copy?

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  11. Person Man

    spy kids sucks. no doubt about it. my family saw it and we pretty much aggreed. maybe 2001: A Space Odyssey? nah I’m just kidding. but if you did show it to them they would not be able to tell that it is from 1968 haha. I think it is like 4 hours long. but the way it is there is no action. no fighting. and it is extremely slow. I mean they would be a sleep in the first 5 minuets. still the best movie ever though. I can’t belive that people can’t enjoy movies because they are older.

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