Plugged In Movie Awards: Best Movies for Kids

PIMA's kids 2019

Oscars, schmoscars.

For more than 90 years, the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences has handed out awards for what it considers to be the “best” movies of the year. But as we all know, what Hollywood thinks of as great doesn’t necessarily coincide with what we love, like or even think is appropriate.

Listen, we all love quality movies. We all love aesthetically great films. But we like to be inspired, too—to watch flicks that reflect our values and timeless truths. And it’s nice when we can watch these movies together. As a family.

It’s in that spirit that we unveil the nominees for this year’s Plugged In Movie Awards. Today we’ll talk about the movies we consider to be 2018’s Best Movies for Kids. Those will be followed later this week by Best Movies for Teens, Best Movies for Adults and, on Friday, Best Christian Movies.

But these aren’t just top-down movie awards, dear reader. We’re asking for your input, too. We’re asking you to applaud those movies that you found the best, most worthy movies of the year. Pick your favorite among our nominees or, if you think we whiffed on one, choose your own. Let us know your own choices down below, on our Facebook page or on Twitter, if you’re so inclined. You’ll have until Feb. 15 to vote. Winners will be announced Feb. 22.

So with that preamble out of the way, let’s begin with the nominees for Best Movie for Kids.

Christopher Robin: We all have to grow up sometime, even if we’re named Christopher Robin. Now a middle manager at a luggage company, poor ol’ Chris has left the 100-Acre Wood far behind—and he’s slowly losing sight of his real-world family, too. He doesn’t know it yet, but he’s in need of rescue. And, after he spent a childhood saving Eyeore and Piglet and especially Winnie-the-Pooh, it’s time for his animal friends to return the favor. This delightful Disney “sequel” to A.A. Milne’s fabled fables (and, of course, Disney’s beloved cartoons) balances the inevitable need to grow up with the importance of retaining a childlike sense of wonder and imagination. And it’s a lot of fun to boot. Definitely a film worth the bother.

Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch: This holiday tale focuses in on a gripey guy covered in garish green fur who lives in a cave just outside the delightfully charming and picturesque town of Whoville. Well, it’s delightful for everybody but this fellow, that is. From his perspective the Whoville residents are hideously happy and cloyingly cheery—particularly around the holidays. So the grumbling Grinch makes a plan to steal away all their Christmas joy. Probably even the littlest Cindy Lou Whos in our families likely know this tale by heart, and some might grinchily grouse that this movie makes some changes to Dr. Seuss’ well-worn tale. But it’s all good. The lesson of friendship is sweet, the colorful story is fun, and this version even ties musical references to the baby Jesus’ birth into its Whoville celebrations.

Incredibles 2: Heroism can take many forms on the big screen. Sometimes it means using one’s superpowers to foil a dastardly villain. Other times, it involves stuff that may seem anything but heroic—like changing diapers and helping with homework. That’s the storytelling paradox that Incredibles 2 unpacks. This time around, supermom Helen Parr—aka Elastagirl—is in the spotlight as she snaps into action against the nefarious Screen Slaver. Meanwhile, her huge hunk of a hubby, Bob, is holding down the home front. Helen’s frequent absences mean that he’s often functionally a single dad raising teen Violet, tween Dash and baby Jack-Jack. Both roles involve, um, stretching. Elastagirl does so in a more literal sense, obviously. Meanwhile, Bob confronts some surprisingly deep—but no less heroic—inner obstacles as he struggles to be a good dad. Onscreen super-battle action can get a bit intense for younger or sensitive viewers. We also hear a couple of very un-Pixar-like mild profanities. But those caveats are relatively small ones in a movie that celebrates the heroic nature of battling evil … and the equally noble task of being a super parent.

Paddington 2: Oscar may have denied this talking-bear movie a Best Picture Oscar nom. But the adorable sequel arguably accomplished something more remarkable: being Rotten Tomatoes best-reviewed movie of 2018. It takes a special kind of movie to please every churlish critic. Paddington 2 did exactly that. Here, our titular talking teddy gets cruelly framed for a crime he didn’t commit—sending the poor little bear to prison! But take heart: Even in the “big house,” Paddington treats others well, quietly embodying his beloved Aunt Lucy’s homespun wisdom: “If we’re kind and polite, the world will be right.” Indeed. As Paddington’s kindness and character transform the hardened convicts he meets, his family and friends labor to find out who really committed the crime for which he’s been blamed. Content caveats in this PG-rated kids movie are light: some mildly perilous hijinks and a few bits of even milder innuendo. Mostly, though, this is the kind of gentle, delightful, and quietly virtue-filled kids’ movie that we just don’t see very often anymore.

Teen Titans Go! To The Movies:  The Teen Titans—made up of Robin the Boy Wonder, the half human/half robot Cyborg, the shapeshifting Beast Boy, the magic-casting girl Raven and an innocent but super-powered alien princess named Starfire—are doing their usual bang-up job as a powered-up teen team. Robin, however, longs for more public attention. Will a baddie named Slade be able to lure the young heroes into a fame trap? This rollicking super-spoof adventure is packed to the brim with chuckle-worthy mega-winks at everything DC comics-related. And, unfortunately, it also has a mega-dollop of toilet humor in its laughs. But families who choose to cope with those inane gags will find some solid messages for kids in this social media age.

(All movie capsules written by Adam Holz, Bob Hoose, Kristin Smith and Paul Asay).

Who wrote this?

Paul Asay has been writing for Plugged In since 2007 and loves superheroes and finding God in unexpected places. In addition, Paul has also written several books, with his newest—Burning Bush 2.0—recently published by Abingdon Press. When Paul’s not reviewing movies, he hikes with his wife, Wendy, runs marathons with his grown kids, Colin and Emily, and beats back unruly houseplants. Follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
3 for Christopher Robin, 1 for The Grinch, and 1 for Paddington 2
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

Incredibles II
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Incredibles 2
Jacqui Torena More than 1 year ago
Christopher Robin
Lydia Snow More than 1 year ago
Paddington 2. It’s one of the best family movies of the decade, in my opinion. SO underrated!
Teal Neighbors More than 1 year ago
Incredibles 2.
Maya J. Toman More than 1 year ago
I love Christopher Robin returns.
Veronica Pyle More than 1 year ago
I guess I'll vote for Incredibles 2, since it's the only one I've seen. That's not to say it wasn't good, but I guess it kind of wins by default for me. :P
Christine MacLachlan More than 1 year ago
Eva Schon More than 1 year ago
Incredibles 2
Cj lastrue More than 1 year ago
Nomination: Christopher Robin
Rocketshipper More than 1 year ago
My post disappeared :(

Hey, where is Ralph Breaks the Internet!?   Another Snub :( (I remember Wreck it Ralph wasn’t nominated by you guys either).    

Of the options I vote Teen Titans.   The animation was excellent (2D beats 3D nearly any day) lots of funny self referential humor, and it had an upbeat inspirational song about life!!! (Featuring Michael Bolton)
Tim Page More than 1 year ago
Christopher Robin made this 22 year old who grew up loving the characters almost turn into a puddle of tears on multiple occasions. I loved it. That'd be my vote.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I only watched Incredibles 2 and Hotel Transylvania 3, and out of the two I would choose Incredibles 2. I was hoping to see the Grinch before I had to vote, but since I haven't so, Incredibles 2 it is.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I adore the cartoon series from the 80s, the original Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh movie, loved the series The Book of Pooh that was in the 90s, and absolutely love The Tigger Movie too, but this new Christopher Robin film is just a dud pure and simple.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Apparently I'm the only person on here that was bothered by how bad my beloved Pooh characters looked in the film, especially poor washed out faded Tigger, and frankly thought the storyline just wasn't all that great either. Madeline was cute as Christopher Robin's daughter, but that's about the only positive thing I can say about the movie.
Tim Page More than 1 year ago
I liked the idea that they actually looked like real stuffed animals and if Christopher Robin is an adult of course they're going to be a little worn and faded. 
It personally didn't bother me, but I get it. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I get it too, since I've got tons of stuffed animals too that sleep with me on my bed and some of them have definitely seen better days as well, but since it was a Hollywood movie played on a big screen I guess I just expected everyone to look better, regardless of authenticity. I mean Paddington and Peter Rabbit from last year were also technically stuffed animal like too, but because of the way they were presented on the screen they looked a lot better yet still retained that lifelike quality to them that made them seem real to me.
Jamey Perrigin More than 1 year ago
Out of this list, I think Christopher Robin is easily the best choice.

About the whole spider-verse thing, I'm really counting on it showing up in another category, because definitely deserves a win.
William Burke More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would like everyone to know that as of right now Incredibles 2 is on Netflix.

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Lostariel Bronwethiel More than 1 year ago
My vote definitely goes towards Paddington 2... Incredibles 2 was good, but I hated that it contained a bit of language (very minor, I know, but for an animation aimed at kids it was upsetting for me). 
seraph_unsung More than 1 year ago
I also thought that was a questionable design choice, so you're not alone. What bothered me more were the intense flashing lights that prompted numerous photosensitivity warnings.
Zach's Gaming And Stop Motions More than 1 year ago
Christopher Robin, with no competition. It truly encapsulated the heart of Winnie the Pooh. Though Grinch was a close second place. It, too, was a masterpiece! Thanks for all you guys do at Plugged In! I appreciate and pray for you all! God Bless!

Julienne Dy More than 1 year ago
Crud!  The only one of these movies that I've watched is Incredibles 2.  Ooooh!  I really wanted to watch Christopher Robin and The Grinch this year too.  "Sigh"  Incredibles 2 it is then.  "total resignation"
Lyn Chartowich More than 1 year ago
I honestly don't think Teen Titans Go! Movie should win: They're too obsessed with bodily humor. I wish the original Teen Titans would come back! That was a good show.
I've only heard good things about Paddington 2 and plan to watch it sometime, and I liked Incredibles 2. I can't decide, it would be easier if I could watch them all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I saw the trailer and it looked ok.I like self-aware humor. But yeah, the original TT was fantastic
-David the Clown
Lyn Chartowich More than 1 year ago
Eh, I'm not a huge fan (of that type of humor). But, yes, that show was great.
charitysplace More than 1 year ago
The Grinch and Christopher Robin.

Chill, people. The Spiderverse movie will no doubt be in the teen category.
[removed] More than 1 year ago
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Julienne Dy More than 1 year ago
That movie also deals with death, coming of age, and self-doubt.  The content may not be as objectionable, but the message definitely would sail over the heads of most kids.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yeah, several of my younger siblings went with me to see it. It was certainly more mild then most of the live action Marvel movies (all of which they have seen)
So yeah, not sure why it's not in the Best Movies for Kids category  
David the Clown
Julienne Dy More than 1 year ago
"frustrated sigh"  If you want to take your kids to see this, you can, and I certainly won't fault you for doing so.  I'm just saying that they probably won't understand how Miles felt as well as a teenager would.  I mean, kids normally don't struggle with wanting to be great but doubting if they really are.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't really get what is frustrating about it. Sure, it is true that a 5 year old might not be able to grasp the story as well as a 15 year old. But that is pretty much true for 90% of movies. At least ones that aren't directly marketed at kids.Which is fine. It doesn't even mean that kids won't like it any less then teens. They just might like it for different reasons. Like I've stated before, my younger siblings (ages 9-15) all laughed hysterically at it. It's a genuine "family movie" in the sense that it has things that all members of your family can enjoy. 

The Lego Movie is very similar in my opinion.
-David the Clown 
Julienne Dy More than 1 year ago
The frustrated sigh was for the commenter before you.  Besides, PluggedIn has a lot to consider when nominating and categorizing these movies.  Not only do the nominees have to be relatively well-made and have as few objectionable content as possible, but PluggedIn also has to decide which audience group would be most inspired by the nominee's messages.
Zach's Gaming And Stop Motions More than 1 year ago
You and I had the same exact choices! LOL! They were really the best, without competition.
[removed] More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ohhhhhhh I see......
-David the Clown
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Incredibles 2 gets my vote, still the biggest surprise I've ever had at the movies where I genuinely hated the original but shockingly loved the sequel. Paddington 2 was also quite wonderful too in my opinion, but not quite up to snuff when compared to the Incredibles.
[removed] More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The first Incredibles moved along at a glacial pace, had annoying characters I didn't care one bit about, had substandard animation especially for a Pixar film, had a villain I couldn't stand in the least, and for my money what little action there was in the film was so bland and unexciting it felt like more of a snoozefest than anything. On the other hand everything was coated with a bright glossy sheen in Incredibles 2 that made everything about the film sparkle like new. The character, thank God, were actually interesting and emotional this time around and I really came to care about them, especially Violet who was really a downer in the first film. The whole message about not trusting the media that was in the first part of the film felt really topical to me, and in general the whole ScreenSlaver villain in the film felt new and completely relevant for today. And there was also tons of family conflict in the film that felt real and true to life as well. Basically the sequel took everything that was so slow, boring, and uninteresting about the original and amped it up to ten and made a truly great superhero movie. I couldn't wait for the first one to end but the second I wouldn't have minded seeing it for another 10 or 15 minutes longer. It was that good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago

I realize I'm probably in the minority on this one, but I truly did hate the first Incredibles and surprisingly actually loved the sequel. In my opinion out of all Pixar films this is how I would rank them from absolute best to absolute worst:

1. Ratatouille

2. Brave

3. Inside Out

4. Finding Dory

5. Incredibles 2

6. Cars

7. UP

8. Wall-E

9. Monster's Inc.

10. Cars 2

11. Toy Story 3

12. The Good Dinosaur

13. A Bug's Life

14. Finding Nemo

15. Monster's University

16. Toy Story 2

17. Toy Story

18. Cars 3

19. The Incredibles

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The only Pixar film I haven't seen is Coco, and frankly that one seems to be the least interesting of all Pixar films to me.