Parents, we get it. Sometimes you just want to plop the kid in front of a movie and have a few hours to chill. But looking for an appropriate children's movie is just as tough as looking for a movie for yourself.
Not anymore! We've put together a list of the best kid-friendly flicks that are available on Netflix right now, so you and your little one (or just you, no judgment) can get to what you need to be doing.
The Boss Baby
Give your little one an overinflated sense of superiority with this goofy movie about a baby who believes he is in charge. Told from the perspective of a 7-year-old whose family is infiltrated by a baby who is a secret agent baby in the war between babies and puppies for adults' love (yes, for real), The Boss Baby earned mixed reviews from critics. But that's because most critics aren't between the ages of 3 and 12. Also, it was nominated for Best Animated Feature at the 2017 Academy Awards, so there's that. If your tyke likes, they can watch the Boss Baby television series, which is also on Netflix.
Despicable Me 3
OK, so Minions are the worst. But kids love the little critters from the Despicable Me franchise, and this is the only movie in the series that's available on Netflix. Steve Carell's Gru teams up with his long-lost brother Dru (also Carell) to defeat a former child actor who becomes a supervillain after his show gets canceled. It's not Citizen Kane, but this list is all about making your kids happy, and the box office receipts (more than $1 billion worldwide) speak for themselves. Throw it on, sit the kiddo down, and open a bottle of rosé.
Pixar's latest is also one of its greatest. The anticipated sequel to The Incredibles once again follows the Parrs, a family of superheroes who team up to stop bad guys. Set immediately after the events of the original, The Incredibles 2 finds the family working missions to bring trust in superheroes back to society after they wrecked the city saving it. Forget Mission Impossible or John Wick; this has the best action sequences of any movie from 2018, making it good for parents, too.
We're going to put every Pixar movie that's on Netflix on this list, so get used to it (unless The Good Dinosaur ever streams there, in which case, yuck). Pixar's most culturally rich film is set in Mexico and follows a boy who is accidentally transported to the Land of the Dead, where he seeks help from his great-great-grandfather to return to his family and the realm of the living. There's wonderful music in it, and though its topic of death is a major theme, it teaches kids how to process death and respect their family history. Warning for little ones: There are lots of skeletons, but they're harmless.
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie
Sometimes, all your kids need is a good fart joke. They'll get that, as well as poo-poo, doody and bum-bum gags, in this imaginative and delightfully low-brow animated movie that's an adaptation of Dav Pilkey's books. The story follows a pair of elementary schoolers who are too smart for their own good and draw up a series of comic books about their overbearing principal, turning him into a superhero who wears underwear and a cape and uses wedgie power to take on a host of potty-themed villains. Netflix must have liked this a lot, because it also ordered a Captain Underpants series for its library.
Mary and the Witch's Flower
Sad fact of the day: There are no Hayao Miyazaki films streaming on Netflix. But if you're a fan of his imagination and animation style, this Japanese film based on The Little Broomstick will do the trick. Mary is a young girl who finds an enchanted flower and broomstick in a forest, which take her to a secret school for magic in a faraway fantasy land. It's not quite up to par with Miyazaki's classics like Ponyo or Spirited Away, but it comes close thanks in part to the film's connection to Miyazaki; director Hiromasa Yonebayashi worked with Miyazaki on several of his films.
Beauty and the Beast
You grew up on the animated classic, so let your kids learn the true lesson of love: Love someone for who they are in the inside, and if you love them well enough, then a spell will be broken and they will turn out to be a total hottie! But for realsies, this is a pretty epic retelling of the story with Emma Watson as Belle, big ol' musical numbers on the scale of a Baz Luhrmann, and killer costumes.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Before they broke into the big time with The Lego Movie, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller's first feature film as directors was this adaptation of the book of the same name. The film follows a hapless inventor who seeks approval with the invention of a machine that can fabricate food out of the sky, which becomes a major tourist attraction for his humble fishing town... before it causes all sorts of trouble. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is a technicolor rainbow, and it's loaded with some of the best food puns out there, making it entertaining for kids and adults alike.
The Cars franchise doesn't have the same zing as Pixar's other films (I mean really, talking cars?), but saying a movie isn't as good as Pixar's best still means it can be much better than most. In this chapter, Lightning McQueen sets out to prove that he's still the best racer out there, even against a crew of new cars that use the latest and greatest technology to boost their chances.
The Little Prince
This isn't a straight retelling of the classic book, but it does lovingly pay homage to its source material in a creative way. The 2015 English-language French film follows a girl who befriends an elderly aviator — the narrator of The Little Prince — and learns of the story as she gets to know him better. The film is presented in both traditional CGI cartoon (when with the girl) and stop-motion animation (when we're hearing about the story), making it a gorgeous watch. But unlike most of the other entrants in this list, The Little Prince isn't stacked with jokes; it's an imaginative but serious discussion about growing up with a big beating heart.
An American Tail
Admit it, you're already tearing up thinking about Fievel and his sister Tanya singing "Somewhere Out There," so give your kids something to get emotional about, too. It tells the story about a young mouse who immigrates to America from the Ukraine with his family, but he gets separated and must find his way back to them. There's one knock on the film: It's kind of downbeat and maybe too sad for kids. But the 1986 film is a reminder that there's nothing that can replace true hand-drawn animated films. Steven Spielberg executive-produced the movie, and it was directed by Don Bluth, who created the revolutionary Dragon's Lair arcade game.
Walt Disney Short Films Collection
Perhaps you'd like a movie made up of several small movies so you can stop it at any time to have a clean break in order to get the kids to brush their teeth! This collection, which runs just shy of 90 minutes, features 12 short films from all over Disney's vaults showcasing many different animation styles. The highlight for your kids will be the Frozen short, Frozen Fever, while classic Disney fans will enjoy the black-and-white Mickey Mouse film Get a Horse!. There are also some cool intros to each film by the people who made it, which will be more valuable to parents than kids, but interesting nonetheless.