Geeks may have started as the group’s outcast, but with the popularity of video games and comic book movies today, the whole “Geekdom” has garnered a lot of cred over the last decade or two. Nowadays, films that are considered niche back then are the most popular genre in the market today. What was then considered uncool is now the coolest and trendiest stuff around. From superhero movies to animation (Japanese anime, to be precise), the geek culture is now one of the most popular and bankable sub-genre in the entertainment industry.
Today, we will be looking at the best movies to watch for quality family time. To be exact, a quality “geeky” family time. These films shape a generation and are carried by a passionate fandom with members from all age brackets.
Movies for Geeky Families
1. Ghostbusters (1984)
A classic science-fiction comedy movie with one of the catchiest theme songs of all time, the Ghostbusters appeals to both kids and adults with its brand of smart humor. The film is directed by Ivan Reitman and with a cast of legends such as Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis, and Sigourney Weaver. The film certainly has the talent pool to deliver a classic classic classic and deliver it did.
The movie has become an icon in the pop culture annals with the memorable proton packs, the signature Ghostbuster hearse, and the (still) catchy tune. Ghostbusters is a staple of geek fandom. It is a film with frights, laughs, and memorable scenes that make it a beloved franchise.
The movie also produced several sequels and a merchandising brand that is one of the most recognizable in the world.
Duration: 1 h 45 min
2. Back to the Future (1985)
Who doesn’t know about the iconic time-traveling DeLorean or Marty McFly and Doc Brown? Just take a look at the hugely popular Rick and Morty series, and you will see where it got its inspiration from. Back to the Future is another beloved classic that is also a massive part of the geek culture.
The film is directed by Robert Zemeckis and stars Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd as the time-traveling duo. There are also two sequels to the movie, but most consider the first and second to be the best ones.
If ever you are interested in introducing young ones to time travel, you can’t go wrong with Back to the Future as a fun jumping-off point.
Duration: 1 h 56 min
3. My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
Beloved Japanese auteur Hayao Miyazaki holds a special heart in geek fandom with his classic and notable anime films that evoke a unique sense of beauty and grandeur. One of his most beloved films is My Neighbor Totoro’s family movie.
The film has gorgeous animation and is suitable for children and adults, as are most of Miyazaki’s movies. The movie tells the story of siblings Satsuki and her younger sister Mei who moves to the countryside with their father to be closer to their ill mother. The two girls then encounter a large magical creature called Totoro, and they go off on an adventure with their mystical furry new friend.
The English voice cast also has notable names such as real-life sisters Dakota and Elle Fanning and Disney singing icon Lea Salonga. This film is as beautiful as a heart-warming tale of family and love. My Neighbor Totoro is undoubtedly one of the best family anime films.
Duration: 1 h 26 min
4. Princess Mononoke (1997)
We could have gone with one entry from Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki, but Princess Mononoke is such an impactful film and is also one of the most beloved in the genre that it must have a separate entry in this list. Furthermore, this particular Hayao Miyazaki film has a more serious theme than the whimsical and heart-warming vibe of My Neighbor Totoro, making it a must-watch.
Princess Mononoke, underneath the thrilling and fantastical adventure, is a tale about protecting the environment and the dangers of excessive industrialism. The movie shifts the story from a simple journey to cure a curse to a complex power struggle between nature and humans.
The moral lesson in Princess Mononoke is something that younger viewers will benefit from, and the action in the film is both elegant and intense. This should be in your queue during family movie night.
Duration: 2 h 14 min
5. The Goonies (1985)
The Goonies is the quintessential 80s family movie. It perfected the formula of having a group of geeky friends in a wild adventure. In this case, a group of young troublemakers, dubbed their group The Goonies, finds an ancient pirate map that tells the location of buried treasure. Sure, it is an over-the-top plot, but it simply radiates charisma with its charming characters.
The movie also has a cast of some of the biggest child stars from the 80s, such as Corey Feldman, Sean Astin, and a young Josh Brolin. So for those looking for a nostalgic family movie that they would like to share with their children, The Goonies is as good as it gets to 80s geeky family movies.
Additionally, The Goonies is currently available on streaming services such as Netflix.
Duration: 1 h 54 min
6. Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
When you have Steven Spielberg and George Lucas working together in a film, you know that the result will be magic. Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark is a fantastic action-adventure flick with a memorable, now iconic, lead in the form of Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford). In addition, the movie is pure fun with thrilling action scenes, breathtaking locations, and plenty of humor.
Indian Jones has become a beloved character and has inspired other adventurer-type icons in fiction, such as Lara Croft and Nathan Drake from the Tomb Raider and Uncharted franchises.
As one of the most recognizable movie characters of all time, you are guaranteed a great experience when Indie is on the screen.
Duration: 1 h 55 min
7. Star Wars Saga (1977 to Present)
If one particular film, or film series, closely connects to geek culture, then Star Wars is that shining beacon. The Star Wars Saga went from a niche science-fiction movie to one of the biggest franchises in the world with a slew of sequels, spin-offs, and various merchandise.
The story itself is a classic good vs. evil tale that has evolved as recent entries feature a more complex plot and deeper characters. The world-building in the Star Wars franchise has spanned decades and, with the passion of its fans, feels like a living, breathing world today.
If you are a geek, you most likely have a Star Wars movie collection at home. So what better way to introduce your kids to geek culture than the flag-bearer of this fandom, the Star Wars Saga?
Duration: 2 h 1 min
8. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001 to 2003)
J.R.R. Tolkien is widely considered to be the father of geek culture. Tolkien laid the blueprint for the fantasy genre with his epic tale of might and magic, The Lord of the Rings, a book published back in 1937. Tolkien was so enamored with the world-building of Middle Earth that he created two fictional languages in painstaking detail. Qenya and Sindarin are two elfish languages that Tolkien developed for his fantasy epic. If that is not peak “geekdom,” then I don’t know what is.
A couple of adaptations of the book, such as the 1978 Ralph Bakshi animated film, came and went, but the 2000 Peter Jackson trilogy is remembered fondly. The film trilogy from Peter Jackson is as perfect an adaptation of the source material as there will ever be.
To fully embrace the film trilogy’s potential, it is highly recommended to watch the Extended Director’s Cut edition. Sure, watching all three films might take you and your family a whole day, but the epic journey is well worth it.
Duration: 11 h 22 min (All three extended edition films)
9. Harry Potter Series (2001 to 2011)
The 8-part film series is based on the best-selling books of the same name by author J.K Rowling. The first entry in this blockbuster film franchise was in 2001 with The Sorcerer’s Stone. The film itself was a pretty “by the numbers” fantasy children’s flick. However, as the movies progressed and the actors grew up, the story became more mature, fitting with the maturing fandom.
The story tells the journey of the eponymous Harry Potter, a young orphan child who learns about his magical heritage. What starts as a rather light-hearted adventure steadily evolves into a tale with more serious themes such as racism, prejudice, corruption, and the strength of love, family, and friendship.
The film series has also managed to cement itself as one of the must-watch movies in the geek culture. The Harry Potter franchise should be a perfect fit for young adults from its tales of bravery and friendship. However, for children, geek parents can stick with the first two entries, for the time being, namely The Sorcerer’s Stone and The Chamber of Secrets.
Duration: 2 h 32 min (The Sorcerer’s Stone)
10. The Avengers (2012)
Before Kevin Feige laid out his decade-spanning film series, the notion of having multiple big-name superheroes in the same big-budget movie was nothing but a pipedream. Well, the MCU managed to make that dream into a reality with their blockbuster multi-film saga that features some of the biggest and most iconic comic book characters of all time.
The Avengers is the culmination of several movies that are interconnected with each other, ending up in one big ensemble film. MCU and Disney continued this connected storytelling up to the big finale, about a decade later, with The Avengers: Endgame (2019), one of the highest-grossing movies of all time.
While the MCU films are still going strong today, the first time will always be particular. From seeing our favorite superhero team on-screen simultaneously to watching the most extensive cast of memorable characters from multiple movies, it is certainly something special for the geekdom. And that fantastic journey began with The Avengers.
Duration: 2 h 23 min