My pick for today is the 1994 film, Richie Rich. Made at a time when the 1980s cartoon had struck big with kids, this 1994 film is more than just a mere cash grab trying to profit from the cartoon.
Richie Rich is the son of billionaires Mr. & Mrs. Rich, and as such has everything a kid could dream of. That is, until the day he goes to a small town where his father bought a factory and sees some children playing a baseball in a dirt field. It is then that he realizes he is missing the most important thing of all: having friends. Throw in a plot about his parents going missing and the second in command at Rich Incorporated trying to take over the company, and you have the makings for an adventure filled learning experience for your kids.
Why it is a fantastic adventure: There are a lot of fun activities in this movie. Richie’s new friends come over to visit where Richie shows off his collection of “toys”: a rollercoaster, go karts, and a kid launcher. If that does not excite your children and make them want to go outside and have an adventure, then there may not be much that will! In a wonderful bit of marketing, Richie has his own McDonalds in his parent’s mansion which will not only get your kids itching for a trip to McD’s, but I even found myself wanting a Quarter Pounder. Before I get comments about how unhealthful fast food is, let me just say: Moderation.
Of course, food and expensive toys are not the only experiences in this film. There is a great performance by Michael McShane as Professor Keenbean, the wacky inventor of crazy things that happen to be useful at the climax of the movie. His inventions and hammy acting will provide many a laughter for the entire family.
The climax of the movie has a lot of exciting action to keep your kids’ attention, and the end of the film has a nice heartwarming message about family, friends and what matters most in the world. Hint: It’s not money. Use it as a fun action movie and as a way to open conversation with your kids about friends, family, and the real value of a materialistic lifestyle.