Rainy Day Slow Movie Guide

We are in the midst of a string of rainy days here in Kansas City, and while we love a slow morning on a rainy day, they hit different when you’ve got little kids in the house, don’t they? When everyone has maxed out on independent play but you still want to sit on the couch and read your dang book in peace, consider this roundup of my favorite movies to read your book to. Or actually enjoy watching with your kids. Up to you.

The defining feature of all of these films is that they are Not Annoying–a key factor if you share whatever specific strain of neurodivergence makes Trolls a nonstarter for me. They also all happen to be (big surprise!) vintage. While these are movies my family enjoys, we all know that media consumption is a very personal choice that varies a lot between households. All this to say, what’s good for me may not be good for you and that’s ok!

Read on to see our favorite slow, nostalgic, rainy day movie picks:

My Neighbor Totoro (1988) This iconic Studio Ghibli film is a sweet and touching story of two sisters and their relationship to friendly spirits surrounding their new home in rural Japan. The pastoral scenery and traditional soundtrack make this a beautiful watch. The way Miyazaki captures the experience of 4-year-old little sister Mei with such fidelity is magic.

There are mild thematic elements of a sick mom and a lost child, but everything resolves without much drama or heartache.

We like the 2006 dub with real-life sisters Dakota and Elle Fanning, but if you’re really serious abut reading your book, you might want to stick with the original Japanese audio. This is our go-to calm movie, when we all need to chilllll.

Milo & Otis (1986) You know it, right? You love it, right? Filmed in the Japanese countryside (hey, I know what I like) over ten years, what we’ve got here is a heartwarming story of interspecies friendship. Milo and Otis begin life together on a farm, the cat gets curious, and adventure ensues. Expertly narrated entirely by Dudley Moore voicing millions (?) of different animals, this one is so silly and sweet and cute and fun.

There’s some mild peril, but the most shocking thing to me upon my first adult rewatch was the LIVE BIRTH of both kittens and puppies. It’s nature, it’s normal, but it’s a little graphic if you’re not ready for it!

Overall, Milo & Otis is very charming and super watchable for the whole family.

Babe (1995) I’m going to assume this is one of your own childhood favorites, and let me tell you, it holds up. It is possibly even better as an adult. Another pastoral (yeah, it’s a theme) setting that will have you immediately romanticizing moving to a thatched-roof farmhouse in Ireland, Babe is not just a tale of a pig who thinks he’s a sheepdog, but imparts the lesson to your kids that being nice and polite is the way to get what you want. THANK YOU, BABE!

There’s oblique references to the idea of a slaughterhouse and a tiny bit of scary dog growling, but overall this is good, clean fun for all ages.

As an adult, I cannot make it through Farmer Hoggett’s rendition of If I Had Words without shedding a tear (nor can I refrain from singing it myself for the entire following week) and do not miss the ultimate *glimmer* at 00:40:31 when after shearing the sheep, Farmer Hoggett shakes out his take and the morning sun absolutely BLESSES us shining through the wool. I’m not crying, you’re crying.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) I don’t want to debate “appropriate” here, that’s for you to decide, but you guys, it’s SO GOOD. It’s Spielberg, it’s atmospheric, there’s hardly any dialogue and it’s beautiful. It’s about friendship, it’s about not being scared of things you don’t understand, and it’s a little bit about cutting a break to a mom who’s obviously going THROUGH it.

You may recall that it gets a little scary when E.T. (and Elliot) get sick and there’s a bunch of government and medical intervention. There’s also some alcohol use and crude language from big brother–but these are very much of the time and place.

It’s the expertly captured 1980s and a picture of the way things were that amps up the emotional impact for me. I love this alien with all my heart and I hope my kids do, too.

Let me know what you think of my picks, and I’d love to hear about yours! Happy watching, friends!

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