Filmhash List: Kid’s ‘Close Encounters’

A list from the esoteric brains behind Filmhash. If you have a list topic, let us know, and we’ll…come up with something!

Tonight we’re going to see Super 8, J.J. Abrams’ tribute to the late 70s/early 80s film of national treasure Steven Spielberg. Here are 8 other ‘super’ films featuring kids and their own ‘Close Encounters.’

1. ET: The Extraterrestrial (1982)


This is easily the most popular film in the genre, and one of Spielberg’s most personal. The character of ET was modeled after an imaginary friend Spielberg created for himself during his parent’s divorce. While being intensely autobiographical, what makes ETsuccessful is that it also explores the universal themes of family, loneliness, peace, and friendship.

2. The Last Starfighter (1984)



Along with Tron, The Last Starfighterwas one of the earliest films to extensively use computer animation in live action. This movie is a kind of wish-fulfillment, as a high score on a video game translates into a ticket to be a real space fighter. It’s a solid 80s action comedy, and especially fun for those of us who love old school video games.

3. The Forbidden Kingdom (2008)


So imagine if Daniel-san from The Karate Kidgot knocked out and woke up in ancient China as part of the Monkey King myth. That’s basically what this film is, and oh yeah, it’s the first ever film to star both Jackie Chan and Jet Li. Completely awesome.

4. Monster House (2006)


The best of the Zemeckis motion-capture films, and is easily one of the scariest PG films I’ve ever seen. Basically a kid and his friends have to save their neighborhood from an evil living house. The movie is definitely one of the most inventive kids films to come from somewhere other than Pixar.

5. Iron Giant (1999)


One of the few animated period films I can recall, Iron Giant has a fascinating backstory, the most interesting of which is that because of a corporate foul-up, director Brad Bird was able to make the movie with little studio oversight. If you haven’t seen it, you owe it to yourself to see this movie.

6. The Indian in the Cupboard (1995)


Based on the book of the same name, this is a heartwarming film about a kid and his toys coming to life. Unlike Andy from Toy Story, though, Omri knows his toys are alive.

6. The Neverending Story (1984)


This American/German coproduction is one of the best ‘pure’ fantasy films ever made, near and dear to children of the 80s.

7. Attack the Block (2011)


We recently saw this film at an advance screening, and we loved it. It’s a group of kids defending their apartment building from an alien invasion. Here’s our in-depth review.

8. It

Because Ryan is terrified of clowns, I’m writing this one. It is an awesome made for TV special (yes, and also a Stephen King horror novel) about a group of kids that are terrorized by Pennywise the clown, a literal personification of fear. The kids are able to escape the clown’s clutches but their paths to adulthood are clouded by their past encounters with the evil Pennywise. It isn’t until later, all grown up, that the group of childhood friends is ready to face their fears and summon the courage to defeat their evil foe together. Also: Ryan, this pic is for you. Sweet dreams.

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