Archive | August 2014

10 Best Animated Movies for Kids

Hey parents, looking for ways to spend quality time with your kids before they start school again? I’ve compiled a list of the Best Animated Movies for Kids, and you can watch many of them on our website. Not only are these Animated Family Movies incredible works of art, but they also have heartfelt messages that you can share with your children. View the top 10 Best Animated Movies below, and let the movie nights begin!

10. The Incredibles

Bob and his wife Helen used to be among the world’s greatest crime fighters. Fifteen years later, they have been forced to adopt civilian identities and retreat to the suburbs where they live “normal” lives with their three kids, Violet, Dash, and Jack-Jack. Itching to get back into action, Bob gets his chance when a mysterious communication summons him to a remote island for a top secret assignment. He soon discovers that it will take a super family effort to rescue the world from total destruction. Teaching Moments: Highlights the importance of family and how each member brings a unique and special power to the table.

The Incredibles

9. My Neighbor Totoro

Deep inside a tree trunk, two children discover a fascinating new world inhabited by Totoros, amazing, charming creatures who become their friends. Teaching Moment: The film addresses serious issues: the fear of losing a parent, the loneliness and frustration of childhood—but its touch is gossamer-light and full of wonder.

My Neighbor Totoro

8. Toy Story

Woody the cowboy and Buzz Lightyear, two talking toys, have a fantastic adventure when they go out into the world. Teaching Moment: This is a landmark animated film about growing up and loyalty to one’s friends.

Toy Story

7. The Secret of NIMH (watch now)

In this beloved animated tale, a widowed field mouse journeys to find a secret society of super-intelligent rats in order to save her children and her home. Teaching Moment: Mrs. Brisby’s quest to relocate her family shows that she is just as brave and capable as her husband, and that with a courageous heart, anything is possible.

The Secret of NIMH

6. The Secret of Kells (watch now)

Nominated for the Best Animated Feature Film at the 82nd Academy Awards, this beautiful movie tells the story of how a young Irish boy faces his deepest fears to help complete the illuminated Book of Kells. Contains some mature themes and violence. Common Sense Media recommends it for ages 9 and up. Teaching Moment: A magical film inspired by Irish mythology.

The Secret of Kells

5. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

The first feature-length animated film to gain worldwide release, this adaptation of the Grimm fairy tale was the beginning of the Disney empire. Teaching Moment: Snow White became the model for the strong fairy tale heroine, inspiring modern animated films like Frozen.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

4. Short Film: The Price of Miracles (watch now)

A little girl embarks on a quest to save her younger brother. Teaching Moment: This film shows that with love and determination, you can always find the help you need.

The Price of Miracles

3. Short Film: The Cracked Pot (watch now)

When a water-bearing pot slips from a ledge and cracks, it fears it has lost its value. Teaching Moment: This short film teaches us that though we may feel “broken,” we all have a purpose and a place.

The Cracked Pot

2. Short Film: The Little Frog (watch now)

Two frogs fall into a hole and surprise everyone. Teaching Moment: The Little Frog shows us that if you listen to your heart and believe in yourself, you can accomplish the impossible.

The Little Frog

1. Pinocchio

When the gentle woodcarver Geppetto builds a marionette to be his substitute son, a benevolent fairy brings the toy to life. Teaching Moment: Beautifully crafted and emotionally resonant, this is a film about the importance of hopes and dreams.


Teacher Appreciation: 10 Inspirational Films About Real-Life Teachers

We all have favorite teachers. Teachers who make learning exciting and fun, who push us out of our comfort zone, who challenge us to overcome obstacles and realize our dreams, who nurture us, who encourage us to believe in ourselves. To show our appreciation for these teachers, we’ve compiled a list of ten inspirational films that tell the stories of real-life teachers. These teachers are out in the world, and they’ve left their mark on generations of students. These are good movies for kids!


1. “Miss Connie’s Last Day” (short film)

Miss Connie's Last Day

A retiring preschool teacher receives a surprise from her students. “A teacher affects eternity: he can never tell where his influence stops.” – Henry Adams. Starring Peggy Lord Chilton.


2. Beyond the Blackboard

Beyond The Blackboard

Inspired by a true story, when Stacey Bess finally lands her first teaching job, she’s shocked and confused. Stacey is assigned to the “School With No Name”, a barren space in a homeless shelter with a mixture of kids of all ages and skill levels. Although her first instinct is to run like all the other teachers, she knows these children need her. Stacey must first tackle her own fears and insecurities as she works to earn the respect of her young students, ultimately providing them with the education and self-confidence they deserve. Starring Emily VanCamp, Steve Talley, and Treat Williams.


3. Front of the Class

Front of the Class

Front of the Class is the true story of Brad Cohen, a man with Tourette’s Syndrome who despite being ridiculed by teachers throughout his childhood for his inability to control his outbursts, had always dreamed of growing up and becoming a teacher himself. So that’s exactly what he did. After being rejected by twenty-four schools, Brad is finally hired and realizes his dream of becoming the teacher he never had. Starring Jimmy Wolk, Treat Williams and Patricia Heaton.


4. The Water Is Wide

The Water Is Wide

Set during the 1960s, this Emmy® nominated movie is about an idealistic, novice schoolteacher who comes to a small island off the coast of South Carolina with the hope of bringing literacy and self-respect to the undereducated, African-American children that reside there. With determination and an unconventional style, the new teacher strives to inspire the children and involve the entire community in their education. Starring Alfre Woodard,Frank Langella, and Jeff Hephner.


5. A Smile as Big as the Moon

A Smile as Big as the Moon (Behind the Scenes)

Mike Kersjes (John Corbett) is a high school special education teacher whose students have disabilities such as Tourette’s syndrome, Downs Syndrome, dyslexia and a variety of emotional problems. But that doesn’t stop Mike from believing that his students would benefit from going to NASA Space Camp, which had been specifically designed only for gifted and talented students; the best and the brightest from America’s most privileged high schools. With remarkable persistence, Mike breaks down one barrier after another, from his own principal’s office to the inner sanctum of NASA, until Space Camp finally opens its doors, on an experimental basis, to special ed students. After nine months of rigorous preparation, during which the class molded itself into a working team, they arrive at Space Camp, and turn in a performance so surprising that it will leave you breathless. Starring John Corbett, Jessy Schram, and Logan Huffman.


6. Music of the Heart

Music of the Heart

A music teacher (Meryl Streep) fights the schoolboard for a chance to teach violin to inner-city kids. Also starring Gloria Estefan, Aidan Quinn, Angela Bassett, and Cloris Leachman.


7. Freedom Writers

inspiring English teacher film

Based on the true story of idealistic teacher Erin Gruwell, Freedom Writers is about a young English teacher who inspires her class of at-risk students to learn tolerance, apply themselves, and pursue education beyond high school.


8. The Great Debaters

inspiring debate teacher

Denzel Washington’s second directorial outing is a drama based on the true story of Melvin B. Tolson, a professor at Wiley College Texas. In 1935, Tolson inspired students to form the school’s first debate team, which went on to challenge Harvard in the national championship.


9. Lean on Me

inspiring principal

Starring Morgan Freeman, this film is based on the true story of the dedicated but tyrannical Joe Clark, who is appointed the principal of a decaying inner-city school that he is determined to improve.


10. Coach Carter

inspiring basketball coach

Ken Carter was a high school basketball coach whose belief that players should be held accountable for poor academic performance outweighed his desire for team wins. In 1999, controversy surrounded Carter after he benched his entire team for breaking their academic contract with him.

Hallmark Hall of Fame Movies – A History

For more than 60 years, the Hallmark Hall of Fame has presented original films that entertain, enlighten, and inspire. Many of Hallmark Hall of Fame’s groundbreaking presentations have made television history. The Hallmark Hall of Fame has often tackled tough subjects, and those presentations have been widely honored. The Hallmark Hall of Fame has received countless awards, including a record 81 Emmys and dozens of Golden Globes, Peabody and Christopher Awards and Humanitas Prizes. One out of every four Academy Award winners in acting categories has appeared in a Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation.

Hallmark Cards Chairman Donald J. Hall says the Hallmark Hall of Fame remains an integral and vibrant part of the company’s culture. “We are in the business of helping people communicate,” says Hall, “a key part of that mandate has been the Hallmark Hall of Fame.”

Don Hall Receives Emmy

In 1982 Don Hall accepted an Emmy for Hallmark Hall of Fame and its “dedication to standards of quality and excellence.”

Here is a timeline of groundbreaking Hallmark Hall of Fame moments. You can watch over sixty Hallmark Hall of Fame movies as a SpiritClips member.


1951 – The first Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation is the world premiere of Gian Carlo Menotti’s opera, Amahl and the Night Visitors. The first original opera ever commissioned for television, Amahl enjoyed several encore presentations over the years.

Amahl and the Night Visitors

Amahl and the Night Visitors was the first Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation

1953 – Hallmark Hall of Fame becomes the first sponsored program ever presented in color.

1953 – Hamlet is the first play by William Shakespeare ever presented on television. More people watched that broadcast than had seen the classic play on stage during the 350 years since it was written.

1961 – Hallmark Cards received the first Emmy ever presented to a sponsor.

Hallmark Hall of Fame awards

Hallmark Hall of Fame productions have won many industry awards and the hearts of many viewers.

1969 – Teacher, Teacher tells of a mentally challenged boy who emerged from his isolation thanks to encouragement from his teacher. The film receives an Award of Merit from the President’s Committee on Mental Retardation.

1977 – Emily, Emily, the sequel to Teacher, Teacher, receives an Award of Merit from the President’s Committee on Mental Retardation.

1982 – The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences presents its prestigious Governors’ Award to Hallmark for the series’ unparalleled contribution to the television medium.

1985 – Love Is Never Silent (1985) features deaf actors and explores issues of particular relevance to the deaf community.

Love Is Never Silent

Love Is Never Silent DVD

1986 – Promise, a remarkable exploration of schizophrenia, is the most honored single program in the history of television. It received five Emmy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor (James Woods), two Golden Globes, a Christopher Award and Humanitas Prize. The production is still widely used as a teaching tool in medical schools throughout the country.

1989 – My Name Is Bill W. dramatized the genesis of Alcoholics Anonymous.

My Name is Bill W

My Name is Bill W. DVD

1992 – Miss Rose White examined assimilation of ethnic and religious minorities in American society.

1997 – Ellen Foster was a hard-hitting portrait of an essentially parentless girl coping with a harrowing childhood.

1998 – Grace & Glorie was a touching portrait of an elderly woman dealing with both isolation and illness.

Grace & Glorie

Hallmark Hall of Fame film Grace and Glorie

2008 – Sweet Nothing in My Ear features deaf actors and explores issues of particular relevance to the deaf community.

2009 – Hallmark Hall of Fame presents The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler, the story of one of the most remarkable World War II heroes who saved 2500 Jewish children during the German occupation of Poland, and Front of the Class, the triumphant story of Brad Cohen, a man with Tourette’s Syndrome who overcame incredible obstacles to become a gifted teacher. The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler receives 3 Emmy nominations and Front of the Class receives the prestigious Voice Award given by the Department of Health & Human Services.

The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler

The Ultimate Guide to Family Movies

Hey Mom and Dad, looking for the best family movies to watch with your kids? With help from our friends at The Guardian, Rotten Tomatoes, Parents, and Time Out, we’ve compiled a family movie guide of the top 25 family movies. How many of these films has your family seen? Do your kids have any favorites that aren’t on this list?

We’ve provided links to the movies that you can watch on SpiritClips, where we have hundreds more family movies that you can watch online as well!

25. Ratatouille


24. Ella Enchanted (Watch Now)

Ella Enchanted

23. The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride

22. Star Wars

Star Wars Trilogy

21. The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid

20. Aladdin


19. The Black Stallion (Watch Now)

Black Stallion

18. The Lion King

The Lion King

17. Finding Nemo

Finding Nemo

16. Spirited Away

Spirited Away

15. March of the Penguins

March of the Penguins

14. Up


13. Harry Potter

Harry Potter

12. Jumanji (Watch Now)


11. The Muppets Take Manhattan (Watch Now)

The Muppets Take Manhattan

10. Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

9. Namu, the Killer Whale (Watch Now)Namu, the Killer Whale

8. It’s a Wonderful Life

It's a Wonderful Life

7. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Watch Now)

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

6. Hook (Watch Now)


5. The Sound of Music

The Sound of Music

4. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

3. ET – The Extra Terrestrial

ET - The Extra Terrestrial

2. Toy Story

Toy Story

1. The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz

Hallmark Hall of Fame Movies – Watch Free Online for 1 Week!

What are you up to this summer? Now is the perfect time for you and your family to kick back, relax, and enjoy Hallmark Hall of Fame’s signature movie collection–on us! Activate a one-week free trial of SpiritClips today and you can watch our entire collection of Hallmark Hall of Fame Movies for free. There are no limits–you can watch as many of these award-winning films as you like, completely free, for one week.

Simply sign up, and in less than five minutes, you can be streaming Hallmark movies like The Lost Valentine, The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler, and Mitch Albom’s Have a Little Faith to your computer, mobile device, media player, or gaming console.

Let the summer movie binging begin! Watch Hallmark Movies Free

5 Things You Never Knew About ‘Men in Black’

Watch 'Men in Black' Now

“Fifteen hundred years ago everybody knew the Earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat, and fifteen minutes ago, you knew that humans were alone on this planet. Imagine what you’ll know tomorrow.” – Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) When Men in Black landed in theaters for the July 4th weekend in 1997, it brought a new sense of cool to the sci-fi comedy genre. From the dark suits and shades to Will Smith’s #1 rap single, the big-budget adventure had a style all its own, and it quickly became a smash hit drawing in audiences of all ages. The original film was so huge it spawned two sequels, an animated TV show, video games, and even a theme park ride. But even 17 years after it became a Hollywood sensation, there are plenty of behind-the-scenes stories that you might not know.

  1. The Original ‘Men’ Were Mean

The movie is based on a little-known comic book series, The Men in Black, created by Lowell Cunningham. Originally, only six issues were published in the early ‘90s, it was about black-suited secret agents who kept the public in the dark about aliens on Earth. But unlike the movie, the agents in the book also dealt with other supernatural beings like werewolves, zombies, and demons. And the characters weren’t nearly as nice, resorting to blatant destruction and even murder to keep their secrets.

  1. Mr. Jones and Mr. Smith Weren’t the First Choices

It’s impossible to imagine anyone other than Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith in the lead roles of Agents K and J. Hollywood icon Clint Eastwood was reportedly approached to play K originally, but he turned it down. Eastwood and Jones would later venture into outer space together in 2000’s Space Cowboys. And Chris O’Donnell was originally considered to play Agent J, but he also passed. It was director Barry Sonnefeld’s wife who spotted Smith on an episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air who first suggested him for the role.

Original MIB - Eastwood and ODonnell

Original MIB – Eastwood and ODonnell

  1. It Was Much More Complicated

The screenplay had a detailed backstory about two warring alien races who were battling over the missing galaxy that ends up in the hands of the Men in Black. When test audiences watched an early cut, though, they found the multiple aliens confusing. So the filmmakers decided to change it to just one type of alien threatening the planet. Luckily for them, most of the dialogue explaining the story was spoken by aliens, so the filmmakers were able to replace dialogue and rewrite subtitles to simplify everything.



  1. A Last-Minute Change Cost Big Bucks

Originally, the crew filmed an ending where Agent J and the villainous alien bug had more of a philosophical discussion than a big fight. But the filmmakers decided it didn’t live up to the action-packed tone of the rest of the film. So they had to scrap the full-size, robotic alien created by the film’s Oscar-winning makeup designer, Rick Baker, and replace it with a fully computer-generated version at the cost of $4.5 million dollars. They did save money on one effect, though: when J angers the bug by squishing cockroaches, Will Smith was actually stomping on mustard packets.



  1. Steven Spielberg Is an Alien

Hollywood legend Steven Spielberg produced the film, but he also makes a very brief cameo appearance. When Agent K is showing J all of the Earth’s “known aliens” on a view screen, Spielberg shows up as one of the extraterrestrials in disguise. Other famous faces on the screen include Star Wars creator George Lucas, Danny DeVito, Dionne Warwick, Al Roker, designer Isaac Mizrahi, Newt Gingrich, Sylvester Stallone, and the movie’s director, Barry Sonnenfeld.


Today, Men in Black is one of the rare blockbuster hits that is just as entertaining today as when it first hit the big screen, and it has laughs and thrills that can be enjoyed by kids and adults. That’s why it’s a featured film selection at SpiritClips, the only streaming service that handpicks high-quality movies that are appropriate for all ages. You can try out SpiritClips for free for one week, and subscribe for as little as $2.99 a month. See it all at