24. ‘The Last Airbender’ (2010)
Piggybacking off the phenomenon of Nickelodeon’s cartoon “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” which has devoted followers in kids and grown-ups, this could have been the next “Star Wars.” But instead of bending air, exponentially devolving filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan broke wind with this bloated, unengaging, wretchedly acted farce. He also stuck a huge middle finger up at fans by casting white (and we mean the lily whitest) actors in Asian roles.
23. ‘Hotel for Dogs’ (2009)
Sixteen-year-old Emma Roberts leads a group of kids to gather all the stray dogs in town into a secret abandoned hotel, which sounds like an awesome episode of “Hoarders.” What the great Don Cheadle was doing in a beast of a movie like this is beyond us.
22. ‘Barnyard’ (2006)
This film featured a generic spin on a tired concept: farm animals doin’ human stuff while we’re not looking. If cows riding motorcycles and ordering pizza is your recipe for belly laughs, please, by all means, enjoy this modern masterpiece of social satire.
21. ‘Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius’ (2001)
Steve Oedekerk is the man behind such painfully unfunny concepts as “Thumbmation” and “Kung Pow: Enter the Fist,” and here he brings his patented brand of anti-hilarity to the world of really ugly computer animation. The brainy lead character Jimmy tries to launch an alien communications satellite made out of a toaster, and other such whimsy-run-amok ideas.
20. ‘Rugrats Go Wild’ (2003)
Really, did the “Rugrats” concept truly demand a trilogy? We already thought they were pretty wild to begin with, but Nickelodeon decided to go all Marvel and cross them over with “The Wild Thornberries.” Hopefully the series won’t truly jump the shark when they release “Rugrats and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.”
19. ‘The Wild Thornberrys Movie’ (2002)
This movie’s tagline was “You don’t need extraordinary powers to do extraordinary things,” but unfortunately you do need a halfway decent script to make a watchable movie. The story revolves around animal whisperer Eliza Thornberry’s attempts to save a cheetah cub from African poachers. We prefer the “Simpsons” version, “The Wild Dingleberries.”
18. ‘Rugrats in Paris: The Movie’ (2000)
Those Nicktoon babies are back, and this time they’re hungry for croissants and escargot. When Tommy and the gang travel to EuroReptarland they also help bespectacled buddy Chuckie Finster find a new mom. We’ll take the hijinks of TV show (and the first “Rugrats” movie) instead.
17. ‘Hey Arnold!: The Movie’ (2002)
Did Nick really need a $ 15-million worldwide gross to convince them that their long-running animated show about a fourth grader with a head shaped like a football really isn’t all that fun? A heavy-handed plot about a corporation trying to take over a neighborhood didn’t work for “Robocop 3,” and it wasn’t gonna work here either.
16. ‘Imagine That’ (2009)
We all know Eddie Murphy has gone a long way since “Beverly Hills Cop,” and he has continued his precipitous tumble from our respect with his insistence on doing wimpy-ass paycheck family films, of which this definitely qualifies. The first Nickelodeon project to earn a Razzie nomination (for Murphy), it features the stupefying premise that his young daughter’s vivid fantasy world somehow corresponds to the stock market.
15. ‘Charlotte’s Web’ (2006)
Between the original beloved 1973 animated adaptation of E.B. White’s eternal bestseller and the “Babe” movies, was this really necessary? Throw in Dakota Fanning’s creepily cloying kid actor smile and lots of real animals with computer-generated mouths and you’ve got a recipe for some nightmares, dear readers. Not even Beau Bridges could save Zuckerman’s Famous Pig from being turned into ham and cheese!
14. ‘Yours, Mine and Ours’ (2005)
This remake of the 1968 flick of the same name casts Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo in the Henry Fonda/Lucille Ball roles. This totally realistic scenario involves a man with eight kids from his first marriage (way to score, Dennis!) and a women with ten, count ‘em, TEN from hers. When the two families combine into one mega-family it’s basically “Cheaper by the Two-Dozen.”
13. ‘Snow Day’ (2000)
A group of elementary school kids band together to stop a snow plow driver, ably played by master goofologist Chris Elliot, from clearing the streets so they don’t have to go to school. Sounds like more trouble than its worth, but this episodic comedy has some good chuckles in it, not to mention an ace supporting cast including Pam Grier, Iggy Pop, and Chevy Chase.
12. ‘Clockstoppers’ (2002)
Jonathan Frakes will always be Patrick Stewart’s number one from “Star Trek,” but when he tried to direct the next generation of teencentric action movie things didn’t quite pan out. Jesse Bradford’s Zak Gibbs gets hold of a top-secret watch that can slow down time around him in the most Matrix-y of ways, but when Michael Biehn starts hunting him down it’s a reverse “Terminator” scenario all the way.
11. ‘Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging’ (2009)
This was Nick’s first foray into teenage territory, as well as their first PG-13 rating (“Fun Size” is their second). As for the title, snogging is Brit-slang for kissing, which is what has preoccupied the mind of 14-year-old Georgia Nicolson (Georgia Groome), who gets kissing lessons from a kid named Saliva Boy even though she’s really in love with Robbie (Aaron Johnson) who’s dating her worst enemy Lindsay. It’s all so very high school, but helped raise Johnson’s profile enough to snag him the lead in a little movie called “Kick-Ass.”
10. ‘The Rugrats Movie’ (1998)
Those adorable babies who helped launch Nickelodeon’s foray into the world of original animation in the early ’90s earned the right to their own feature purely by surviving, as “Ren & Stimpy” imploded due to talent issues and “Doug.” This one finds cognizant toddler Tommy Pickles dealing with a new baby brother named Dill (get it?), eventually getting so fed up with the little brat that he and his fellow infant buddies decide to take the kid back to the hospital where he came from.
9. ‘The Spiderwick Chronicles’ (2008)
Though authors Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black crafted eight books in their series, the film version may as well have been called “The Spiderwick Chronicle” (singular), since like its Nickelodeon cousins “Lemony Snicket” and “Last Airbender,” it failed to catch on with mainstream audiences. With a script by indie darling John Sayles it’s better than your average YA movie. “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” star Freddie Highmore gets to play both twins Simon and Jared as they encounter the various faeries and goblins in “Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You.”
8. ‘The Spongebob Squarepants Movie’ (2004)
America’s favorite household cleaning product made a splash with his big-screen debut, which finds him and bestest pal Patrick on an adventure to recover King Neptune’s coveted crown (which hides his bald spot). Lots of wackypants antics ensue, highlighted by a live-action cameo from Mr. Baywatch himself, David Hasselhoff.
7. ‘Good Burger’ (1997)
So, basically, without this movie we wouldn’t have Kenan Thompson singing “What Up With That?”on “Saturday Night Live.” “Good Burger” introduced the world to the hilarity that is Thompson, along with not-so-successful former partner Kel Mitchell, as the two bungling teens invent a secret sauce to help the title fast food franchise stay afloat. Also, name one other movie that features Sinbad, Carmen Electra AND Abe Vigoda?
6. ‘Harriet the Spy’ (1996)
Before she was in “Gossip Girl” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” star Michalle Trachtenberg was but a wee child actor in “Harriet the Spy,” her first high-profile lead role. Based on Louise Fitzhugh’s 1964 YA novel, which has been toted around in many a backpack over the last five decades, it tracks 11-year-old private snoop Harriet M. Welsch as she chronicles the dirtiest secrets of her fellow classmates in her notebook. Harriet then grows up to be Perez Hilton… just kidding.
5. ‘Mad Hot Ballroom’ (2005)
Highlighting both the exquisite diversity of New York City and the underlying maturity that can be found in its children, this much-loved Sundance documentary was picked up by Nickelodeon and went on to become one of the most successful documentaries of all-time. The doc focuses on kids learning how to be competitive ballroom dancers in a competition to see which school is the best, but reveals even more about what it means to step over the threshold into adulthood.
4. ‘Nacho Libre’ (2006)
Jack Black was still riding high off the wave of residual goodwill from “School of Rock” when he decided to team up with “Napoleon Dynamite” mastermind Jared Hess for this willfully eccentric take on the weird world of Mexican wrestling. With his bushy fro, pot belly and mustache, Black’s Ignacio is but a simple cook for a poor monastery who secretly dreams of luchador glory. When he joins forces with buddy Steven “Héctor Jiménez” to become an overnight wrestling sensation, his ego gets a little too big for his spandex.
3. ‘Rango’ (2011)
Director Gore Verbinski lassoed his “Pirates of the Caribbean” superstar Johnny Depp into this animated tale of wild west heroism and… water rights? Yes, this kids movie has more than its fair share of “Chinatown” references, not to mention in-jokes like a brief cameo from Hunter Thompson’s Dr. Gonzo. Essentially, it’s a movie for grown ups with enough cute animals to make it palatable to kids, as opposed to the other way around. Depp’s title pet chameleon/master thespian defends the desert town of Dirt against the lawless, and managed to give Pixar a run for its money when the film snagged a Best Animated Film Oscar.
2. ‘Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events’ (2004)
Along with such other “Harry Potter” also-rans as “The Golden Compass” or “City of Ember,” this YA book sensation failed to translate into enough greenbacks to warrant a franchise. However, unlike those aforementioned duds, this one actually deserved to, with star Jim Carrey channeling Lon Chaney through his various made-up guises as the dastardly Count Olaf, whose continued attempts to kill the three Baudelaire children become increasingly (and hilariously) theatrical. Imagine if Tim Burton had directed “The Night of the Hunter” and you can maybe picture how delightful this German expressionist kids movie truly is.
1. ‘The Adventures of Tintin’ (2011)
The dream team of director Steven Spielberg and producer Peter Jackson consolidated their mighty talents to finally give Herge’s comic book creation the lavish big-screen treatment it deserved, thanks to performance capture animation. While it didn’t exactly set the North American box-office on fire, audiences came in droves across Europe, where the intrepid, seemingly ageless reporter (and his trademark orange cowlick) is bigger than Mickey Mouse. The film itself is a well-calibrated adventure machine that never lets up, whether it’s giving us the greatest pirate battle ever committed to film — take that, Johnny Depp — or using the new technology to stage its biggest action-chase set piece in a single glorious take. Sequels, please.