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Five Animated Movies that Changed a Generation Xer’s Life

Here’s my top five animated movies of all time. These movies, while entertaining me, slipped in a hidden meaningful message and helped shape me into the man or whatever I am today. I’d encourage you to take a few evenings and relive the movies that made your childhood. -Steve Henning

5. Transformers the Movie (1986)

A showdown between the ultimate good guys and some of the meanest bad guys around; as a child I had waited forever for this movie to come out. Don’t forget time slows downs when you are a kid waiting on something.

I remember sitting in the theater, feeling like all my dreams were coming true. Then, to my horror, I realize they ain’t sugar coating this for anyone! They killin’ everybody! It was quite shocking as a kid to see some of your favorite characters being knocked off. But ultimately the good guys win….Oh, Spoiler Alert!

The hidden message  in this movie: Even with loss, in your darkest hour – don’t give up hope.

4. Toy Story

When I was a kid, I just knew my He-Man figures came to life when I was sleeping. This movie confirmed it for me. Most kids dream that their toys are real and have personalities all their own. This movie for me was about the internal battle with yourself and your importance in the life of your loved ones.

The hidden message in this movie: To have a friend you need to be a friend. 

3. The Fox and The Hound

What a great story of friendship and how you can find friendship in some places where you wouldn’t expect; young friends that get pulled apart by their lives and find each other again. In my opinion, the best friends are the ones that challenge you. You can have great friends that hold different views from you and still love each other for who they are.

The not so hidden message in this movie: Sometimes, even the best friends grow apart, but they will always be part of who you are.

2. Beauty and the Beast

This movie hit close to home for this hopeless romantic that would, at one time, compare himself to Frankenstein’s monster. I remember growing up wondering why I couldn’t find love, when I was a teenager. At times, that made me angry, much like the Beast in this story. I have since found my Belle and am living my happily ever after.

The hidden message in this movie: There is truly love out there for anyone who wishes for it…. Even if you’re a troll (in your own eyes) there is someone who loves trolls.

1. The Lion King

This movie takes you on a “wild” ride – the life of a young lion and his relationships with his parents, a girl, friends and himself. (Not to mention, some of the best music from the Nineties.) Now, there is a case to be made for the top three movies on this list to be #1, however, The Lion King encompasses all of those ideas plus the relationship with a father that dies and leaves behind everything a son needs to find who he really is. Having lost my father myself, this movie has taken on a whole different meaning.

The hidden message in this movie: You can honor your loved ones and yourself by living up to your full potential… “Remember who you are.”

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