Patti asked for some recommendations of other movies that might entertain children of a certain age (and I did notice how she skirted any mention of having Kate study Chico's piano techniques...). I took a highly scientific poll of two completely normal North American children between the ages 9 and 11. Here are the results:
In the Black and White category (formally known as the "old and boring" category, but upgraded to "very funny and hilarious"):
1. All the Marx Brothers movies but esp. Duck Soup, Night at the Opera, A Day at the Races, and Horse Feathers.
2. Bringing Up Baby (and nearly any Cary Grant/Katherine Hepburn movie)
3. Some Like It Hot
4. Dr. Strangelove (this was Finnian's idea. I understand if a Stanley Kubrick flick about nuclear annihilation isn't on your list for 11 year olds but Peter Sellars is so amazing you should watch it even without children present)
5. Some Buster Keaton movies. We have only seen a few but they went over well.
Beyond black and white...
1. Local Hero (perhaps my all-time favourite movie?)
2. War of the Buttons (an Irish movie about two groups of children who have a "war" - very nice but maybe harder to find)
3. George and Martha (this is a series of animated stories based on the George and Martha books by James Marshall. They are geared for younger children but, with Nathan Lane doing the voice of George, let's just say, they have appeal far beyond the target audience.)
4. Michael Palin travel series. (these were BBC TV series that have been compiled onto dvds. Palin goes around the world in 80 days, from pole to pole, etc., and is always amusing and not condescending in his travels. Really entertaining!)
5. Monty Python's Holy Grail (speaking of Michael Palin...but be warned, you may be creating one of those people who go around quoting Monty Python all the time!)
And just for Patti:
It has subtitles in French so it must be educational! We were in tears...