The 10 Most Unlikely Kids Movie Stars

The Rock's appearance in this week's Tooth Fairy compelled us to look back at some movies where tough guys went soft...

Ever since Arnie wrangled a bunch of infants in Kindergarten Cop, seems like every tough guy can't wait to show their softer, humorous side around kids, animals, 'toons and talking trains. Many of the films are critically reviled and only a few are hits, but -- as Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson proves by donning the wings in this week's Tooth Fairy, his third go at family fun -- the trend isn't going away any time soon. Here then are 10 of the most unlikely stars of kids movies...

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Arnold Schwarzenegger --- Jingle All the Way (1996)

He'd already tracked down Sarah Connor, the Predator and the truth about the Mars colony, so it seemed only natural that someone should make a movie in which action-man Arnie's entire challenge amounted to buying a Turbo Man toy as a Christmas present for his son (future Anakin Skywalker moppet Jake Lloyd). His competitor for the little piece of moulded plastic? Comedian Sinbad. Released in the yuletide season, it managed to make box-office cash registers jingle just enough for it to break even but critics and audiences who went along responded to it like a lump of coal in a stocking.

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Christopher Walken --- The Country Bears (2002)

When we think of the big-haired crazy man with the oddball vocal cadences, we flash to him haunted in The Deer Hunter and The Dead Zone or busting caps in True Romance and The King of New York. But while Walken has shown his softer side in numerous kids movies, his aura of menace comes with him. His Puss In Boots is ace for its displays of his dancing ability but the same can't be said for his other forays into critter cinema. At least Kangaroo Jack saw him playing a typical gangster role bit, but in The Country Bears he was called on to do the same schtick -- just opposite three actors in ursine outfits. You get the idea he did it solely for the below armpit music scene, which is high-grade Walken weirdness.

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Alec Baldwin --- Thomas and the Magic Railroad (2000)

Baldwin's a big guy who projects a brusque no-nonsense confidence, whether it's as an NBC chieftain on 30 Rock or in his formative screen tough guys in The Getaway and Glengarry Glen Ross. All of which makes it funnier to see him appear as a 12-inch tall fairy amid the talking trains of this terrible movie version of the popular tyke TV show. He's Mr. Conductor, who works the Magic Railroad between the human world of Shining Time and the talking-train universe of Sodor, and he has lost his gold dust -- meaning he can no longer sparkle between the two places! Try not to think of his "Always be closing" speech when he's driving Thomas, blowing a whistle and saying "Sparkle! Sparkle! Sparkle!"

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Robert De Niro --- The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (2000)

Good sense of humor or dud career move? That's what we all asked ourselves when Robert De Niro joined this big-budget but small-brained adaptation of the TV cult cartoon. That he actually parodied his "Are you talkin' to me?" scene from Taxi Driver in this flop might just have been the line in his career where De Niro crossed over from awesome actor to self-parody specialist. Certainly his biggest hits since have traded on him mocking his tough-guy image, while actual meaty dramatic roles have been few and far between.

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Shaquille O'Neal --- Kazaam (1996)

Hollywood had clearly learned nothing from that time the Harlem Globetrotters visited Gilligan's Island and so it was decreed that Shaq should become a movie star. But instead of an action effort -- the route Dennis Rodman would take next year in the gloriously cheesy Double Team -- or even a 'toon tale like Michael Jordan in Space Jam -- Shaq was shoehorned into this horrendous kids comedy as -- wait for it -- a genie. But not just an ordinary genie -- a rapping genie. Who lives in a beat box. You haven't lived until you've heard the lines: "Trapped in a box like a premature burial/Used to mull in the space cemetarial/Suffered a curse that was more than malarial/Lived as a ghost granted wishes material/Served every Tom, Dick and Harriel." Where did the screenwriters buy their rhyming dictionary?



onaivatco5 november

hilarious list spot on with the films.

Jan 20 - 04:13 PM

J.D. Karlowich

Josh Karlowich

Joe Pesci was good in the first two Home Alone, though I still do remember reading somewhere that Robert De Niro was also a choice if Pesci declined, or something like that. Still I find the Karate Dog one funny and kind of unbelievable. I still think Bob Clarke's best is A Christmas Story, which is still memorable as a great family Christmas film. Probably made the wrong choice with Karate Dog.

Jan 20 - 04:21 PM

inactive user

Jared King

Oh God! "Kazaam"! Makes "Steel" seem like "Citizen Kane"!

Jan 20 - 04:31 PM


Jesse Mahan

I can't believe there is such a low rating for Jingle All the Way, I love it (Sinbad and Hartman make that movie). This is the first I'm hearing of Santa with Muscles, the picture for it makes it look like it was from the 80's not the 90's, I'm guessing it was made for TV.

Jan 20 - 04:34 PM

inactive user

Jared King

By the way, Alec Baldwin's role in "Thomas"...just, amazing.

Jan 20 - 04:35 PM

Diego C.

Diego Calderon

This is just a greaaat list. Thank You.

Jan 20 - 05:27 PM


Carlos Marquez

Both Pesci and Stern were great in Home Alone

Jan 20 - 05:27 PM

Castor Troy

Derek Williams

Side note... George Carlin. Shining Time Station. Nuff said.

Jan 20 - 05:38 PM



@ D Effin W Completely agree with you about George Carlin as the conductor in the Thomas TV show. I remember when my little brother watched that back in the day and thought it was SO random. Much more peculiar than Alec Baldwin. No mention of Orson Wells in Transformers, though? Or are we not counting voice acting? I don't want to even start with the Muppet movies, though that did somewhat cater to adults as well. For all time strangeness, though, ya gotta go with Sean Connery in Darby O'Gill and the Little People

Jan 21 - 06:36 PM

The Vile

mazyar goodarz

Ha ha. I went to see Jingle All the Way. It was at the height of the Arnold craze, and I was more than a little disappointing.

Also, I never knew that about Simon Rex. According to Wikipedia, he starred in 'Young, Hard & Solo #2' & 'Young, Hard & Solo #3'!

Jan 20 - 05:46 PM


scifi mark

There are some wretched movies in this list. The home alone is definitely the best of the lot. My friends made me watch santa with muscles. (Maybe i need some new friends)

Jan 20 - 06:13 PM


William Reznicek

home alone is at a rotten score here? wow. i love that movie.

Jan 20 - 06:26 PM


Thomas Grady

Home alone at 47%? Today with all of the **** out, the critics would have praised it. By the way I love that movie.

Jan 21 - 07:23 AM

Randy Watson

Gordon Freeman

Wow, I cringed about a dozen times during the Rocky and Bullwinkle trailer. Talk about dated references...

Jan 20 - 07:04 PM


That Guy

I find it so hilarious that not a single movie on this list is in the Fresh zone. Though I love Home Alone, I understand why it's rotten.

Jan 20 - 07:17 PM

Captain Terror

Captain Terror

How about former "NWA" Ice Cube in "Are We There Yet?"

Jan 20 - 09:03 PM


Michael Adams

Nice call!

Jan 20 - 10:39 PM

Matt M.

Matt McAwesome

Hahahaha Shag, what a bad idea that was

Jan 20 - 09:39 PM


Michael Adams

Nice call!

Jan 20 - 10:39 PM


Tyson Herritt

If there's a Hogan family film it should of been Mr. Nanny.

God that film is so horrible!

Jan 20 - 11:58 PM

August M.

Agustin Macias

Rocky and Bullwinkle is easily the best one on the list.

Jan 21 - 03:45 AM

Lord F.

Lord Flashheart

I'm with sund7cuU, from "F the police" to "Are we there yet?" is the greatest drop in street cred in living history.

Jan 21 - 05:37 AM

yani b.

yani binko

I know right. Vin Deisel! LOL, thats too funny dude.


Jan 21 - 06:15 AM

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