12 Moments In Kids' Movies That Absolutely NAIL Childhood Embarrassment

List Rules
Vote up the moments that really capture cringey childhood feelings.

Is there anything more relatable in modern filmmaking than an embarrassing kids' movie moment? There is something so quintessential and sympathetic about childhood embarrassment that more adult-related cringe comedy just can't match. Perhaps it's because these moments cause viewers to think back to a time in their lives when awkwardness felt like the worst thing in the world. Maybe it's because it reminds us of embarrassing memories we've long forgotten.

Whatever the reason, it's hard to argue that some recent classics haven't absolutely nailed the exasperation of preteen angst. Pixar triumphs like Turning Red and Inside Out capture the essence of middle school shame while other movies like Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and A Goofy Movie highlight parent-related embarrassment. And remember when Smalls gets torn to pieces by the local kids for his abysmal throw in The Sandlot? Yeah, that stings. So, scroll on down and vote up the kids' movie moments that make you want to cover your eyes and skip forward.


  • 2022's Pixar joint Turning Red, cruelly sent straight to Disney+ when it should've been released in theaters, is a total bop. Critics and audiences agree that it's expertly crafted, relatable as hell, and just an all-around fantastic movie. Mei Mei might have the super unique experience of being a Chinese-Canadian girl in middle school circa the early 2000s who spontaneously turns into a giant red panda, but anyone who suffered the awkwardness of preteen life (i.e., everyone) can relate to her struggles throughout the movie. Leave it to the great Domee Shi, director of the acclaimed short Bao, to craft something so idiosyncratic and yet so familiar.

    There might not be a more relatable moment in the movie than when Mei's mom grabs her daughter's sketchbook and finds, ahem, semi-lewd drawings of the local checkout boy canoodling with Mei. Mei Mei is going through puberty, okay mom?! Mei's internal cries of "don't look at the notebook" are awfully relatable to each and every one of us who may have been hiding something from our parents at one point or another throughout our youth...

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  • At some point in your youth, you definitely uttered the words, "I wish I were older" or "I can't wait to be an adult." Every kid has that moment at least once in their young lives. Some adult gets to do something like stay up late or eat whatever they want without permission, and you just need to grow up as quickly as possible to have that kind of freedom. As all adults know, growing up too quickly is a fool's errand, and everyone should savor their childhood while they can.

    With that in mind, 12-year-old Josh Baskin suffers a pretty embarrassing moment related to his height near the beginning of the 1988 Tom Hanks hit, Big. Josh, wanting to look cool in front of a girl he's trying to impress, gets in line for a thrill ride at the local carnival. To the bemusement of the older, bigger kids around him, Josh ends up being too short to ride, even though he'd claimed to have ridden it before.

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  • Scotty Smalls does not have an easy go of fitting in with the local baseball crew during the early scenes of 1993's The Sandlot. His only hat is a good fishing cap, he kind of dresses like a dweeb, and he's never been taught how to throw a baseball, let alone play an actual baseball game. But do the sandlot boys cut him a break? Not a chance.

    Without Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez in his corner, Smalls never would've become one of the guys. Not after the disastrous first throw that ends with him tossing the ball about 2 yards and the entire baseball team writhing on the grass in laughter. Smalls is so embarrassed by his show of athletic ineptitude, he runs away crying. 

  • It is hard to be a kid with a family that you love who also embarrasses you in public. Like, it's understandable to love spending time with your weird family members in private while also wishing they weren't around in public. It's not the nicest thing in the world, but sometimes you can't help but be humiliated by the quirky relatives you also adore.

    Case in point: Onward's Barley. Ian Lightfoot, voiced by Tom Holland, isn't the most self-confident guy around. Before his 16th birthday, he manages to muster up the courage to invite some people from school over to a party. That in itself doesn't go well when he fumbles all over his words, but things really take a turn when his older brother, Barley, voiced by Chris Pratt, arrives to pick him up from school. Barley is super into fantasy role-playing games and Ian does not want people to know they are related in that moment. Ian tries to lie and say he doesn't know the guy yelling his name from the unicorn-covered minivan, but he isn't fooling anyone. 

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  • Honestly, just about every scene featuring Riley in 2015's Inside Out provides something relatable for kids to latch onto. The whole movie is about her emotions and how it is important to feel each and every one of them, after all. For our money, though, the most familiar and embarrassing thing Riley has to deal with in the movie is the scene where she is asked by her teacher to stand up and talk in front of all her new classmates after moving across the country to San Fransisco, CA.

    Oh, what's that new teacher I've only just met? You want me, an 11-year-old in a frightening new place, to stand up in front of a room full of strangers and talk about myself? Um, and I mean this as respectfully as possible, are you completely insane? Seriously, are you taking crazy pills? Riley ends up crying in front of all her new classmates and it's pretty devastating to anyone who grew up as an introverted kid.

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  • Nothing like a school dance to bring embarrassing situations out of the woodwork. Who is going to ask who to go to the big shindig? Does everybody actually know how to dance? The possibilities for public faux pas are nearly endless. Somewhere near the top of the list has to be fashion-related anxiety. Just ask Ron Weasley.

    Ron is the recipient of hand-me-down robes that can only be described as the wizarding equivalent of a comically bad 1970s leisure suit. However, that description doesn't really do the robes justice. How is a young wizard supposed to impress at the Yule Ball if everyone is too busy laughing at him? What is more dangerous: the Triwizard Tournament or Ron's terrible shirt collar?

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