Monday, October 16, 2006

Lots o' Movies

I've been pretty negligent about jotting down notes on movies we've seen (and we've seen a LOT), so I'm going to attempt to hit a bunch of movies in nice little chunks...

Cinderella Man (2005 - Russell Crowe, Renee Zellwegger, directed by Ron Howard) We saw this months and months ago and LOVED it. It's based on the true story of a boxer past his prime who makes a huge comeback during the depression (and when his family is in serious need). It's so moving in the way it portrays Braddock's pride and concern for his family. I'll never forget the words "I'm fighting for milk." We found this appropriate for teens and adults (contains some boxing violence and language). Ria enjoyed it too!

God or the Girl This is a reality show about four young men who are trying to decide whether or not God is calling the to the priesthood. We found the show to be fair-minded on the whole and perhaps more honest than we might have expected. This is a show worth watching and discussing for Catholic parents working to understand how to foster vocations in their families. Not all the examples are good ones! (at least one priest and one set of parents are pushy - not a good idea!) There's really a lot to talk about in other places besides. Steve's and Dan's stories were our favorites. Such enthusiasm and emotion and faith!

Because of a Netflix fluke we ended up receiving the 2nd disc first - and went ahead and watched it first. We let Ria and Gus watch it too - lots of positive stuff. Then we watched the first disc - which ended up with a lot more complex things and decided to have them skip that for now. There were a lot of little things worth discussing (when we have time) of varying complexity in the various relationships portrayed in the show. I'm afraid it would take too many lines to explain them all here right now.

Beyond Christmas (originally titled Beyond Tomorrow). This is an oldie (circa 1940) I hadn't seen before that opens wonderfully in a Christmas Eve scene with an interesting and touching premise. Three old gentlemen, finding themselves alone at Christmas, decide to invite some strangers to their table by throwing wallets out into the city street (with ten dollars and a business card in each) and see if anyone returns them. There was a lot to like, but in the end it sort of fizzles as if nothing else could keep up with the interesting starts to the story. Jean Parker (who plays Beth in the 1930s Little Women beside Katharine Hepburn as Jo) plays the leading lady.

Four Chaplains is a recent (and rather short) documentary about the four army chaplains (one priest, two Protestant ministers and one rabbi) aboard the U.S.S. Dorchester, which was sunk by U-Boats near Greenland on February 3, 1943. Their courage and camraderie were inspiring and they ended up going down with their boat and approximatley 600 men, arm-in-arm singing and praying, after giving their life vests to others. Most of the life boats were frozen to the ship and only those aboard the two life boats that were able to launch were saved.

The Caine Mutiny (1954 - Humphrey Bogart, Fred McMurray, Van Johnson) This is a classic we revisited after quite a few years. Humphrey Bogart is an aging Naval officer who takes over an unruly ship with low morale. His mental stability is questioned and strange behaviors lead to a mutiny. Thoughtful stuff and worthy of discussion with teens.

Walk the Line (2006 - Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon) This is the quite intense story of country legends Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash. Johnny Cash went through horrible bouts of drug and alcohol abuse before eventually finding his way. The story is painfully honest - a little overwhelmingly so for me at this viewing, so I don't think I appreciated it as much as others have. I was glad I saw it, but it's definitely not for the kids.

The kids have also enjoyed (i.e. I'm running out of energy to review):

This is America Charlie Brown
The Shaggy Dog (with Tim Allen)
The Importance of Being Earnest (1952)

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