Inspiration in Hollywood? I’m aghast!

One year in law school I went home to Utah for spring break. Over the weekend I saw three movies. The Testaments at Temple Square, God’s Army in the theater and The Mission on video. How did they stack up?

I’ve never been able to stomach a second viewing of The Testaments–that movie sets my teeth on edge. I’m always really uncomfortable with fictionalizing the scriptures, but doing it with cartoonish villains who are crushed by walls and that annoying monkey that refused to die was just sad and embarrassing. I know that I should have focused on the scenes with the Savior, but the feeling that I was watching live action Disney was phenomenally distracting. Final word? ugghh

God’s Army was a good flick–started an interesting cultural phenomenon–but it’s quality was somewhat tempered by the awful cheesy ending. I have it on video but hardly ever actually watch it. Over all? ehhh.

The Mission is now one of my favorite movies. I think that the story it tells about the power of unconditional love and the possibility for redemption is amazing, touching, and wonderfully executed. Not to mention the questions it raises about the morality of resistance. The performances are superb, and the visuals are exceptional. My verdict? Incredibly inspiring film.

So let’s ignore, for a moment if possible, most of the insipid garbage that comes out of Hollywood. I’d like to know which *mainstream* movies you find inspiring and why.

Comments

  1. Actually, Steve, I only saw it once.

    Ironically, I saw it on TV amidst the every-very-tweleve-minute commercial interuptions. I had to wonder how much that in itself affected my experience with the movie.

  2. Bob…

    Apparently it wasn’t as forgettable as you’re making it out to be, given your reaction!

    I strongly disagree with your take on it, in a number of ways, but it’s a matter of taste. Your statement that “People with “taste” use the classic cop out of “but it’s artistic”” is of course meaningless. Funny how you read so many reviewers that liked it, all those critics must be smoking weed.

    Why don’t you put up a movie for me to stomp on? Aaron has avoided a stompin’ by posting movies beyond reproach.

  3. D. Wow. Impressive collection, but I’m not sure we want reviews of all 1400….. :o) What I’m really after is movies that are inspiring and why.

  4. D. has over 1400 DVDs? D., you are my new god. Let me know thy will, and it shall be done.

    I’m sure I’m not thinking of the *perfect* answer to this question, but the movies that immediately came to mind were Sullivan’s Travels, Cries and Whispers, and Tootsie.

    Sullivan’s Travels is about a successful film director who decides that he should stop making comedies and make an *important* film. After some comic misadventures, the movie takes a serious turn and the director ends up living with some of the people he thought it was his duty to educate and uplift, and finds that what they most want to do is laugh and be entertained. So he returns to making comedies. The movie is good and clever, and also inspiring because it deflates this idea that I sometimes have that I must perform noble, pious and grand acts of saving-the-world while I am alive, rather than to just try to do what I am already doing better, more humanely, and more responsively to people around me. Also, I just like how ironic it is that a movie about how a guy doesn’t need to make inspiring movies ends up being inspiring! Cries and Whispers is about three sisters, two of whom are closed off emotionally and just can’t connect with the others. It makes me think about how I should open myself up more to my family and other people — it’s easy to become closed-off. Tootsie, because I’ve been watching it once a year on Christmas Eve since I was a teenager (don’t ask) and it’s funny and smart and it always makes me believe that men and women can be equal and can figure each other out.

    All of the movies that “inspire” me probably have in common people trying to connect with each another.

  5. D., we are kindred spirits in many respects, you know.

    I liked Punch-Drunk Love because it teaches about our basic needs to love and to be loved, and although it’s sentimental (in the finest sense), it’s never stupid. I can see how Aaron wasn’t interested in the romantic relationship, but he is not the tender soul (read: sucker) that I am.

    Sumer & I also want you to know, D., that if you weren’t such a snob in your home theater requirements, we’d have you over more often. But your system is tough to beat.

    p.s. what happened to Babette’s Feast?

  6. VeritasLiberat says:

    Here are some I find inspiring:

    The Man Without a Face
    Apollo 13
    Groundhog Day
    Immortal Beloved

  7. Here is why I thought your “but it’s artistic” claim was meaningless — because saying a film is artistic can be a perfectly sound encomium. “Artistic” is a compliment; it means that a film shows imagination and skill. “Artistic” by itself doesn’t mean too much unless someone can explain the art involved, but this is not a cop-out, IMHO.

    You can of course disagree with the particular elements that others find artistic in a film. For example, I thought that the use of light in Punch-Drunk Love was like visual poetry in its free-form; that the score was perfectly timed and balanced; and that the directing (most especially PT Anderson’s long, tracking shots) showed both control and a willingness to experiment with form — you could disagree with these claims or say that’s not enough to make the movie worthwhile for you. But just labelling “artistic” as a cop-out is taking the easy way out (just like how my labelling your phrase as “meaningless” was an easy way out!).

    I think your statement, “I don’t just say a movie is “good” just because the majority of the critics think so” is perfectly valid. My response was snide, and meant to suggest that when a film has overwhelming critical support, it’s a little tougher to flippantly toss that movie aside as “unforgettable.”

    As for Gladiator? eh. I’m a Ridley Scott fan, but I thought it was a little derivative of well, gladiator movies, but exceedingly well-made. I agreed with Elvis Mitchell’s review: “The movie wants to criticize the crowds thirsting for violence, yet it doesn’t shy away from presenting gladiators wrestling with tigers. Commodus waxes dementedly that ”the power to amuse a mob is power.” It’s the only kind of power ”Gladiator” desires.”

  8. Hmm, a few that I have found inspiring:

    The Shawshank Redemption
    The Spitfire Grill
    Seven Samurai

    There are a lot more — I guess it depends on what is meant by inspiring.

  9. Hmm, pre-1980 fare. Most of what I’ve seen seems very un-inspiring. The Godfather, Chinatown, Dr. Strangelove, The Manchurian Candidate, Vertigo, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Clockwork Orange, Apocalypse Now — slim pickings if looking for inspiration. Others seem possible — Star Wars, Citizen Kane, Casablanca, Liberty Valance — but not many that I would personally define as really inspiring.

    Oh, wait, I’ve got one:

    High Noon. Talk about character — is anyone as cool as Gary Cooper in this one?

  10. I find “Glory” and its soundtrack to be very inspiring. I’m surprised no one else has posted it so far.

    By inspiring, I mean that after I watch it, it makes me want to get up, do something, and be a better person. There are few films that do that.

  11. D. Fletcher says:

    I find artistry incredibly inspiring, but artistry can be found in source material that is itself less than inspiring, say, Pulp Fiction.

    I’d like to mention two movies that have inspired me.

    The first is perhaps the greatest movie to have been made in Hollywood, The Best Years Of Our Lives, directed by William Wyler. The story of 3 servicemen returning from the war, representing a perfect sociological paradigm: the upper class banker with loving family was a sergeant, the lower class soda-jerk became a captain, and has medals for heroism, and the middle class college athlete lost both arms, and has to look forward to a grim reality. The story concerns their readjustment to life in their (shared) hometown.

    Though the points are made early, the movie is hugely compelling throughout its 3 hours, for the dignity it provides all its characters, and the love shown between families, and the impact of war on normal citizens. One scene, in particular, never ceases to amaze me: in deep focus, the banker/sergeant returns home and surprises his wife (he’s been away for 3 years!) — she’s seen in a long shot at the end of the hall. Wordlessly, he walks down the hall and they embrace. It sounds simple, but this wordless scene tells us so much about the characters, what they have meant to each other, and the awkwardness of resurrecting these old feelings. Perhaps some of love of this movie is a fantasy — these relationships seem like eternal relationships, to me, but I can only sympathize from a distance, since I’m not married, with very little possibility in this life.

    The second movie I’d like to mention is Babette’s Feast, see my next post.

  12. I found Castaway to be inspiring. I am a drama student and I found that there were a lot of elements that were common to both. Normally, drama and film differ in presentation styles (Think whispering, edits, panoramic sets, etc), but I found some things quite familiar).

    For example, the whole time Chuck Noland is stranded on the island, there is no score being played and no special effects being used. ItÂ’s just man against nature and humanity. Many reviews IÂ’ve read criticise the film from being too boring and not having enough substance, but I wonder if the reviewers are confusing theatricality with substance.

    I found it to be a very engaging film that provoked some thoughts in me at the end about humanity, my own goals, and my family. The vast majority of films donÂ’t do that for me and thatÂ’s why I get border with them and why I enjoy live theatre.

  13. Jeremy's FW says:

    I have to agree with Glory and Empire of the Sun. Harold and Maude is great, too. I’d like to add a few:

    Cool Hand Luke
    Ruben & Ed (“My cat can eat a whole
    Watermelon”)
    In America (currently at the dollar theater
    in our town–SO good)

    I never fall asleep during movies in the theater, but Castaway has the honor of being the only movie boring enough to lull me to sleep. (Maybe it’s those soothing wave sounds — like those Classics with Waves cds they sell at Target.)

  14. I just wanted to chime in in support of Punch-drunk love. Bob, here’s some things that are great about it:
    1) the theme song from Popeye sung by Shelley Duvall that is played throughout. Absolutely perfect and beautiful.
    2) the use of color and light to convey an emotional tone throughout.
    3) Unlike Sandler’s other roles (with violent outbursts) Sandler’s psychosis her is perfectly explicable when we see a glimpse of his home-life. It isn’t too far-fetched that all those emasculating sisters in your face could do something to a guy.
    4) there isn’t a bad acting performance in the whole movie, even by the guys who aren’t actors (the Utah brothers, Robert Smigel).

    Inspiring in the traditional sense? I don’t know. But definitely a terrific movie.

  15. I know that the cow-healing gets your goat *tee hee hee* but I’m pretty sure it’s based on a historical account. That woman in Legacy was a conglomeration of several women’s experiences. (And yes, I would take Legacy any day to that _other_ awful film…)

  16. D. Fletcher says:

    I know the point here isn’t to dump on other people’s choices. But I need to acknowledge that Gladiator and Braveheart are not particularly inspiring movies to me. Gladiator suffers from a plethora of cliched movie attitudes, and I also think its production values are pretty poor for such an expensive movie. The split-second editing makes this movie incoherent. Braveheart is just too self-aggrandizing, it’s nearly intolerable to watch (although I like the battle scenes).

    I don’t own either of these movies, and I haven’t seen them since my first viewing in the theater. And you won’t catch me going to The Passion of the Christ, ever.

    Meanwhile, my newest DVD is perfectly splendid, the perfect fantasy of a family, Meet Me In St. Louis.

    I think it’s important to reveal one’s biases, so readers know how “read” the criticism. Obviously, I like musicals and literary movies more than gargantuan epics and beautified violence.

  17. I love remembering movies I’ve seen, so I always respond to questions like Karen’s. I don’t know if all these qualify as “mainstream” (as Karen requested), but here are some movies that haven’t been mentioned so far that inspire me (and I’m defining “inspiring” not in terms of great expressions of artistry or humanity, but in terms of helping me feel connected to or aware of something that transcends this world) :

    Passion of Joan of Arc
    The Thin Red Line
    Wings of Desire
    Faraway, So Close
    Heaven
    Blue
    The Straight Story
    Days of Heaven
    Yi Yi
    2001: A Space Odyssey
    Kundun
    School of Rock

    (ok that last one’s just to see if anyone is reading this far; it’s inspiring in its own way.)

  18. I love to watch animated movies, but maybe because I have three kids who love them.

    My two favorites are Shrek and Finding Nemo.

    The message in Shrek is amazing about how you are beautiful no matter how you look. I thought the ending was perfect.

    Finding Nemo has cut down the amount of fish we eat because “fish are friends not food.” I can never go by a fish market with out my kids blurting out that pharse.

    But my most favorite movies are ones directed by Alfred Hitchock. I love his style of filming.

  19. Aaron Brown says:

    I must say I do agree with Bob here on Sandler being his “usual dumb self.” Greg may be right that Sandler’s “psychosis here is perfectly explicable,” and as I said before, I thought his relationship with his family was fairly interesting, but I have to roll my eyes at those who insist this was the film that “proved” something about Sandler’s depth or range as an actor. This really was a role made for Sandler; it didn’t require anything from him other than that he play the same character he’s played in almost all his other films, minus the slapstick. I thought this was an incredibly “safe” role for Sandler.

    (That said, I actually do think Sandler can be really funny. I quite liked “Happy Gilmore,” despite a number of stupid scenes, because I thought Sandler’s character seemed quite natural and endearing. Almost every other film of his has been sheer torture to watch).

    Aaron B

  20. I must say I enjoyed the first two LOTR movies. Unfortunately, I became a drama student before seeing the third and was utterly bored by it. Live theatre has spoiled me.

    :-D

  21. I read you loud and clear about “Pay it Forward,” the pathos was unbearable. But Amelie was great, IMHO. Perhaps that shows my penchant for all things French, but I already like Jeunet’s visual style and as an homage to Montmartre it really rang true.

  22. I second Babette’s Feast!

  23. I should add to my earlier list the caveat that Punch-Drunk Love has some more adult content to it, and is rated R. It’s happily very skippable in its adult content, but you know, let the viewer beware.

  24. I think it’s time to articulate the parameters of acceptable blogging at this site.

    Rule #1: You are not allowed to like Punch-Drunk Love AND comment at this site. It’s one or the other, folks. Punch-Drunk Love aficionados can surely find many, many other blogs that will accept their kind. Doesn’t mean we have to…

    :)

    Aaron B

  25. I usually don’t comment here but as a movie junkie I can’t resist.

    All time favorite inspiring films:

    Empire of the Sun – all time favorite!
    Brother Sun, Sister Moon
    Out of Africa – So inspiring I will soon be able to say “I once had a farm in Arizona”
    Best Years of Our Lives

    Runner’s up
    Braveheart
    Shawshank Redemption

    That’s the inspiring group for now. I am sure there’s more. Our family is a lot like “D”s. We have approximately the same amount of movies.

  26. I want to comment on your post, but first I’d like to point out that the “cow-healing” in Legacy is my favorite scene in all mormon film. I briefly consider adding an animated .gif of it as our BCC logo.

  27. I’d agree that it’s not inspiring in the traditional sense. It’s no Schindler’s List, that’s for sure.

  28. I’d like to add two favorites, To Kill A Mockingbird and Punch-Drunk Love. Very, very different from each other in visual style and content, but I find both inspiring tales of love.

  29. Kaimi…High Noon is a fabulous example. Maybe that should be in the seminary curriculum under the peer pressure section rather than those lame “not of this world” slide shows. Oh wait, I just showed my age…I’m sure they don’t show those anymore.

    Aaron…I have so much respect for you in other areas, but you clearly you have terrible taste in movies. :o)

  30. Kristine says:

    Karen, I’m pathetically NOT a movie buff–in fact, someone at T&S recently chastised me for my cultural illiteracy–but I love “The Mission.” I think the sequence of DeNiro climbing the cliff with that awful pack and then having it cut off is the single best lesson on repentance ever given. And the soundtrack–two measures of those choirs or that little boy singing can send me completely off the deep end for days.

  31. Karen, the Not of the World ones were funny, but were you around for the even older ones–the Old Testament ones with Julie-in-the-Wheelchair as Job? THOSE were funny!

  32. Kim, I liked Castaway too, but for two shots in particular. The one where he climbs the hill/mountain on the island and he can see across the sea for miles, nothing in the way. And then when he gets to Texas and he gets to the intersection in the road and the horizon goes on for miles and miles. I love those two scenes alone.

  33. Kim, you’ve doubtlessly seen it more times than I have, so I will defer to your expertise. As the French say, “a chacun son gout.”

  34. Kristine, that seen with the pack makes me bawl like a baby everytime I see it. One time I broke down and violated my personal cardinal rule to never show video clips during my gospel doctrine lesson, and showed that clip. But the lesson was on forgiveness, and I just couldn’t resist. When it was finished I asked the class…”okay, so why are we watching this movie in gospel doctrine.” A friend sitting on the front row said under his breath “because Karen didn’t prepare a lesson this week?” Arrrrgh. I will never break my cardinal rule again. (Although it did eventually, with a better question, start a really good discussion on forgiveness.)

  35. lyle, all of those are fine action movies, and those themes are certainly present.

    For some reason though, they lacked the simplicity and sincerity of smaller, simpler movies. Don’t get me wrong — I am a big fan of those you’ve named. But I’ll go looking elsewhere for personal direction or inspiration.

  36. Mardell,

    Funny you should mention that. After w saw Nemo for the first time and we had fish for supper, I said to my then two-year-old son, “We’re having Nemo for supper.” Now, whenever we have fish, they refer to it as Nemo.

    :-)

  37. Mardell…do you think Disney is responsible for the rise in no meat eating? If all the kids/fams who watch animals with people personality in Disney movies feel similarly re: fish are friends, cows are cool, etc…

    the meat eaters of the world are sure to dwindle.

  38. Mary, I liked the scene at the crossroads to. Very symbolic.

    Steve E., I agree with the statement “Once he’s home the film loses its drive entirely and the narrative is aimless”. That’s when all the noise and music and theatricality come back. That’s when all the complexity of society comes back. In itself, the loss of drive may have been done on purpose. There’s something intrinsically worthwhile in raw, pure action; something we sometimes wish we had. If I had my way, I doubt thereÂ’d be much in the film IÂ’d change.

  39. Anonymous says:

    Must admit, for inspiration, hard to better

    Le Passion de Jeanne D’Arc

    particularly the recent restored version with the newly-written choral score (the movie is silent) (I have the DVD)

    and another Dreyer film,

    Ordet (the DVD again)

  40. Not really mainstream, and not available on DVD, but “My Brilliant Career.” It is an Australian film starring Judy Davis and Sam Neill, directed by Gillian Armstrong (IMdB profile here http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0079596/). I love this movie. It’s an excellent movie about a woman who wants more than what life seems to offer and she realizes that just because the choice is what she wants, it’s not always easy to make that choice.

    Two inspiring movies that I’ve seen very recently, “Winged Migration.” Try to get the DVD version with the featurette about making the film. This is a documentary about migrating birds but it is spectacular and heartfelt and full of wonder. You’d think, doc about birds? So so so good.

    Another good documentary, “The Gleaners and I” directed by French filmmaker Agnes Varda. It is a touching doc about a filmmaker who is entering the later stages of her life and she finds people who “glean” through life to make a living. It mostly focuses on poor families and individuals that glean from fields and orchards. She also interviews artists and activists. If you can get the DVD with the featurette that was shot two years after the original film–watch it. She documents the response to her film in France. Wonderful movie!!

  41. Now I’m going to have that song in my head the rest of the day. “Do not forsake me, oh my darling . . .”

  42. D. Fletcher says:

    Now you’re talking.

    Just to clarify — you’re interested in film reviews of non-LDS-themed movies?

    I’m not sure you want me to start down that road — I have 1400 DVDs!

  43. oh yeah, Kundun was amazing. Well-filmed, great cinematography, and of course an important story. That haunting music is coming back to me now…

  44. Ordet is one of the greatest religious films ever. Anonymous, have you seen Dreyer’s Vampyr?

    Dreyer’s Passion of Joan of Arc is also very very good. The tight close up shots of Joan and the priests in the courtroom are intense. That movie made me cry and think almost more than any other movie.

    Greg, I have a copy of the screenplay of Wings of Desire and I was just looking over it last night. You’ve problaby seen Alice in the Cities and that’s a great film as well.

    Two movies that I think are excellent about family relations and martial intimacy, Friendly Persuasion (also directed by W. Wyler) with Gary Cooper. It’s about a Quaker family in Southern Indiana during the Civil War. And, Testament (1983) about a family and a town right after a nuclear war.

  45. Pay it forward was horrible, and I watched it *wanting* to like it.

    I also second Kaimi on Schindler’s list. The scene at the end where Liam Neeson is torn apart wondering what more he could have done really makes me wonder if actions that I don’t assign great importance to now will spiral (for good or bad) into hugely important or critical decisions as I look at them in retrospect.

    Another Spielberg classic, Saving Private Ryan, is very uplifting to me–and I’m not referring to the very bloody and sobering beginning, but rather to the end…

  46. Punch-Drunk Love??!!

    I’m with Aaron. This movie was utterly forgettable, to say the least. So many random scenes that made no sense and were absolutely not necessary. People with “taste” use the classic cop out of “but it’s artistic”. Artistic my foot! It was dumb. Overrated, I’d say. When it came out, I read a half dozen movie reviews praising it. I saw the movie and had to go home and reread the reviews to figure out why they liked it. Sandler was in it as his usual dumb self, only this time he wasn’t even trying to be funny (he rarely succeeds, but if he’s not even trying, he does even less for me). His temper problem was just type cast; it’s the same character he’s always been just that this time it wasn’t funny. Inspirational? Enjoyable? Bleh.

    I second Aaron’s rule.

  47. Spitfire Grill!? Kaimi, you’ve got to provide some backup there.

    Your question is I think at the heart of Karen’s post. Once we get a sense of movies people call “inspiring” maybe we can draw some generalities about them, and approach the question that way?

  48. Steve brings up a good point. Please post a short explanation. Because I’m not only curious as to your movie choices but what constitutes inspiring, and why those films fulfill it.

    And yes, Steve, I did have a lesson prepared….as I do every week. :o)

  49. Steve,

    I like the part in Spitfire where she sings, “There is a balm in Gilead.” The story line in general is a pretty inspiring repentance / forgiveness theme.

    Other movies that come to mind as this question slowly percolates through my head –

    Awakenings. Great story about bringing hopeless patients back to consciousness.
    Schindler’s List. This is a “no duh” choice for me — one imperfect man, doing all that he can to help save people from the Holocaust.
    Also, I really liked A.I. – a discussion of what it means to be human.

    Some films that were billed as inspiring, I found to be obnoxious. Amelie and Pay it Forward were both trying too hard, I thought.

  50. Steve, when you only remember random, useless bits of the movie that are only remembered to refute someone who says the same movie is great, the movie is forgettable.

    The “but it’s artistic” excuse is NOT meaningless until you tell me WHY it is. You can’t just say it is with no backup.

    I agree sometimes and disagree sometimes with various critics just like everyone else. The amout of critics that “like” a movie is only one factor of millions to consider when judging the “quality” of the movie. In other words, Steve, I don’t just say a movie is “good” just because the majority of the critics think so.

    My movie that is both inspirational and enjoyable is Gladiator.

  51. Testing XML feed.

  52. The Power of One. A powerful statement against racism & for love & acceptance.

  53. The three “inspiring” films that come quickest to mind (already mentioned):

    1. To Kill a Mockingbird
    2. Shawshank Redemption
    3. Schlinder’s List (The ending really, really worked for me).

    My reactions to your other reactions:

    Saving Private Ryan — The ending didn’t do it for me. Unlike Schindler’s List, I thought the ending was too much — too sappy, too contrived.

    A.I. — I loathed this film. Too much to say here.

    Castaway — It didn’t do anything for me.

    Punch-Drunk Love — I found the relationship between Sandler and his family to be interesting, but his relationship with the woman didn’t interest me at all.

    The Mission — I saw this a long time ago. A few scenes have stayed with me, but I think I’ll have to see it again, based on your recommendations.

    Pay It Forward — I guess I’m the odd man out here. I expected to hate it — I usually hate sentimentality on film, even when not that badly done (I’m very hard-hearted). But with a few exceptions, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.

    Aaron B

  54. Two meaning of life themed movies that are also funny:
    Repo Man
    Harold and Maude

  55. Um Karen, had you in fact prepared a lesson? Just checking.

    I thought Castaway was a waste of a movie, although I will second Mary’s approval of those scenes. Great actor, great filmwork, horrible, horrible script. Once he’s home the film loses its drive entirely and the narrative is aimless.

  56. VeritasLiberat: Oh I had forgotten Immortal Beloved! It is such a tradgedy. It is definitely on the all time favs list just below Brother Sun, Sister Moon.

  57. Well, Karen, I can’t let that go unanswered! I’ll have you know that two of my favorite films are _This is Spinal Tap_ and _Evil Dead II_. Film doesn’t get more sophisticated than that!

    On a separate note, I always break down at every screening of _Johnny Lingo_. It’s just so moving and life-affirming! :)

    Aaron B

  58. What about the Mattrixx? While the first was best…it really seemed to be talking about the divine capacity within all of us.

    What about Braveheart? Liberty…that is worth dying for, a la Captain Moroni.

    Lord of the Rings? The fight against power, the will to power & the fight for friendship & the simple things of life.

  59. Why should it be so surprising that Hollywood could think up something inspirational? I mean- inspiration sells, and Hollywood is basically a corporation, right?

    If the bigoted and homicidal Martin Luther or his adulterous namesake Martin Luther King could be “construed” as inspired, then Hollywood is downright angelic.

    But I agree- many Hollywood movies are inspiring- unfortunately after I am inspired I have to remember that it’s Hollywood, not reality, and then my inspiration comes crashing down. And I was so gullible that I actually paid them to “inspire” me.

  60. D. Fletcher says:

    With a few exceptions, most of your choices are recent movies. I’m beginning to feel very, very old, here.

    I can only find 3 movies mentioned that came out before 1980.

    To Kill A Mockingbird
    The Seven Samurai
    The Best Years Of Our Lives

    P.S. I LOVED Punch Drunk Love, very underrated movie! I knew we’d have something to kick around, Steve.

  61. You’re all going to think I’m warped … (but you already thought that anyway, so I’ve got nothing to lose) …

    How about Stephen King’s/Brian de Palma’s “Carrie” as inspiring cinema?
    On one level, the movie is about a troubled teenager who grew up in an oppressive, abusive home, who had no self-esteem, and who was picked on mercilessly by her classmates. By the end of the film, she learns to stand up to her mother, to feel good about herself, and to defend herself from the cruel practical jokes of her classmates. Very moving and life-affirming in a quirky kind of way.

    (Granted, her ability to stand up to her foes is largely a product of her telekenetic powers … and she does kill most of her enemies by burning them to death, not to mention the rest of her highschool class … and she does dispose of her mother by stabbing her with kitchen utensils … but still …)

    Aaron B

  62. You’re right, it is historically-based (or at least, personal journal-based). And it’s a nice film at least for depicting exercise by women of the priesthood…

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