Category Archives: movies

Stories, Social Studies, and Another Film I Love

When my sister and I were in high school in the 60’s, we were required to read the book “Lord of the Flies” for social studies. Because she was 2 grades ahead of me, I always had the chance of helping her study and reading assigned books. I’m happy that I read Lord of the Flies before I had to read it.  That is because when a character in book named Piggy died, it saddened me.  I knew what to expect two years later when it was required reading for my social studies class.

Lord of the Flies is a novel written in 1954 by Nobel Prize winning English author William Golding.  In the midst of a wartime evacuation, a British plane carrying school boys crashes on an uninhabited island. Only the boys survive.  They make a disastrous attempt to govern themselves.  Of the boys who tried to organize and form a democratic society and responsibility to help rescuers find them, only one survived to the end of the book.  He is alone as the other boys descend into savagery.

The book has an allegorical level, such as the human conflict with having rules as opposed to becoming savages to survive and how each person has the potential of both within them.

By the 1980’s and with the creation of VHS, some high schools began showing the movie “The Gods Must Be Crazy” in their social studies class. Read the rest of this entry

A Science Fiction Love Story Movie That Isn’t

Science fiction movies, especially those that involve space travel, generally allow human logic in their characters.  At least, it is logic that goes with the plot. Most of them that involve hyper-sleep while traveling to other planets, are with a purpose of conducting something scientific or capitalistic.

In the second movie in the Alien franchise, the movie tells us that they sent a group of settlers to a planet that is inhabited by alien creatures whose sole purpose is to use human bodies as hosts to give birth to reproduce more aliens.

In the movie Avatar, we see scientists and mercenaries travel to a moon for a company that is stripping it of natural resources. In Avatar, the people on the ship were in hyper-sleep for 5 years.

What about a movie where Earthlings pay money to be put on a space ship to travel so far away, that they will be in hyper sleep for 120 years?  The only reason that the movie gives to us is that the people want to start over.

The movie I’m talking about is Passengers.  Since first seeing Chris Pratt in the movie Jurassic World, I became a fan.  In fact, I became so much of a fan that I looked up other movies he appeared in before Jurassic World and watched them, such as Guardians of the Galaxy.  I also like science fiction movies, so you might say that with Chris Pratt being in Passengers, I had to see the movie. Read the rest of this entry

Desmond Doss and Hacksaw Ridge – Evidence of Faith

I love movies.  When it comes to war movies, I’m seen many and some I really liked, but never want to watch again.  Saving Private Ryan is one such movie.

When I heard of the Academy Award nominations for 2017, there were movies that caught my attention. Hacksaw Ridge was one such movie.  It is categorized as a war movie, directed by Mel Gibson.  In other movies he directed, Gibson likes to show the horror of reality.  In The Passion, he showed spurting blood from the hands of Jesus as the nails were driven in.  In Braveheart, Gibson did not shy away from showing the use of swords to cut off the legs of horses ridden by the English army.  It brought their soldiers to the ground, making combat more equal.

A war movie directed by Gibson would have to be brutally bloody.  However, the war itself is not the main theme in Hacksaw Ridge.  The main theme is a man – a real man, a Pacifist, and his struggle to serve in the Army as a combat medic while staying committed to his faith.

I rented Hacksaw Ridge through On Demand and I watched.  I watched again, and again.  Desmond Doss captivated me.  As a Pacifist, he was misunderstood.  I can relate to that.

they-believeOn April 1, 1942, Desmond Doss joined the United States Army.  It was just after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and Desmond wanted to serve his country – the United States, saving lives.  He was 23-years old; a skinny native of Virginia with a southern drawl. In Desmond’s mind, God said, “If you love me, you won’t kill.”

When he voluntarily enlisted, he was assured that he would be assigned to a medic company and because of his Seventh Day Adventist belief in Saturday being the Sabbath, he was told that belief would be honored.

Instead, Desmond was assigned to an infantry rifle company.  His commanding officers wanted to get rid of him.  They intimidated him, and assigned him to extra duties.  They even tried to court martial him for refusing a direct order to carry a rifle.  But, they failed to toss him out, and he refused to leave.

His fellow soldiers ostracized and bullied him.  Because he refused to touch a gun, they called him a coward.  Desmond believed in the Golden Rule and never held a grudge.  When the men got blisters on their feet, Desmond had a way of healing them.  When they fainted from heat stroke, he was at their side with his own canteen.  Read the rest of this entry

Get On The Bus

Christmas Eve, while the cornbread was in the oven, and the smoked turkey boiling in the pot waiting for the green beans to be added, I turned off Christmas music and tuned on the television.

GET ON THE BUS, Roger Guenveur Smith (second from left), director Spike Lee, Ossie Davis, Charles S. Dutton, Richard Belzer, 1996, (c)Columbia Pictures

GET ON THE BUS, Roger Guenveur Smith (second from left), director Spike Lee, Ossie Davis, Charles S. Dutton, Richard Belzer, 1996, (c)Columbia Pictures

The movie, “Get on The Bus” was on. Get on the Bus is a Spike Lee film, released in 1996 on the one-year anniversary of the Million Man March. In the film, there are 12 Black men from Los Angeles on a bus bound for Washington, D.C.   The only thing that the men have in common is their race. They are various ages and their careers range from petty thief to police officer.

There is a scene in the movie that takes place when the bus is pulled over by State Troopers in Knoxville, Tennessee.   Getting out of the police car with a dog, the Trooper, played by Randy Quaid, tells the men that they are checking for drugs. Gary, who is bi-racial and a Los Angeles police officer, introduces himself to the Trooper and shows his badge. It means nothing to the Trooper, who has the Sherman Shepherd dog brought on the bus.  As the dog sniffs each row of seats, the Trooper shines his flashlight into the face of each man, asking them if they wanted to confess to having drugs before the dog finds them. The men shielded their eyes from the blinding flashlight as the Trooper calls them “boys.” Read the rest of this entry

RETURN OF THE JEDI

I always wait until the theaters are not crowded — plan to see it after New Year’s.

The Fifth Column

Disney/Lucasfilm

THE HUFFINGTON POST

‘Star Wars’ Just Came Out And Already Broke A Box Office Record

Anxious “Star Wars” fans who will tolerate none of your spoilers have broken one box office record — and the movie just came out.

Ticket vendor Fandango says “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” has already broken its record for the most tickets sold for any film over its entire theatrical run. It usurped “Jurassic World” — another nostalgia-heavy flick — for the title.

Fandango, which sells tickets to a majority of theater screens in the U.S., did not specify the value of the tickets sold. But The Associated Press reported earlier today that the film has earned more than $100 million in presale tickets in North America. What’s more, according to a poll on the site, 63 percent of respondents had plans to see “The Force Awakens” more than once in theaters.

So yes, theaters will…

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Not the Blind Side –Black Foster Child Attacked By Cops In His Own Home

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The Blind Side

In 2009 movie “The Blind Side,” is a semi-biographical film about the life of Michael Oher, and offensive lineman who plays for the Tennessee Titans of the NFL. Oher has an impoverished upbringing, but high prospects in college football, and was without parents and homeless when he met Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy. Oher, who is Black, was adopted by the Tuohy’s, who are White. Actress Sandra Bullock won the Academy Award for Best Actress for the film, and the Screen Actors Guild for Outstanding Performance by a Female in a leading role. The film itself received an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture. Tim McGraw played the role of Sean Tuohy.

When I heard about DeShawn Currie of Wake County, North Carolina, (just south of Raleigh) I immediately thought of the movie, “The Blind Side,” although for DeShawn, it was not classmates that made him feel unwelcomed – it was the cops. For about a year, DeShawn has lived with his foster parents Ricky and Stacy Tyler, who are White.  They moved into their new home in July.

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DeShawn Currie

DeShawn came home from school the other day.  A neighbor profiled him as “suspicious” and called 911. When the cops arrived, DeShawn asked them why they were there? He told them that he lives there. The cops looked at photos on the wall and seeing that the photos are of White people, accused DeShawn of lying. Read the rest of this entry

Let’s Talk About Race Relations – “The Well”

The Well is a 1951 movie nominated for two Academy Awards; one for best screenplay and one for best editing.  Shot on location in Marysville and Yuba City, California, this film holds up today as a socially conscious film.  In my opinion, every Sociology class across America should see and discuss this film.  Let us take the opportunity to do so here.

The Well 1

The Well is a story of how a community becomes racially divided and how truth overwhelmingly brings it back together.  It is balanced, showing human tendencies regardless of race.

The director tells us the truth from the beginning of the film.  The film’s characters do not know that truth and as the movie continues, we see the townspeople become lost in anger and hatred, forgetting what started it all.

This film is about 81 minutes.  If you have that time, please try to watch it in one setting, and please click the box on the bottom right of the Youtube frame for full-screen.

Since posting this, the Youtube channel where the film was located has been deleted by the owner.  We’re including a film clip found on Youtube instead.

Read the rest of this entry

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