“Movies are just a fad. Audiences really want to see live actors on a stage.” Or at least thought Charlie Chaplain. Maybe it’s unfair to quote him like this; who could have foretold the future?!
Movies are stories. And so are our lives. Fragments of God’s poetry that we sometimes understand, sometimes not. Who knows why we love movies so much. Perhaps they are a fuzzy mirror, or make us dream, or give us some escape. Hitchcock said that “The only way to get rid of my fears is to make films about them”!
For fun, here are 5 I’d see over and over.
O Brother, Where Art Thou?
I just love this Cohen brothers film. It’s real art. The music is fantastic… “I am a man or constant sorrow!…” That ‘Soggy Bottom Boys’ song is already a classic. The whole soundtrack is inspiring. So many talented actors and musicians. The twisting plot, reminiscent of Homer’s Odyssey, is about a new world, love and the struggle with evil. George Clooney is particularly memorable. “And stay out of the Woolworth’s!”
A Man for All Seasons
The Oscar-award-winning re-telling of Thomas More’s grand tragic life as he stood up to King Henry VIII. (More was beheaded in 1535). A man of integrity and prayer in a time of colossal cultural and religious change. There’s an authenticity to his person and scholarly rigor to his path. Intrigued about More by the movie I’ve read a fair amount about him, including his famous “Utopia” and also his personal letters to his family. He was a real cultivator of the home and sought exceptional education for his children. The movie (based on Robert Bolt’s play) captures much of this. There’s so many great lines I can’t narrow it down, but here’s one: “God made the angels to show Him splendor, as He made animals for innocence and plants for their simplicity. But man He made to serve Him wittily, in the tangle of his mind.”
Inherit the Wind
Spencer Tracey is my favourite actor. This movie is where I discovered him. The movie chronicles the famous “Scopes monkey trial” of 1925 when evolution was illegal to teach in schools. A young teacher is charged with teaching Darwin and the movie plays out the trial. Great acting taking us on a journey through a very significant cultural moment and the firestorm that engulfed a small town in the midst. As the defending attorney, Tracey’s cards are always hidden—until the end. In the courtroom, many of the big (still debated) principles of biblical interpretation are drawn out.
The Family Stone
This is a fairly recent movie with an all-star cast: Rachel McAdams, Sarah Jessica Parker, Luke Wilson, Diane Keaton, Claire Danes, Dermot Mulroney, and Craig T. Nelson. The whole idea with a loving-yet-troubled family having all 5 grown-up kids (and their partners and families) come home for Christmas with all the yuletide nostalgia and joy and trouble-making. Funny, dramatic, sad and strangely uplifting at once. “Repeat the sounding joy, repeat the sounding joy…”
The Shawshank Redemption
An already timeless classic of redemption. Morgan Freeman’s brooding wisdom, Tim Robbins unyielding optimism. It reminds me of the exodus from Egypt. (Spoiler alert!…) I love when Robbins’ plan is revealed at the end. When that scene comes at the end when the Warden throws the rock at the poster on the wall and discovers the hole he used to escape, and then where the pick ax was stored in his Bible, wham! A little known fact is that before the great escape, the warden leaves for the day, locks the door and is whistling a song—that song is the hymn “A mighty fortress is our God,” a subtle foretelling of the fall of the mighty fortress of the prison, and his own life.
What are your favourites?
Photo by Holger.Ellgaard