Movie Nights

Movie Recommendations for any time, any place, and any crowd.

I’m Not Dead! (And neither is God)

It’s been more than 14 months since I last posted here. In case anyone was wondering, I am ok – just not a writer. I don’t have the discipline or passion to write regularly on a blog – it’s true. I like pretending to be a writer because I admire those with that skill, but let’s face it. I’m no writer.

I am, however, an organizer, a listener and a movie-watcher. So I tend to stick to those activities. However, I will try to post here more often. My new posts will not follow the same format as my old posts though – who has time for that?

Instead, you’ll find some movie suggestions – I’ll try to do at least one per week – based on how I’m feeling or what’s new in my life. I hope you enjoy them. If not, this blog is really more for me than it is for anyone else. And I’m ok with that.

My suggestion right now, as you may have guessed from the title of this post, is God’s Not Dead.

If you have the opportunity to see it, take it. Especially if you’re Christian. If you’re not, it’s still a great movie that raises great questions and sparks great debates. It’s definitely the best Christian movie I’ve seen, from writing to acting to general production value. There are some cheesy moments, as there will be with any Christian film, but overall I loved it. It worships God in an awesome way and gives Him so much glory.

Thank you for sticking with me and I hope you see you again. ūüôā

-Sara

 

Midnight in Paris (2011)

Directed by: Woody AllenMidnight in Paris
Written by: Woody Allen
Notable Stars: Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Kathy Bates, Marion Cotillard, Adrien Brody
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (barely)

What it’s about:
¬†While on a trip to Paris with his fianc√©’s family, a nostalgic screenwriter finds himself mysteriously going back to the 1920s every day at midnight.¬†(From IMDb)

For the sensitive:
This is only rated PG-13 for a couple sexual references and some smoking. ¬†By today’s standards, it’s practically PG.

Watch it when:
You’re feeling romantic, nostalgic, and open-minded. ¬†Or when you want to feel romantic, nostalgic, artistic and cultured. ¬†I was left with a wonderful sense of bliss after watching this film, with an especially strong urge to visit Paris. I wonder how much this film boosted tourism in Paris after it came out?

Watch it with:
Since this movie isn’t really offensive in my opinion, I think this is safe to watch with anybody. ¬†It could be especially nice to watch on a date or with people who were alive in the 20’s.

While watching it:
For everybody and every movie, I recommend putting all your focus on the movie for the first time you watch it. ¬†But if you’re watching it a second time, this film is probably fine to have on in the background while you paint, write, or french food. ¬†I could see it being especially inspirational to watch while doing something artistic, much like how I write and speak better after watching the West Wing.

Personal Comments:
This movie won the Oscar for best original screenplay for a reason.  I loved the story, even through the dialogue of the main character was a bit too narrative for my taste.  I feel like he spoke his feelings more than acted them.  But hey Рgo check it out and decide for yourself.

After you’re done with the movie, check out the trivia. ¬†Happy watching!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1605783/trivia?ref_=tt_trv_trv

Bernie (2011)

Directed by: Richard LinklaterBernie
Written by: Richard Linklater (screenplay); Skip Hollandsworth (based on article by)
Notable Stars: Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, Matthew McConaughey
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (yes, but barely)

What it’s about:
In small-town Texas, the local mortician strikes up a friendship with a wealthy widow. (From IMDb)

For the sensitive:
I didn’t find anything particularly offensive in this film – there’s a tiny bit of violence and a few swear words, but that’s it.

Watch it when:
This is great to watch on a Friday night when you’re just looking for a new good movie. ¬†It’s witty, enticing, and charming. ¬†It will cheer you up if you’re sad and will capture your attention when you need an escape.

Watch it with:
Since there isn’t anything that offensive in the film, I’d say this is a mostly safe film to watch with any group. ¬†If you have easily offended relatives that get all upset at a little swear word or some light, loving satire of Christian society, maybe not watch this with them.

While watching it:
For everybody and every movie, I recommend putting all your focus on the movie for the first time you watch it. ¬†But if you’re watching it again, this movie would be find to have on in the background while you pay bills, play with your dog, or even plan your own funeral. ¬†If you’re doing that last one, this movie might help keep things light. ¬†Well, at least the first half.

Personal Comments:
I loved this movie – every minute of it. ¬†I look forward to watching it again. ¬†Jack Black does a TREMENDOUS job portraying Bernie Tiede, and the entire cast pulls together to build a convincing feel of a small town. ¬†The beginning of the film tells you it’s based on a true story – by the end of the film, I had to remind myself of that fact because I got so caught up in the excellent storytelling. ¬†Take a chance, check it out – you won’t regret it.

After you’re done with the movie, check out the trivia. ¬†Happy watching!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1704573/trivia?ref_=tt_trv_trv

Yikes!

Yikes gang, it’s been a while!

You know how you get really excited about something, pour yourself into it for a couple months, then get bogged down and convince yourself you don’t have time to continue doing it? ¬†That’s what happened here.

I’m starting to get the itch to blog again, so fear not! This period of absence is drawing to an end ¬†– watching to Oscars has reinvigorated my love for film. ¬†If you’re looking for a harsh, critical look at the winners and losers of last night’s awards – keep looking. ¬†You won’t find it here. ¬†I’m no hater, and that’s why I’ll never be a real film critic – I’ll just keep giving recommendations here for your various movie needs.

I hope to have a new recommendation for you by the end of today. ¬†I’ve seen some good movies lately and am excited to share them with you. ūüôā

Frost/Nixon (2008)

Directed by: Ron Howard
Written by: Peter Morgan
Notable Stars: Frank Langella, Michael Sheen, Kevin Bacon, Sam Rockwell, Oliver Platt, Rebecca Hall
MPAA Rating: R (probably)

What it’s about:
A dramatic retelling of the post-Watergate television interviews between British talk-show host David Frost and former president Richard Nixon. (From IMDb)

For the sensitive:
I’ve only seen this movie once, but I know I liked it a lot. ¬†I don’t remember much about material that makes it rated R, but IMDb tells me that it’s only rated R for language. ¬†So, beware of some f-bombs in there.

Watch it when:
You want to see a “dramatic retelling” of one of the most famous and important moments in our government’s history. ¬†When you want to feel intellectual and see some great storytelling. ¬†When you have two hours to kill and need to calm down.

Watch it with:
This isn’t a great movie to watch with talkers, because the story line depends heavily on dialogue and paying attention to what’s happening on the screen. ¬†This also isn’t great to watch with people with short attention spans – it can be a little slow and heavy sometimes. ¬†But if you stick with it, it’s great.

While watching it:
If it’s your first time watching any movie, I recommend keeping all your attention on what you’re watching. ¬†If you’ve seen it before, I still wouldn’t recommend doing anything while watching it. Like I said above, it’s important to pay attention to what’s going on. ¬†If not, it’s just a bunch of people talking in the background.

Personal Comments:
I saw this once a long time ago, but I needed another political film to recommend to you guys. ¬†I remember enjoying it – just give it a chance. ¬†And don’t forget to vote tomorrow, if you haven’t voted already!!

After you’re done with the movie, check out the trivia. ¬†Enjoy!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0870111/trivia

The West Wing (1999 – 2006)

Created by: Aaron Sorkin
Notable Stars: Martin Sheen, Rob Lowe, Allison Janney, John Spencer, Bradley Whitford, Janel Moloney, Richard Schiff, Dule Hill, Stockard Channing

Ok, this is a TV show, not a movie.  But go with me on this.

What it’s about:
Inside the lives of staffers in the west wing of the White House. (From IMDB)

For the sensitive:
There’s some occasional language, minimal violence, some sexual innuendos. ¬†Each episode is different.

Watch it when:
When you want to watch some politics that feel meaningful.  When you need a break from our real-life politics.  When you want to hear some amazing dialogue that feels as smooth and inspiring as any song.

Watch it with:
This is great to watch alone or with any group, but this is¬†intellectual¬†thought-requiring stuff. ¬†This isn’t the show to watch at party or with a lot of talkers.

While watching it:
If it’s your first time watching anything, I recommend keeping all your attention on what you’re watching. ¬†If you’ve seen it before, this is great to have on while you write. ¬†Aaron Sorkin’s writing, like I said above, is incredibly inspiring. ¬†I enjoy focusing all my attention on this show, but it’s also enjoyable to have on while you do other things, like design campaign strategies, or avoiding the current election.

Personal Comments:
I love this show, and that love confuses me because I dislike politics so much. ¬†It’s beautifully written, the stories are fantastic, the acting is unparalleled. ¬†It kills me that I don’t own these on DVD, and that they aren’t on Netflix. ¬†When I think of politics, I try to think of the politics on this show and not the ones in real life. ¬†Because the real life ones are just depressing.

 

The Great Dictator (1940)

Directed by: Charlie Chaplin
Written by: Charlie Chaplin
Notable Stars: Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard
MPAA Rating: PG (yep)

What it’s about:
Dictator Adenoid Hynkel has a doppelganger, a poor but kind Jewish barber living in the slums, who one day is mistaken for Hynkel. (From IMDB)

For the sensitive:
This is very slapstick with a little sexual innuendo.  Nothing much to report for this section.

Watch it when:
When you want to take a step back from politics and have a good laugh.  When you want to supplement your knowledge of World War II with a witty satire.  When you want to see Chaplin find his voice and deliver one of the best speeches of all time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcvjoWOwnn4

Watch it with:
This is great to watch alone or with any group.  Also good for family and classmates or co-workers.

While watching it:
If it’s your first time watching any movie, I recommend keeping all your attention on what you’re watching. ¬†If you’ve seen it before, there are some gags in the film that you’ll miss if you’re not paying attention, but I suppose you could have this on in the background while you do other things. ¬†Just beware – if you’re anything like me, you’ll get sucked in.

Personal Comments:
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Charlie Chaplin is my favorite director of all time. ¬†I usually go for his silent stuff, but this film is fantastic. ¬†The satire is excellent, the humor is side-splitting, and the main message is so meaningful that I get goosebumps every time I watch that clip I put up there. ¬†In the midst of this intense political season, it’s important to remember what’s really important in life and government.

After you’re done with the movie, check out the trivia. ¬†Enjoy!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0032553/trivia

New Theme!

We’re changing gears and will now be talking about Political films this week, in honor of election day on Tuesday. ¬†I have three political films ready for you guys – the first one will be up later today!

I hope you all had a wonderful Halloween and please come back later today for The Great Dictator!

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)

Directed by: Bill Melendez
Written by: Charles M. Schulz
Notable Stars: Peter Robbins, Christopher Shea, Sally Dryer, Kathy Steinberg
MPAA Rating:¬†It’s a TV short, so there’s no rating (but I’d say G)

What it’s about:
The Peanuts gang celebrates Halloween while Linus waits for the Great Pumpkin. (From IMDB)

For the sensitive:
This is a classic kids special.  Nothing scary or questionable here.

Watch it when:
It’s Halloween! ¬†When you want a break from the gore and terror surrounding Halloween. ¬†When you want to travel back to your childhood and enjoy the simpler aspects of this wonderful holiday.

Watch it with:
Your kids. Your parents. Your cousins.  Your grandparents.  Your friends, your party guests, or with your dog.  You can even watch it alone, like I plan to tonight.  There is no such thing as bad company for this TV special.

While watching it:
If it’s your first time watching any movie, I recommend keeping all your attention on what you’re watching. ¬†If you’ve seen it before, this is nice to have on during your Halloween party or while you receive trick-or-treaters.

Personal Comments:
I know this isn’t really a movie per-se, but it’s a holiday classic and I felt obligated to include it here. ¬†I mean, how can it be Halloween without Charlie Brown? If you haven’t seen this yet, do everyone a favor and watch it tonight – your childhood isn’t complete without it.

After you’re done with the movie, check out the trivia. ¬†Happy Halloween!!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0060550/trivia

Pet Sematary (1989)

Directed by: Mary Lambert
Written by: Stephen King (novel and screenplay)
Notable Stars: Dale Midkiff, Denise Crosby, Fred Gwynne
MPAA Rating: R (yep)

What it’s about:
Behind a young family’s home in Maine is a terrible secret that holds the power of life after death. When tragedy strikes, the threat of that power soon becomes undeniable.¬†(From IMDB)

For the sensitive:
We’ve got gore and some pretty terrifying sequences. ¬†Seriously – lots of gross bloodshed and mutilation, and some seriously freaky, scary stuff. ¬†It’s a little cheesy, but still definitely worth mentioning.

Watch it when:
It’s Halloween! When you want to see the movie that sparked a couple pop culture references. ¬†When you want to see just how freaky some of the stuff Stephen King wrote was. ¬†When you’re wondering about life after death. ¬†When you want to be edge of your seat, gripping your blanket,¬†stifling-a-scream scared.

Watch it with:
Unless you enjoy being alone and terrified, I highly recommend watching this with other people. ¬†You can either watch it with friends and make fun of it, or watch it with friends and be terrified together. ¬†I’ve seen this once, and did the latter. ¬†And it was just as much fun being scared together as it would have been to be mocking it together. ¬†Definitely don’t watch this with kids, and I wouldn’t recommend it for your elders either.

While watching it:
If it’s your first time watching any movie, I recommend keeping all your attention on what you’re watching. ¬†If you’ve seen it before, it’s probably ok to have it on in the background while you do others things. ¬†I’ve only seen it the one time, and I was too terrified to do anything but clutch a pillow and scream. ¬†You’ll probably have to decide what you would enjoy best.

Personal Comments:
I’m not recommending this because it is great cinema – because it isn’t. ¬†I’m recommending it because tomorrow is Halloween, and this movie is scary. ¬†You can’t go wrong with Stephen King. ūüôā

After you’re done with the movie, check out the trivia. ¬†Enjoy!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0098084/trivia

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