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Ten Movies Worth The Price of Admission March 23, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Mindfulness, Travel & Leisure.

Movies make us laugh and cry.  They entertain and educate.  They expand our horizons by revealing the immense diversity of viewpoints on this wonderful planet. 

They open our eyes and our hearts. 

And . . . they give us something to do with our minds as we mindlessly munch our way through huge tubs of buttered popcorn! 

Over the years, we’ve enjoyed many entertaining, educational, and eye-opening films which encouraged us to explore the issues covered in greater detail ~ either through further research or by conversing with other movie-goers to get their reactions to the themes covered. 

Here are a few suggestions of uplifting and/or thought-provoking movies to consider for your next Movie Night ~ each title is linked to Netflix to provide additional information on length, themes, actors, and ratings.


Defending Your Life (1991)

Shortly after his death, Daniel (Albert Brooks) meets the love of his life.  Before ascending to heaven with Julia (Meryl Streep), Daniel must defend his life in Judgment City.  Each day, the chasm between Julia’s fear-less life and Daniel’s fear-filled life widens, convincing Daniel that he’s lost Julia for eternity.    

Kundun (1997)

Forbidden from filming in Tibet, director Martin Scorsese filmed this eye-opening, epic drama about the 14th Dalai Lama in Morocco.  Wonderful cinematography, music, costumes, and art design lend historical accuracy to the brutal Chinese invasion, the forced exile of Tibetans to India, and the continued immoral Chinese occupation of Tibet. 

Last Holiday (2006)

If diagnosed with a terminal illness, what would you do?  Quit your job?  Blow big bucks on travel?  Stop playing it safe?  In this uplifting comedy, an exceptionally  timid woman (Queen Latifah) learns she is destined to die — she immediately abandons her previous play-it-safe persona and starts to live!    

Peaceful Warrior (2006)

Adapted from Millman’s autobiographical novel, Olympian calibre gymnast Dan Millman (Scott Mechlowicz) has everything he wants, until Socrates (Nick Nolte) points out that he is lacking both happiness and peace of mind.   As Dan recovers from a side-lining injury, Socrates takes him on a journey of self-discovery and spiritual healing.  

The Eleventh Hour (2007)

This enlightening documentary addresses the global environmental crisis, while  offering a message of hope for the future.  Leonardo DiCaprio effectively presents workable solutions, from leading minds, to show that we still have time to save our precious planet by creating sustainable technologies, and implementing those already available. 

To learn more:  http://wip.warnerbros.com/11thhour/mainsite/site.html

Thank You For Smoking (2005)

In this hilarious satire (Winner: Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay), spin-doctor Nick Naylor (Aaron Eckhart) cleverly counteracts tobacco’s tarnished image (and obvious dangers) with personal appearances and product placements designed to recreate a time when smoking was revered, not reviled,  while simultaneously struggling for balance as his son’s role-model.  

Transamerica (2005)

Bree (Felicity Huffman) is a man about to become a woman.  One week before his/her final sex-change operation, Bree discovers a teen-aged son she fathered years earlier.  Overflowing with marvelously poignant moments, this entertaining look at gender and relationships leads characters and viewers alike on a thought-provoking journey of self-discovery.

Wal-Mart:  The High Cost of Low Price (2005) 

This pointed documentary by producer, director and activist Robert Greenwald addresses the real, if sometimes hidden and overlooked, costs associated with the proliferation of Wal-Marts.  Featuring interviews from across the country, Greenwald focuses on the costs to business owners, communities, taxpayers, and workers each time the mega-retailer opens another Super Center.

Who Killed The Electric Car (2006)

This thought-provoking documentary reveals what auto manufacturers and oil companies already know — clean, green technology is available.  Although GM EV-1 electric car drivers loved the car, GM crushed the idea and the cars!  Did conspiracy to maintain the status quo or lack of consumer demand stall EV-1 production?  You decide.

 For a sneak preview:  http://www.sonyclassics.com/whokilledtheelectriccar/

Why We Fight (2005)

Winner of the 2005 Sundance Grand Jury Award, this sobering documentary by Eugene Jarecki addresses the rise in power of the US military-industrial complex which President Eisenhower warned against.  Annually funded with 22% of the federal budget, the MIC directs US foreign policy decisions and profits from growing imperialism overseas.  

For more information:  http://sonyclassics.com/whywefight/main.html

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What about you?  Do you have any favorites to share?

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1. Richard W Scott - March 23, 2010

Ah, yes, the movies.
It just so happens that the first film on your list is an all-time favorite of mine. I’m always amazed at the way people react to it, though. I’ve never met anyone (who’s seen it) who is ambivilent. They love it, or they hate it. I guess that speaks to what the movie is saying.

Cool post.

nrhatch - March 23, 2010


I loved Defending My Life and not just because it proves that attorneys can make it past the pearly gates. {{GRINS}}

Mostly because it encourages viewers to consider where FEAR is holding them back in their own lives.

I’ll be doing more posts on movies ~ since they can be a wonderful way to unwind (and escape) from the stresses of life with friends and family.

2. Richard - March 23, 2010

great uplifting films a second opinion

1. Amelie
2. Hard days night
3. Monsieur Hulot’s holiday
4. Duck Soup
5. Laurel and Hardy :- Big Business.
6. Touching the void
7. Toy story (1 or 2 )
8. Dougal and the blue cat
9. The Great Escape
10. The Simpson’s movie

Uplifting should be just that, not preachy 🙂

nrhatch - March 23, 2010

This post is not focused exclusively on uplifting films ~ I just tossed a few more light-hearted movies into the mix for variety.

Most of the films on this list caused us to think about life, love, and the pursuit of happiness ~ and gave us a chance to consider (when the lights came up) whether we agreed (or disagreed) about what the “preacher” said from the pulpit.

That said, I love some of the movies on your list. Especially Hard Day’s Night ~ Paul’s grandfather . . . such a pot stirrer!

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