MOVIES FOR DAD
PUBLIC ENEMY (1931). There have been a lot of gangster films over the years, but none better than this realistic depiction of the rise and fall of vicious Tom Powers. Along with Robinson and Bogart, the enigmatic Cagney personified the screen hoodlum. He mixed a dancer’s agility with a con-artist’s energy. Add a smirk that simultaneously suggested self-amusement and depravity and you have one scary little fellow. PUBLIC ENEMY contains several startling scenes. Although it does not bombard your senses with today’s screen gore, it remains unnerving.
ROOSTER COGBURN AND THE LADY (1975). John Wayne, Katharine Hepburn. Let-down sequel to TRUE GRIT. I mention it for buffs who want to compare today’s so-called movie stars with the real thing. Watch the scenes where the two old pros exchange barbed, yet affectionate, remarks. Their charisma jumps off the screen. Best scene in the film features Strother Martin as a cynical river-rat with no use for women, children, or anyone else.
RUN SILENT, RUN DEEP (1959). Clark Gable, Burt Lancaster–and, believe it or not, Don Rickles! Troubles come to a head between two officers on board a Nazihounded submarine.
SIGNS (2002). Writer/director M. Night Shyamalan, renowned for combining sophisticated entertainment with thought-provoking material (PRAYING WITH ANGER, THE SIXTH SENSE, WIDE AWAKE, UNBREAKABLE), has done the remarkable with this sci-fi thriller that harkens back to H. G. Wells’s WAR OF THE WORLDS. It astounds on several levels. Added to the drama and jolting suspense is the story’s subtext about a man losing, then regaining his faith. And lastly, the film has an intriguing take concerning coincidence in our daily lives. Are the details of life governed merely by happenstance? Or are they a part of a great plan? Do things happen by circumstance or do they purposely serve to develop our nature? (PG-13) Use TVG
INSIDE JOB (2010). From Academy Award® nominated filmmaker Charles Ferguson (No End In Sight) comes INSIDE JOB, the first film to expose the shocking truth behind the economic crisis of 2008. The global financial meltdown, at a cost of over $20 trillion, resulted in millions of people losing their homes and jobs. Through extensive research and interviews with major financial insiders, politicians and journalists, INSIDE JOB traces the rise of a rogue industry and unveils the corrosive relationships that have corrupted politics, regulation and academia.
PG-13 (around six uses of the s-word, one f-word and a few mild expletives; I caught no misuse of God’s name; the film discusses prostitution – it seems those in financial and political power tend to pay a great deal of money for every kind of excess, including prostitution). Use TVG
THE ODD COUPLE (1968). A very funny Neil Simon comedy about two very different men (Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau) sticking together out of necessity. Rated G, there are a couple of sexual innuendoes, but the material is tame by today’s standards and Mr. Simon mines laughs from witty life-observations, rather than from bathroom humor.
THE STRAIGHT STORY (1999). Filmed along the 260- mile route that the actual Alvin Straight (Richard Farnsworth) traversed in 1994 from Laurens, Iowa to Mt. Zion, Wisconsin, The Straight Story chronicles Alvin’s patient odyssey and those he meets along the way. Alvin encounters a number of strangers, from a teenage runaway to a fellow WWII veteran. By sharing his life’s earned wisdom with simple stories, Alvin has a profound impact on these people. It contains lessons about the importance of family and forgiveness. Caution: though it is rated G, the film contains the following: a few expletives, one misuse of God’s name and one misuse of Jesus’ name; many of the main characters smoke; occasional beer drinking; the lead drinks a beer himself, but the film explains why many people use alcohol as a crutch. Use TVG