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Please help brainstorm a movie selection for a special event...

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Mike Frezon, Jan 29, 2008.

  1. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    My church (First Presbyterian) is celebrating a bicentennial next year and I've been selected to help plan the various events for the year-long celebration. The church is located in rural upstate New York.

    I've had an idea to host a "movie night" in the church's worship center...which features three big screens and a wonderful audio system with two huge sub-woofers.

    The question is: what movie should be projected?

    Obviously we would want to pick a title with enough appeal to draw as many people as possible. We also would want a film which is in keeping with the values of the congregation and the space.

    A few years ago the church had a showing of It's a Wonderful Life which was fairly well-received.

    The church was founded in 1809...the year Lincoln was born. I had the thought of John Ford's Young Mr. Lincoln...but I'm not sure that would interest enough people. It would also be nice (but certainly not necessary) to find some find which told a tale connected to that period of American history.

    Another thought I had was the recent release Amazing Grace which tells the tale of William Wilberforce and John Newton (composer of the famous hymn). But, while the subject matter seems fine, I'm not sure that it would generate enough interest.

    So...any ideas? [​IMG] Thanks for any help!
     
  2. Rod J

    Rod J Premium
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    First Question: Are you looking for something you can show for free or will you pay public performance fees?
     
  3. Jon_Are

    Jon_Are Well-Known Member

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    Dave,

    My suggestion is David Lynch's "The Straight Story". It's a very entertaining and moving G-rated film about determination, reconciliation, and American spirit. The synopsis may sound boring but the film is anything but. It's based on a true story. Folks will walk out thanking you for introducing them to such a treasure.

    Jon

    Here's the summary from allmovie.com:



    David Lynch offers an uncharacteristically straightforward and warmly sentimental approach to his material in this film, based on a true story, about an elderly man's journey to reconcile with his brother. Alvin Straight (Richard Farnsworth) is an ailing widower in his early 70's who lives in Laurens, Iowa with his daughter, Rose (Sissy Spacek), who is mildly retarded and has a speech defect. Alvin doesn't trust doctors, despite suffering from emphysema and a bad hip. Alvin learns that his brother Lyle (Harry Dean Stanton) has suffered a stroke and may not have long to live. Alvin and Lyle haven't spoken in 10 years, which Alvin says is mainly a matter of pride and alcohol; Alvin wants to clear his slate with his brother before it's too late. However, Lyle lives in Wisconsin, and Alvin has little money, no car, and no driver's license. He does, however, have a riding lawn mower, and so Alvin hops on board and heads northeast to Wisconsin, hoping to make it while there's still time. Along the way, Alvin makes new friends and refuses to give up on his journey, despite frequent mechanical breakdowns. Richard Farnsworth's performance as Alvin earned him an Academy Award nomination as Best Actor; it would prove to be his final screen appearance, as he died a year after the film's release.
     
  4. Chris_Morris

    Chris_Morris Well-Known Member

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    Just some ideas off the top of my head:

    Second Chance: stars Michael W. Smith

    The Ultimate Gift: cheap budget but still good story about a spoiled heir who gets more than he bargined for from his grandfather's will

    Left Behind and Tribulation Force: Even though they don't stick very close to the books, they are still good. Kirk Cameron gives a great performance. I would stay away from the abomination known as World at War though.

    God Grew Tired of Us: Documentary about the "Lost Boys" of Africa and their journey to America.

    The Gospel: Prodigal son type story, starring everyone and anyone big in gospel music.

    Of course depending on the time of year, there are the staples:
    The Passion
    The Nativity Story
    The 10 Commandments
     
  5. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Free. There will be no admission nor request for donations.

    Some excellent suggestions already. Thanks!

    The Straight Story is one the pastor has excerpted for sermons (and my wife suggested it, too!). (...and I love David Lynch!). The Ten Commandments could be a substantial draw. I bet there are a lot of people who haven't sat down to watch it in a long time.

    And The Passion might be a good idea, too...depending on the timing.

    Personally, I didn't think much of The Ultimate Gift. I thought the performances were wooden and it was pretty predictable. But, that's just me.

    And, I haven't seen the Nativity Story yet. Maybe I should do a few different nights (if they are well-received). Maybe the Alastair Sim A Christmas Carol!
     
  6. andrew markworthy

    andrew markworthy Well-Known Member

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    A few ideas, in no particular order:

    (1) Christian groups in the UK have often used Chariots of Fire for its Christian themes (Eric Lidell wouldn't run on a Sunday, you may recall, and he was motivated in his running by wishing to spread God's word). There was also a craze for using ET (which certainly is riddled with Christian symbolism but I'm not sure I'd recommend it as a devotional work, much as I love the movie!).


    (2) Not sure how wise this would be for a 200th anniversary, but my local church [Church of England - i.e. Anglican, but part of a scheme where we regularly had services led by Methodists and United Reformed Church ministers, so probably not that far removed from Presbyterian in many respects] a few years ago did a series of controversial movies dealing with Christian themes with a discussion group afterwards - Life of Brian, The Last Temptation, etc. The screenings were well attended and generated a lot of good discussion. BUT: I think this very much depends upon the composition of the specific parish. I can think of other churches where this would have been an invitation to riot. Something to be thought of carefully, I think, but it can prove fruitful in the right circumstances.

    (3) As an alternative to explicitly Christian films, why not celebrate the 200 years of a community of faith by showing a series of good movies set in different periods over the last 200 years?
     
  7. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Andrew: You've done it, too! Chariots of Fire is another movie my pastor has excerpted for a sermon.

    And, Idea #3 may be a solid plan, too.
     
  8. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Well-Known Member

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    If you're doing that, you could show something like Drums Along the Mohawk. It's set about 85 miles from where you are, but it's set a little before your church came into being.
     
  9. Blu

    Blu Well-Known Member

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    Ben Hur!
    With three screens this is an epic movie for an epic set up!
     
  10. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Some great suggestions here. I especially like The Straight Story and Chariots of Fire. I'll offer something I've not seen here, and that isn't widely known.

    End of the Spear - But it's a serious movie, based on the life and death of missionary Jim Elliot. I suggest it in general; but if you're going for more a "fest" for this event, this wouldn't my first choice. Better for a group of friends, or as part of a movie-discussion event.

    Two other ideas:
    The Fellowship of the Rings - also good for a broad audience.

    Any of the Pixar movies. Fun, clean, easy to walk in and out of if the audience isn't locked in for the night. And all have strong adult themes at their core.
     
  11. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Spartacus!

    It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World too (even if you are disappointed with its offering on DVD)
     
  12. andrew markworthy

    andrew markworthy Well-Known Member

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    You could in fact find a sizeable number of apparently candy floss movies with a deeper Christian-appropriate message:

    Fantasia II - you have the joking segment about Noah's Ark and the Sorcerer's Apprentice that I seriously doubt would offend any but the most diehard of fundamentalists, but the final segment with the forest fire and rebirth from the slimmest of hopes when all else has been lost is a far from trivial message.

    Bug's Life - finding your own self and the power of community

    etc

    However, I'd suggest steering clear of The Incredibles, which may be too Ayn Rand for some folks' tastes. [​IMG]
     
  13. gene c

    gene c Well-Known Member

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    How about Field Of Dreams? Which reminds me of an episode from a few years back but I'd better PM you with it. Gene
     
  14. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Gene: I am intrigued...and curious. [​IMG]
     
  15. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Well-Known Member

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    Mike, I've always rather liked the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. That would make an excellent screening (especially if you procure the HD DVD or the Blu-ray Disc and use the appropriate player). Other films to consider would be Eyes Wide Shut, Full Metal Jacket, The Shining, Barry Lyndon, A Clockwork Orange, Dr. Strangelove or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, Lolita, Spartacus (as mentioned), Paths of Glory, The Killing, and Killer's Kiss -- all these fine films are available on DVD. Hope this helps. ...
     
  16. Holadem

    Holadem Well-Known Member

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    Never seen it but What Dreams May Come seems like a decent candidate.

    --
    H
     
  17. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Well-Known Member

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    Geez, and who'd have thunk?

    Well since you are at the Church of Scotland, how about Brigadoon? Too bad the current DVD is of mediocre quality. Then there's always Braveheart. [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Actually the hero of Chariots of Fire is a Scot Presbyterian missionary so it really would fit in, especially with the underlaying ecumenical theme of the film (I was raised a Presbyterian so I know about them, and in fact my great-grandfather set up mission hospitals in Korea for the Presbyterians).

    Inspirational films? There's always To Kill a Mockingbird, or for that matter The Ten Commandments.

    Have you read this book?
    [​IMG]
    It may give you lots of thoughts on the history of the Presbyterian Church and its links to the modern world.

    It may also be interesting to show a big-screen epic film which hasn't been in the public eye for decades. Two that may suit are The Agony and The Ecstasy (religious film mocking Catholics - the artist is shown as closer to God than the Pope) and El Cid (playing on Presbyterian-friendly ecumenical themes, and lots of ethical problems being resolved).

    How come all these films star Charleton Heston? [​IMG]
     
  18. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    More fine choices. Not so sure about What Dreams May Come as I am also unfamiliar with it...but it's subject matter may seem extreme to some based on what I've just read. 2001 would work well and TKaM is one that has been discussed as a strong possibility in my house. How can you do better? And Field of Dreams would make a terrific spring selection.

    It will be interesting to see what kind of reception my idea gets from church leadership.

    Keep the ideas coming. And, thanks.
     
  19. Eric_L

    Eric_L Well-Known Member

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    Nativity story = boring...

    Matrix - lots of christian themes and metaphors - from rebirth to savior to the illusions of the 'real' world...

    Lion Witch and Wardrobe - more family oriented... Christ themes.

    Hook - not really a christian theme but the whole thing is a metaphor for drug addiction (Cptn Hook is drugs) and a fathers love for his son.

    Bruce Almighty. (Haven't seen Evan yet)

    Oh God... I II III...

    I could think of more if I had more time...
     
  20. troy evans

    troy evans Well-Known Member

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    The Omega Code I and II. Two really good christian themed films with very good special effects.
     

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