Vote for My Pick: Movie of the Month ‘A Christmas Story’ at the LAMB

Hey friends! I need your help. I really want to win this and I know you’ll agree it’s the best Christmas film on the LAMB list. Head over there and vote for the ultra amazing and classic A Christmas Story. It’s already playing traditionally in our house. Vote today!

Head over there and vote for the ultra amazing and classic A Christmas Story.

O Brother Where Art Thou?

This kind of humor hits fast and hard with some people, for others it has to grow on them a bit. Regardless, for my “folding money” this is some of the funniest stuff in film. I’ve seen this film probably 10 times and it just gets funnier every time I see it. A mix of early Americana and the Odyssey by Homer makes for this hilarious film of crime, salvation, old country/folk music, and comedy.

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O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Cast

George Clooney, John Turturro, Tim Blake Nelson, John Goodman

Directed by

Joel Coen

Written by

Homer, Ethan Coen

Other Info

Adventure, Comedy, Crime, Music
TV-14
Fri 02 Feb 2001 UTC
107min
IMDB Rating: 7.8

I wasn’t really a Clooney fan until I saw this film. He has a recurring line he says that always cracks me up, “We’re in a tight spot.” The fact of the matter is, they are quite often in a tight spot. The cat and mouse chases are most of what makes this film a laugh a minute.

In an allegory to Homer’s Odyssey, some men escape from prison to go on the road. They make their way through recording on the radio, meeting interesting people, escaping close calls with the Ku Klux Klan, and a few other scenes you have to see to truly “get.”

John Goodman reminds them “it’s all about the money” and beats them all with a stick. That’s a funny scene but this film is about a lot more than just money, it has soul. I recommend this film for fans of the Cohen Brothers’ films and those into bluegrass roots and music. Watch it with an open mind since it is not straight ahead comedy. If you can get what it’s doing, you’ll have a good old-time enjoying this country folk crime ride. This film ranks in my top 15 for sure.

Captain Fantastic

Finally, a movie where Viggo Mortensen can come out of his shell. He’s a dad who tries to raise his kids in his out outdoor, survivalist image with mixed results. With an excellent cast, well written script, and superior directing, This is one of my favorite films of the year.

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Captain Fantastic
Cast

Viggo Mortensen, George MacKay, Samantha Isler, Annalise Basso

Directed by

Matt Ross

Written by

Matt Ross

Other Info

Comedy, Drama
R
Fri 29 Jul 2016 UTC
118min
IMDB Rating: 7.9

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, so they say. You’ll have to wait and see in this film. All his many kids seem to respect him. This is true even when he orders them to eat the heart of the animal they killed and then carve it up for a meal. There are no mall trips or iPhones for Christmas.

As I watched this I kept wondering: “Is this a loving act?”

When the mom dies of cancer, the kids want to go to her funeral. Dad takes them and meets a lot of extended family conflict. It’s understandable they judge him, from a certain “civilized” point of view.

The ending brings the message home. I think this is the author and director’s vision for all of us. Love is always love whether in or out of civilized society. I loved everything about this film. I recommend it to all movie fans, especially parents of young adults.

Moonlight

This review contains spoilers. The stages of life, from kindergarten to ones senior year of high school, are fairly predictable. This is often more true of heterosexuals only I’m afraid. Gays still have a much tougher time growing up and understanding their sexuality. This film examines the stages of one gay man, a black man who must discover who he is with very little assistance.

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Moonlight
Cast

Mahershala Ali, Shariff Earp, Duan Sanderson, Alex R. Hibbert

Directed by

Barry Jenkins

Written by

Barry Jenkins, Tarell Alvin McCraney

Other Info

Drama
R
Fri 18 Nov 2016 UTC
111min
IMDB Rating: 7.5

I love films that employ the use of several actors to portray a person through life. This is one of those. There were times it felt so real, like I was there watching the schoolyard fights, and other time I felt so much empathy for the protagonist I fought back tears. My wife was not as successful in that regard.

This is an incredibly moving film.

It’s the story of a black boy who grows up in urban poverty. He’s bullied for being different, and his own mother who is a drug addict calls him “faggot.” It seems the only role model he has is the street drug dealer in his neighborhood.

We see him dealing with so much adversity and trauma. Interwoven throughout are his feelings for other boys. He gets a chance to explore them once but never again until much later after he has spent time in jail and “rebuilt himself from the ground up.”

There’s nothing flashy here, no gratuitous sex or violence. This is the life of an American black man who learns to adjust in his world while being gay. This is one to talk about for sure. More films like this are necessary. I recommend this film highly to those who identify with and/or support the LGBT lifestyle. Also anyone who has a heart for those who are different from the elusive societal “norms.” The characters are like family. When you see them on the street corner or in their apartments you don’t just see them, you are invited in by their performances.

As a white, heterosexual male, I found this film stunningly beautiful, an amazing triumph in film on a topic that we need more films about.

The Grapes of Wrath

My wife and I watched “The Grapes of Wrath” recently and while it was a bit tedious at times, it packed some powerful and therapeutic messages for me.

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The Grapes of Wrath
Cast

Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell, John Carradine, Charley Grapewin

Directed by

John Ford

Written by

Nunnally Johnson, John Steinbeck

Other Info

Drama, History
Approved
Fri 15 Mar 1940 UTC
129min
IMDB Rating: 8.1

The adaptation of John Steinbeck’s novel was about the Joads, a family from Oklahoma, traveling in the 40’s to find work. It is during the ferocious dust bowl period that made farmers’ land fallow. Those who once owned the farms were now vagrant/migrant workers. The greed and selfishness of the banks and landowners is an eerie backdrop to this realistic fiction. With our country in such financial crisis it seems it could return to this. Maybe it’s not so bad to be afraid of that.

The whole “aura” of the movie always gets to me emotionally because my grandpa came to Bakersfield, CA from Arkansas when my dad was just a kid. Certainly my dad was younger than Tom Joad being born in 1945. I see the Joads as “my people.” It is quite a powerful movie when you really connect with the messages. Those messages re about life, death, family, faith, hard work, government, and more.

Favorite scene: When the Joads ask to buy a loaf of bread for a dime in a diner. They are told the bread is 15 cents a loaf and not for sale anyway. This being all they had, the storekeeper lets them have it for 10 and lies about how much the candy costs so the Joad kids can have some swirl sticks. The movie is great from beginning to end, but that scene is forever etched into my mind.