St. Francis United Methodist Church (in the Foothills – 4625 E River Rd 85718 (NW corner of River & Swan)
Sunday Night at the Movies (Sponsored by the Adult Education Program)
We will begin with a potluck dinner at 5:30. Bring enough to share with 6 people. The movie will start approximately at 6:15, and we will have a discussion of the theme after the presentation.
Starring Robin Williams in his remarkable final on-screen performance, BOULEVARD follows married but closeted 60 year-old bank employee Nolan (Williams) whose spontaneous turn down an unknown street upends his monotonous life and crumbling marriage. After forming an uncommon friendship with a young, charismatic hustler, Nolan finds himself on a journey of self-discovery and must confront the secrets he has kept hidden from his wife (Kathy Baker of SAVING MR. BANKS) and himself. Nolan’s dramatic decision to rethink his own identity holds with it the promise of happiness and salvation for both he and his wife in this touching and inspiring film. From acclaimed director Dito Montiel (A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS, THE SON OF NO ONE), and written by Douglas Soesbe, BOULEVARD shines with an ensemble cast that includes Bob Odenkirk (TV’s BETTER CALL SAUL) and Roberto Aguire (STRUCK BY LIGHTNING) in a breakout performance. [This film got only modest reviews at best.—sgm]
THE FIRST GRADER (2010)
In a small, remote mountain top primary school in the Kenyan bush, hundreds of children are jostling for a chance for the free education newly promised by the Kenyan government. One new applicant causes astonishment when he knocks on the door of the school. He is Maruge (Litondo), an old Mau Mau veteran in his eighties, who is desperate to learn to read at this late stage of his life. He fought for the liberation of his country and now feels he must have the chance of an education so long denied-even if it means sitting in a classroom alongside six-year-olds. Moved by his passionate plea, head teacher Jane Obinchu (Harris) supports his struggle to gain admission and together they face fierce opposition from parents and officials who don’t want to waste a precious school place on such an old man. The First Grader is a heart-warming and inspiring true story of one man’s fight for what he believes is his right in order to overcome the burdens of his past. It is a triumphant testimony to the transforming force of education. The First Grader is supported by national TV, online, print, and social media campaigns reaching more than 100 million and it stars Pirates of the Caribbean actress Naomie Harris.
LAST CALL AT THE OASIS (2011 documentary)
Water. It’s the earth’s most valuable resource. Our cities are powered by it, countless industries depend on it, and all living things need it to survive. But it’s very possible that in the near future, there won’t be enough to sustain life on our planet.From Academy Award®-winning director Jessica Yu (Breathing Lessons: The Life and Work of Mark O’Brien) and Academy Award®-nominated producer Elise Pearlstein (Food, Inc.) LAST CALL AT THE OASIS sheds light on the vital role water plays in our lives, exposes the defects in the current system, shows communities already struggling with its ill effects and introduces us to individuals who are championing revolutionary solutions, such as activist Erin Brockovich and distinguished experts Peter Gleick, Alex Prud’homme, Jay Famiglietti and Robert Glennon. [4- and 5-star reviews on Amazon]
THE 100-FOOT JOURNEY (2014)
Starring Academy Award(R) winner Helen Mirren (Best Actress, THE QUEEN, 2006), produced by Steven Speilberg, Oprah Winfrey and Juliet Blake, and directed by Lasse Hallstr-m (CHOCOLAT), this uplifting story bursts with flavor, passion and heart. When the chilly chef proprietress of a Michelin-starred French restaurant in southern France (Mirren) gets wind of a culinary immigrant opening an Indian restaurant just 100 feet from her own, her icy protests escalate to all-out war between the two establishments. It’s a celebration of triumph over exile as these two worlds collide and one young man tries to find the comfort of home in every pot — wherever he may be.
IT HAPPENED HERE (2015 Documentary)
…a feature length documentary about the alarming pervasiveness of sexual assault on college campuses, the impact on the student, their family and institution, and the burgeoning movement of student survivors coming forth and taking action against their schools on campus and in federal court.
Through the personal portraits of five students at three schools, testimonials from college administrators, educators, mental health experts and legal scholars, IT HAPPENED HERE breaks the silence surrounding campus sexual violence and asks why is this happening? What are schools doing about it? What is rape culture and what can we do to prevent campus assault?
NOTES ON A SCANDAL (2006)
Gold stars to all for this taut psychological thriller based on Zoe Heller’s novel that that gets more insidiously twisted as it unfolds. Oscar-nominated for her chilling performance, Dame Judi Dench gives a master class as schoolteacher Barbara Covett, a frumpy, friendless, and flinty spinster who lives with her cat. A formidable presence, Barbara is standoffish with colleagues and not one for students to trifle with (not that they’d dare). Cate Blanchett, also an Oscar nominee and winner of several critics society awards for her impassioned performance, costars as Sheba Hart, the new, overwhelmed art teacher who first becomes enthrall to Barbara after she steps in to help Sheba discipline unruly students. Barbara cultivates a friendship, and insinuates herself into Sheba’s chaotic life, which includes her older husband (Bill Nighy), teenage daughter, and a son with Down’s syndrome. Then, Barbara catches the reckless Sheba in a compromising position with a 15-year-old student (Andrew Simpson). Seizing her opportunity, the calculating Barbara does not turn her in. Rather, she wants to “help” her. “She’s the one I’ve been waiting for,” she writes in the journals she meticulously keeps, and which provide, in voiceover, her corrosive commentary.
RUNNING ON EMPTY (1988)
Arthur and Annie Pope along with their two sons, Danny and Harry, have been on the run and hiding from the law for years. This stems from the parents staging a bomb attack on a Napalm factory in their protest of the Vietnam War coupled with a factory worker getting seriously injured in the process. Always on the move, changing identities, and having no semblance of stability in their lives, the Popes gradually become weary of the chase and are forced to question their beliefs on family unity, which is paramount to them. Settling in New Jersey after yet another close call with authorities, Annie Pope enrolls her son in a local high school where his talent for playing the piano is quickly noticed and appreciated by his music teacher. So much so that arrangements are put into motion for Danny to attend the Julliard School of Music on a scholarship. Arthur and Annie Pope, kept out of the loop, eventually learn of these plans plus Danny’s evolving relationship with his music teacher’s daughter and his fervent desire to act on the scholarship. The Pope family is forced to examine their lives, their beliefs, and their convictions regarding the impending consequences of finally breaking the family circle. This
leads up to a very moving and poignant climax in the movie that is nothing short of outstanding.
A 12-year-old Afghan girl and her mother lose their jobs when the Taliban closes the hospital where they work. The Taliban have also forbidden women to leave their houses without a male “legal companion.” With her husband and brother dead, killed in battle, there is no one left to support the family. Without being able to leave the house, the mother is left with nowhere to turn. Feeling that she has no other choice, she disguises her daughter as a boy. Now called ‘Osama,’ the girl embarks on a terrifying and confusing journey as she tries to keep the Taliban from finding out her true identity. Inspired by a true story, Osama is the first entirely Afghan film shot since the fall of the Taliban.
My Old Lady
Mathias, a penniless fifty-odd-year-old New Yorker, lands in Paris. Both cynical and at the end of his tether, he looks forward to selling the mansion house his late father owned in the Marais district. But what he finds out there just appalls him: his secretive dad had never told him he had acquired the property as a life lease, a typically French custom he never heard of. As a consequence, not only will poor Mathias be unable to sell the house into cash (at least as long as Mathilde stays alive) but he will have to pay the old lady a pension into the bargain.
Dear White People
A social satire that follows the stories of four black students at an Ivy League college where controversy breaks out over a popular but offensive black-face party thrown by white students. With tongue planted firmly in cheek, the film explores racial identity in acutely-not-post-racial America while weaving a universal story of forging one’s unique path in the world.
Rather than ask why our students fail to measure up, this film asks us to reconsider the greater purpose of education. What if our education system valued personal growth over test scores? Put inquiry over mimicry? Encouraged passion over rankings? What if we decided that the higher aim of school was not the transmission of facts or formulas, but the transformation of every student? And what if this paradigm-shift was driven from the ground up? By students, parents, and educators? By all of us?
Love Is A Verb
An examination of a social movement of Sufi inspired Sunni Muslims that began in Turkey in the l960s and now reaches across the globe. The group is called Hizmet, the Turkish word for service or The Gulen Movement after its inspiration, leader and beloved teacher Fethullah Gulen, a man that Time Magazine named as one of the most influential leaders in the world in 2013.
Carolyn’s note: I’ve seen the riveting “Notes on a Scandal”, heartbreaking “Running on Empty” starring River Phoenix, frightening “Osama”, and hilarious “Dear White People” (my suggestion). Enjoy these movies and the company of the people from St. Francis in the Foothills church.