Monday, July 18, 2005

Your suggestions, please.

In my freshman writing course, I usually teach an evaluation essay. This requires students to make a judgement statement about something (a book, movie, etc.) and back up the judgement with reasons and evidence. (You'd be surprised at how difficult the reasons and evidence part is for some students!) In the past, we have watched a movie in class, and they have written a review of the movie. I'm thinking of doing that again this semester, and I'd like some suggestions for movies that would be appropriate for 18-20-year-olds with a variety of interests. The movie needs to have a story that is more complex than just the basic "boy meets girl and they get together after some conflicts" or the "good guy goes after the bad guy and lots of things get blown up" stories. In the past we have watched The Count of Monte Cristo, The Shawshank Redemption, Open Range, and Ladder 49 (which actually wasn't that good of a choice for this assignment). In other words, the story needs to be one that has some meaning and will make the students think a little bit, but I also don't want it to be too "artsy."

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

PS. I'm feeling much better although I am still a little congested. Thanks for your prayers!


Mike Kear said...

What about The Laramie Project, Donnie Darko, I heart Huckabees, Seven Years in Tibet, or Signs? Those are some of my favorites that have plots, twists, ethics, and morals that go pretty deep.



Jana said...

Lilies of the Field, The Browning Version, Spanglish, Schindler's List, Fight Club...

David Kear said...

You can't go wrong with Shawshank Redemption. What a great movie. Another Tim Robbins movie that comes to mind is Mystic River. It is a greatly entertaining movie that is distended with ethical struggles.

jettybetty said...

Looks like you are getting some good ideas--I don't see many movies and then when I do it's the strangest thing--I immediately forget them. Does someone want to diagnose me???

Seeing a movie in freshman english would have to be a good class though. I really believe in mixing it up in class--I enjoyed using bizarre things that really caught the students off guard.

Let us know what you use and how it works out.


JMG said...

Wow, I'm gonna have to rent a lot of movies this summer!

This past semester one of my classes watched Ladder 49. I had not seen it yet, and I have to say I wasn't all that impressed. I mean, it was a good portrayal of the situation, and the acting was good, but there just wasn't much under the surface. Some of my students even said that the movie seemed like an attempt to cash in on the post 9/11 hero worship of firefighters. A pretty astounding observation coming from 18-year-olds!

Bar Bar A said...

Have you ever considered using short films? Like five or six 20 minute films or even a few 5 minute films and a 30 minute film?

The reason I ask is because I have access to some really wonderful films that have been shown at "The Damah Film Festival" ( The films are not Christian per se, but they do have a spiritual impact. Check them out on-line and let me know if you would like me to send you a few that I have access to for free in DVD format :) "Light of Darkness" has been really though provoking for most audiences.

Let us know what you decide to use :)

JMG said...

Thanks, WW! I'll check that out!

Tony Arnold said...

The Battle of Shaker Heights (2003, Miramax, very good and modern)

Good Will Hunting!!!!!!

The Elephant Man (old but powerful)

My Bodyguard (old, but great theme)

Shadowlands (very powerful but no cussing and no violence; might be lost on todays youth)


Anonymous said...

I'm seconding these movie choices:
Spanglish, Shadowlands
Napolean Dynamite (funny or not?)
Cinderella Man (sports & romance)
Gone With The Wind (historical viewpoints, racial relationships, roles of men and women, societal moires, psychology of poverty, movies that last four hours))
A River Runs Through It (relationships)