Posts Tagged ‘uma thurman’

If you’ve been reading this blog then you just had to know this post was coming. Here are my criteria:

  1. Rewatchability
  2. Gospel and redemption themes
  3. Quality of acting and characterization

Here there are, purely in alphabetical order, these are my personal top 9 films.

Chariots of Fire (1981)

This movie can feel slow at times but I don’t care, I love the contrast of Eric Liddell and Harold Abrams. Eric runs for God and finished his life as a missionary to China. Abrams runs almost purely for himself, to prove himself to all others. The movie is so well done though that you find yourself rooting for both of them. It’s also a rare movie that has a Christian figure so winsomely portrayed and speaking the Bible. Plus, you can’t forget about the classic opening and closing sequence with the Vangelis theme song. The movie has an 86% rating at Rotten Tomatoes

Cinderella Man (2005)

Cinderella Man is one of the most rewatchable movies we own. That may just be me, but I have watched this movie a bunch of times simply because I don’t get tired of it. I love the story of Jim Braddock, his relationship with his family and his wife. I love the set up and the final fight against Max Baer. Redemption, suffering, and good marriage themes are all in this one along with the boxing. It is at an 80% rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

City by the Sea (2002)

City by the Sea is a relatively obscure movie; I rarely meet a person who has actually seen it. Rotten Tomatoes and critics likely didn’t help as it only has a 48% rating! But I love the father son dynamic and issues in this movie. I practically weep at the movie climax. The bitter sweetness of the ending is so good. A demonstration of our inability to outrun our sin just adds to it all.

The Dark Knight (2008)

You knew this would end up on my list after I wrote this. This is one of two Christopher Nolan flicks on my list and I’ll give you 0 guesses as to what the second is. The Dark Knight is a gut punch. I have no other way to describe what you will likely feel the first time you see it. It is dark. Evil is overwhelming. Can good win? Can a city overcome its dark side? Can a hero even survive without becoming a villain? Just watch it. It currently has a 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and it’s only the second highest on my list! I highly recommend listening to the short message given by James Harleman (of Mars Hill) on this film.

Inception (2010)

I have already written 2 blog posts (“Must See Film” and “The Idea that Changes Everything”) on this movie and it’s not even on DVD yet. Inception is a great concept and story with piercing father/son themes, interesting characters, and is a movie with just so many figurative and literal levels. It is currently at an 87% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Les miserables (1998)

Les miserables is based on the powerful and highly praised musical of the same name which is based on the book by Victor Hugo. This movie is all about 1 question: What is grace? From the priest to Valjean (Liam Neeson) to Javert (Geoffrey Rush), the question is what is more powerful and effective: grace or the law? When I first saw this movie, I was just stunned. My friend and I were literally speechless until halfway through our car ride home when finally he simply belted out “WOW! THAT IS GRACE!!!” I can still vividly remember that evening and moment as if it happened yesterday. This great film is at a 76% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Natural (1984)

Part of why I appreciate this movie surrounds the memories I have of watching it many times with my dad. I still have faint memories of seeing it in the theater with him when it first came out. The redemption story of this movie grows on me every time I watch. I love how it ends (not merely on the famous home run scene!). The last time I watched it was probably my favorite. It’s also a classic baseball movie. Rotten Tomatoes gives it an 81% rating.

Rocky II (1979)

This is another one that I have fond memories of watching with my dad. Honestly, Rocky II moves so painfully slow. But it all comes down to one moment. You see this one moment and you’re all in and you’re fired up. If you come across this movie on cable, you’ll wait or keep checking back just for this moment on forward. Yeah, it’s over the top but can you, men, say this scene (with Eye of the Tiger playing in the background) does nothing for you? It’s at a 70% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Star Trek (2009)

This one probably surprised you. It surprised you unless you’ve seen it, that is. JJ Abrams did such a fantastic job with this movie. Sacrifice, fathers, friendship, and redemption are all mixed in to one great story to reboot this franchise. I love how Pike and Spock’s dad are pivotal for Kirk and Spock and how we get to see the growth of Spock and Kirk from boys to guys to men. The parallel characterization of these 2 men is super well done. It’s an extremely entertaining and rewatchable movie. It’s all about family with a mission. One more likely surprise: this is the highest rated film at Rotten Tomatoes on my list, now at 94%. James Harleman also discusses this movie here.

Honorable Mentions: Shutter Island (2010), Empire Strikes Back (1980), Hoosiers (1989), Glory (1989), Taken (2008), Shawshank Redemption (1994), Gattaca (1997).

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While folding laundry this past week, my wife and I stumbled on to the movie Gattaca (1997) and I forgot what a sensational film it really is. It truly is a movie that gets better every time I see it. Right now, you can watch it for free (with limited commercials) on Hulu. If you haven’t ever seen it, go watch it and then come back and read the rest of this post. Beware of one PG-13 sex scene that’s very easy to skip through without missing anything. For those who have seen it, by all means, read on.

There are many things you can focus on in this movie. First off, it’s a beautiful movie. I love the sort of retro image of the future with the old school cars and clothing. I love how it is a vision of the future but the technology is secondary to the characters. The visuals are really well done and effective. It’s a dark yet smooth world. Green is a very dominant color. It just feels like a very “clean” world, which is exactly how it’s supposed to feel.

In terms of themes and characters, you can discuss anything from the genetic engineering to the favoritism of Vincent’s father to his relationship with his brother, Anton. Jude Law is also excellent in this movie as the crippled Jerome. But there is one thing that blew me away and just gripped my heart when I saw it this time.

“There is no gene for the human spirit.”

We love how Vincent overcomes in this movie, how he pursues his dream with heart and diligence and an unstoppable will. It’s an uplifting film. You’re very easily pulling for him the whole way. Vincent has been given up on his whole life. He was not genetically engineered which means his life is relegated to cleaning toilets. His parents did not believe in him. His brother browbeats him and has all the talent. No one will look past his DNA in a world of perfection. It’s the classic story. However, it’s the twist which makes this a powerful film and reveals a truth that we tend to ignore.

You are not alone

He’s made it. He’s overcome. Time to board the rocket and realize his dreams of being in space. Everything comes down to this moment. But there is one last kink. One more DNA test that he is completely unprepared for. There is no getting around exposure of his true identity this time. He fails the test. Then Dr. Lamar covers for him and releases him. He, with a funny statement, then reveals that he knew all along that Vincent was not who he said he was. Dr Lamar was covering for him all along! He knew! When Vincent was living his secret to realize his dream and walking in that loneliness where only 1 person in his life knew, Dr. Lamar was protecting him, working for him, rooting for him, and watching out for him, the whole time. Did you catch his last words to him?

You’re going to miss your flight, Vincent.

He calls Vincent by his real name. It just breaks me. God is all that and more. Even when things are darkest and foggiest, which we can feel so often in this world, our Father is on our side working for our good and taking care of us and is not asleep or disengaged.

for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5-6 ESV)

You are not alone. You have a heavenly Father who through the blood of Jesus is on your side. You also have a friend and brother, like Jerome, who laid down his life for you, who also shed his own blood for you, who also gives you his own identity and righteousness. This Father and Brother are waiting for you. Therefore, like Vincent, let’s keep our ultimate hope in a life off of this planet.

Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. (Hebrews 13:13-15 ESV)

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