This is my third year as one of the nominators for Beliefnet’s annual awards that pay tribute to the most spiritually nourishing and inspiring films of the year. Each of the candidates is presented with pro and con statements (mine is the pro for Emile Hirsch’s performance in “Into the Wild”), with the awards to be decided by Beliefnet voters. Please visit the site and let us know what you thought about the nominated films and performances.
And I enjoyed Idol Chatter’s list of the 10 Most Inspiring Westerns. Westerns are epic and mythic. They present stark contrasts — cowboys and Indians, outlaws and sheriffs, ranchers and herders, railroads and farmers, gamblers and solid citizens, dancehall girls and prim schoolteachers. I do not agree with all of the choices (especially “Maverick” and “Tombstone”), but endorse with enthusiasm the selection of Silverado as the top choice. This year’s 3:10 to Yuma is worth including. But why limit the list to recent films? Classics like The Searchers, High Noon, My Darling Clementine, How the West Was Won, How the West Was Won, and Red River should be seen by everyone.