Christian Toto’s participation in the movie blog alphabet soup meme started by blogcabins inspired me to create my own alphabetical list of movie titles. My theme is “the second 200” — these are movies that may not be in my top 100 list, but would all find a place just below it. And they’re all wonderful choices for family movie nights.
Amistad This underrated historical drama about the trial of a rebellious slave is a brilliant exploration of America’s most fundamental principles and its most tragic compromises.
Ball of Fire One of the wittiest romantic comedies ever made, with a sizzling performance from Barbara Stanwyck.
Charade One of the glossiest romantic thrillers ever made with Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant, and a swooningly romantic score by Henry Mancini.
The Defiant Ones Sidney Poitier and Tony Curtis are escaped prisoners manacled together in an early Civil Rights-era drama.
The Emperor’s New Groove A refreshingly unpretentious animated film about a spoiled prince.
Fly Away Home A young girl goes to live with a father she barely knows and finds herself responsible for teaching a flock of geese to flow south for the winter in this beautiful film inspired by a true story.
Gregory’s Girl A sweet Scottish high school romance filled with adorably quirky characters and some quiet insights.
Holiday Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn star in this bittersweet romance about a wealthy girl who falls for her sister’s fiancee.
I Love You Again William Powell and Myrna Loy star in this hilarious comedy about a con man from the city who awakes from amnesia to find himself married to a beautiful small-town woman.
Jezebel Bette Davis plays the fiery Civil War-era Southern belle shocks her community by wearing a red dress to a ball where unmarried ladies always wear white.
Kiss Me Kate Brush up your Shakespeare with this musical version of “Kiss Me Kate” with dances by Bob Fosse and music by Cole Porter. In a word: Wunderbar
Ladyhawke This medieval romance has a heroic couple under a terrible enchantment. Michelle Pfeiffer is Lady Isabeau, who becomes a hawk by night. Rutger Hauer is the handsome captain who becomes a wolf by day.
Magnificent Obsession Rock Hudson is the reckless playboy carelessly causes the death of a beloved doctor abd discovers that the meaning of life is what one gives to others.
Ninotchka Greta Garbo laughs in this lovely romantic comedy about a stern Soviet who meets a dashing Parisian.
October Sky This true story of a boy from a small town who dreams of becoming a rocket scientist is one of the best films ever made about the thrill and hard work of science and a great family movie.
The Pirate Gene Kelly plays an actor who masquerades as a dreaded pirate to woo Judy Garland. It’s sly humor was lost on many audiences when it was first released but it is a treasure.
The Quiet Man Technicolor was invented for the green of the Irish hills and the red of Maureen O’Hara’s hair in this tempestuous love story starring John Wayne, with one of the greatest fight scenes in movie history.
Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles A Japanese man estranged from his dying son makes one last gesture to show how much he cares when he goes to China to complete his son’s promise to film an opera and fathers and sons connections resonate through the quietly powerful story.
Stranger Than Fiction In this witty meta-movie, Will Ferrell is terrific in a quiet role of an IRS investigator who may be a character in a novel. Co-stars Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman are magnificent and there is a sweet love story to boot.
The Thief And The Cobbler This neglected gem with stunning visuals and a sweet story was the life’s work of a brilliant animator named Richard Williams.
Up the Down Staircase Sandy Dennis plays an idealistic teacher in this film based on the autobiographical novel.
The Visitor One of this year’s loveliest films (with four of this year’s most beautiful performances) is the story of a lonely professor who tries to help some illegal immigrants. It raises many questions, not the least of which is which character is referred to by the title.
The World of Henry Orient There is no more evocative version of middle school friendships and other passions than this 1960’s story of two girls in New York. It has wonderful supporting work from Peter Sellers, Angela Lansbury, Phyllis Kirk, and Tom Bosley, but the stars are the girls, the city, and the sparkling score.
X-Men Marvel heroes come to life in this super-charged super-hero story of mutants who must fight prejudice as well as super-villains.
Yellow Submarine The Beatles rescue the gentle citizens of Pepperland from the Blue Meanies and remind everyone that “All You Need is Love.”
Z Costa-Gavras political thriller would be gripping as fiction but it is all true.
Be sure to check out Christian Toto’s list and the lists from the other participants collected by Blogcabin.
The Nominees have been announced. Beliefnet’s candidates for Most Inspiring Person of 2008 are all heroes who exemplify the highest standards of courage and service. Please join us in saluting these extraordinary people by voting for your candidate and discussing the contributions of all of them and describing what inspires you in our forum. We are so grateful to all of these nominees for their extraordinary compassion and commitment and for reminding us that even in these cynical times there are still people who can inspire us with their example of giving for others.
* Heroic Boy Scouts?Transformed into True Leaders by a Deadly Iowa Tornado
Dozens of Nebraska and Iowa Boy Scouts attending a weeklong leadership training session rallied into action without missing a beat when a devastating tornado ripped through their remote western Iowa campsite. Courageously, the boys overcame fear and panic to rescue their friends and community members and assist the injured.
* Paul Newman?Beloved Film Star and Philanthropist Who Built a Life by Doing Good for Others
Academy Award Winner and generous humanitarian, Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang Camps for seriously ill children give hundreds of thousands of kids an opportunity to laugh, play and enjoy the fresh air, green grass and sunshine.
* Randy Pausch?Carnegie Mellon’s “Last Lecture” Professor Who Inspired Millions to Live Their Dreams
Hugely popular professor who recently passed away after a brave journey through pancreatic cancer showed the importance of living each day well–even when facing death–and to never give up on your dreams. His “Last Lecture” video and book, and interviews with Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America remain an inspiration to people around the world.
* Master Sgt. William “Spanky” Gibson?Oklahoma Marine Who Returned to Iraq Despite Devastating War Injuries
After doctors amputated his leg above the knee as a result of a combat injury, 19-year veteran Master Sgt. Gibson refused whole-heartedly to think of himself as disabled. “Born to be a Marine,” Gibson retrained with gusto, and returned to battle with a prosthetic leg; he proudly serves his country to this very day.
* Dr. Halima Bashir?Sudanese Doctor Brutalized for Condemning Darfur Horrors
Bashir’s memoir relates how she was brutally punished for medically treating the injured and then declaiming the rape and torture of young girls who are being traumatized by government-backed rapists in Darfur. Her breathtaking life story and passionate commitment to speaking out against violence on behalf of those who cannot fight for themselves has inspired millions.
* Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor?Amazing Story of Stroke and Recovery by a Brain Scientist who Views Her Experience as a Gift to Others
A doctor who spent her life studying the human brain awoke to discover that she was having a massive stroke herself. As she watched her own brain deteriorate she reached a profound level of spirituality that eventually inspired her to change the course of her life and share new knowledge with the world.
* Christina Applegate?Vivacious Actress and Breast Cancer Survivor Passionate about Raising Awareness and Helping Other Women Find the Treatment they Need
The well-known actress has risen as an inspiration to women everywhere. When her mother was stricken with the disease, she became a passionate crusader for breast cancer awareness and finding a cure. Now a breast cancer survivor herself, she continues to inspire and motivate others to join the fight against this deadly disease.
* Dara Torres?Olympic Swimming Medalist and Selfless Competitor
At the Beijing Olympics this past summer, 41-year-old Dara Torres hauled in three silver medals for Team USA, to become the oldest swimming medalist in Olympic history. But many considered Torres’ most valiant and inspiring moment to be her instinctive and selfless gesture to help a competitor that stopped the clock seconds before race.
* Darin Headrick?Reuniting a Tornado-torn Community by Rebuilding its Schools
When ten people died and 95 percent of tiny Greensburg, Kansas was destroyed by a two mile wide tornado, Superintendent of Schools Darin Headrick spearheaded efforts to get the school system back up and running better than ever before. His environmentally-friendly “Green” schools gave students and families hope and a reason to stay and grow with the new community they pledged to build.
* Steven Curtis Chapman?Christian Music Artist Who Faced a Parent’s Darkest Hour
Award-winning singing star sustained his family’s spirit and faith through the tragic loss of his daughter. His courage in the face of personal loss balanced by a reliance on God serves as a model for millions of people around the world. Chapman is a tireless advocate for underprivileged children and Christian relief.
This adorable film was made on the Bryan O’Connell family’s visit to Universal Studios and posted on YouTube:
And be sure to check out the new trailer for the J.J. Abrams 2009 “Star Trek” movie.
It was a thrill to attend a small reception in honor of the new film, “The Wrestler,” and get a chance to talk with director Darren Aronofsky and co-star Marisa Tomei. The title role is played by Mickey Rourke, in a sensational comeback performance almost certain to get an Oscar nomination. I spoke with Aronofsky about the long development process for the film, as the script went through 25 drafts, and how this film differed from the intensity and scale of his most recent film, “The Fountain.” The intimate, documentary style of filming makes its drama even more heart-wrenching as we feel we are witnessing something very raw and very real. Tomei gives a brilliantly brave and exquisitely vulnerable performance that may earn her another nomination as well.