June 28, 2014


Want some recommendations for offbeat summer movie viewing? (Actually, not so much offbeat, more like overlooked.) I also went online and polled my film buff friends, but I made sure I've seen all of these myself and could vouch for them. Unless otherwise indicated, pretty much PG-13 fare. I apologize in advance that some of these may be hard to find (but worth it)!

Enchanted April--Middle-aged British wives in the 1920's spring for an exotic Italian getaway.
Pride and Prejudice (Colin Firth version!)
Bride and Prejudice--An American-Bollywood takeoff on "Pride and Prejudice." Funny.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty--(new, with Ben Stiller!)--sweet romance, drags badly in parts. Would be fun to watch the original version with Danny Kaye first.
The Painted Veil--A marriage is on the rocks (Ed Norton and Naomi Watts), but maybe the wife needs to take a second look at her husband. Awesome mother superior character.

KIDSTUFF (also for kids at heart)
Wimpy Kid series--(OK, this is more mainstream)
Princess Diaries 1 & 2--(don't deprive your kids if they haven't seen)
Looking for Miracles--(director, Kevin Sullivan: Anne of Green Gables) Two brothers at camp during the Great Depression. Not to be missed. Kevin Sullivan is a master storyteller.
Pollyanna --this star-studded Disney gem teaches lots of lessons
Millions--A British boy (whose mother is dead) believes in the saints and sees them (it totally works!) Unfortunately, one scene where he catches Dad jumping in bed with lady friend.
The Little Kidnappers--Two adorable little Scottish brothers kidnap a baby. Charlton Heston plays their grouchy, stubborn grandfather.
Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken--A Disney gem. In the Depression, a fiesty teen girl joins a Buffalo Bill Cody type Wild West traveling show.

Entertaining Angels (Dorothy Day)--boasts one of the best on-screen nuns ever!
Amazing Grace--The fascinating life of William Wilberforce who ended slavery in England. Albert Finney stars. One of the best "Christian" movies ever made. Wilberforce was also an animal lover.
The Jewish Cardinal--Cardinal Aaron Jean-Marie Lustiger of Paris

The Mission--The true story of 18th century Jesuits in Latin America. (Jeremy Irons, Robert De Niro)
Exorcism of Emily Rose--Not for the faint of heart. Based on the true story of a young German Catholic woman. Best seen in conjunction with reading Fr. Amorth's books: "An Exorcist Tells His Story." "An Exorcist: More Stories."
Gran Torino--Clint Eastwood is a Korean War vet with a chip on his shoulder and skeleton's in his closet. One of the best on-screen young priests ever! Very Catholic. Very funny. Very serious.
Second Best--(William Hurt) A bookish single man and a delinquent boy become men together.
Faith Like Potatoes--A South African farmer learns the heart of God the Father through his own tragedy.

I Confess--Alfred Hitchcock's use of the seal of the confessional as a major plot point. Filmed in Quebec!
Take Shelter--This small movie is just a great character study.
The Fugitive--(Harrison Ford) A lesson in sustained tension....

Jane Eyre (Timothy Dalton version!)
Little Women (any version)
Anne of Green Gables (Kevin Sullivan, director)
Anne of Avonlea (Kevin Sullivan, director)
A Little Princess (any version)
Lawrence of Arabia--Just watch it because everyone needs to.

Road to Avonlea (90's, Kevin Sullivan TV series)
Due South (90's, a polite Canadian Mountie and a rough Chicago cop team up--only the early, Canadian-produced ones are good. Once USA took over, the show WENT south)

What About Bob?--My absolute favorite comedy ever. My nunnies and I quote it constantly.
Waking Ned Devine--An elderly Irish man wins the lottery, but there's only one problem: he's dead. The townspeople try to figure out how to cash in.
Last Holiday--(Queen Latifah) A shy, retiring woman is diagnosed with a terminal disease. She finally begins to really live--and in the process, teaches everyone else how to as well.
Any Mr. Bean movies
Galaxy Quest--Stars from a "Star Trek" like show wind up with real aliens. Who watched their show.

The Man Who Planted Trees (beautiful, flowing impressionistic artwork)--an incredible fable of the power of one person, persistence, duty and love
The Secret of Kells--A fanciful recounting of the story of one of the world's most famous books. Involves fairies.
Through a Scanner Darkly--This is rougher, more R-rated, by the brilliant but troubled Philip K. Dick. Incredible life-like animation. A sad tale of drugs and betrayal. But Dick always ends his tales on the most compassionate and human of notes ("Blade Runner," "Minority Report," "The Adjustment Bureau")

Brave New World--Aldous Huxley's chilling and prescient futuristic tale (1998 made-for-TV, stars Leonard Nimoy, Peter Gallagher)
Gattaca--In the future, everyone is conceived by being genetically engineered. The minority who are not  born naturally are called "faith-births." No one is free to determine their own destiny.

Messenger of the Truth--The life of recent Polish martyr, Blessed Fr. Jerzy Popieluszko (the labor priest). Murdered in 1984.
The Human Experience--Young Catholic filmmakers from Brooklyn, NY, set off to meet their fellow human beings all over the world.


  1. Anonymous5:11 PM

    Too many chick flicks. There should be more with karate and explosions.

  2. Ha! It's about time! Female movie reviewers rule! #OurTurnNow!

  3. Anonymous10:19 AM

    Mr. Bean? Love you Sr. Helena, but Mr. Bean?

  4. Yes. Mr. Bean. He is hilarious. You HAVE to see "Mr. Bean in church" skit. He and Roberto Begnini are our only present-day connections with the slapstick, physical comedians of the silent-era past like Chaplin, Keaton, Lloyd, etc.