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Emmanuel's Gift (2005)
Emmanuel is not disabled. He redefines the meaning of the word.
Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah shows us in this film what it means to confront fear, obstacles, and challenges, and overcome. This man, in spite of being born without one full leg, being abandoned by his father, and cast aside in a country where the disabled are shunned and ignored, decided on one course of action. And that was to become the best he could at whatever God put in front of him. He redefines what it means to be disabled and let things get in the way of becoming the person you want to be. Lisa Lax and Nancy Stern have given us a lovely and inspiring portrait of a unique man. All of us so blessed with opportunities and unparalleled blessings would do well to watch, learn, and be humbled. The Free Wheelchair distribution scene Emmanuel organized for the people in his own home town is some of the most disturbing and touching video you can watch. Emmanuel long ago stopped thinking of himself. His heart is so outwardly focused that his example can only make us better people ourselves.
Auntie Mame (1958)
Mame is Alive
St. Iranaeous said it: "The glory of God is man fully alive."
Auntie Mame in her own way lives this life. This may not appear to be a deep movie. But, Mame lives a life that as Agnes Gooch says "I see what she's been living. And I see what I've been missing." She doesn't miss a moment. She's a caricature for so many of the things that go wrong with "growing up" and becoming "mature and responsible". At the end of the day Mame shows the possibilities of a life led to the full. Of a life that is truly vital and alive. This is a movie everyone who wants to leave this world without leaving money on the table should watch and take to heart. Mame is childlike, fun, and living without fear of what others think. This is on my top 10 list.
The Kid (2000)
Redemption and Life
Sorry to read many of the comments. Many of John Eldredge's "Wild at Heart" readers will see the theme played out beautifully in this movie. A story of rebirth and redemption and the possibility of becoming a "Kid" again as an adult. Commedy? Lot's of fun stuff in here. Whoppi in her uncredited opening role as a sales clerk at the airport is funny. Bruce's journey into facing his past and working past it to become a real man is not funny. It's real, it's moving, and it's meaningful. Hardest part for me to accept was that this is a Disney movie. There is something significant going on behind those doors. Trite humor or a real look at the possibilites of what it means to become a fully alive and engaged adult. John
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
In My Top 10
I saw this movie for probably the 20th time on TCM tonight. I agree with the other reader who said that this is one of the movies he'd take with him if he were going to a desert island.
So much has been said by other readers that I wanted to add one simple observation.
I was overwhelmed this time by the closing scenes at the wedding. I'd never noticed the framing this clearly. There's a room full of people in Wilma's home at the wedding. But the deep focus shots looking past Homer and Wilma into the living room frame first March and Loy in the forground to the exclusion of anyone else. Then the shot shifts and Fred is included up front and March, Loy, and now Wright are in the foreground.
This is film as narrative. It's beautiful, simple, and powerful.
Beggars of Life (1928)
Visually Stunning Film with a surprising ending.
I have been wanting to see this film ever since reading about the filming of it in the great Loise Brooks biography by Barry Paris a few years ago. I finally saw it last night at the Silent Film Theater in Los Angeles. The train scenes (which were filmed just over the California Border in Mexico I believe) are even better than I'd hoped for. The sense of silent film making abord a steam driven freight train high in the mountains with minimal special effects and the grand scenery, sheer drops, and motion was great.
And, as another reviewer already noted, Brooks (Nancy) showed subtle but powerful acting while falling asleep inside the pile of hay. Those images are unforgettable for me.
But, it was the ending with Oklahoma Red (Beery) surprising everyone with his total surrender to save Nancy from the law that made the film. Jim (Arlen) tells Brooks as they later ride off safely into the Canadian sunset that Beery was "no good".
Jim and Nancy demonstrated the "Romeo and Julliet" selfish love of better to die together than give up one's self for the other. Oklahoma Red was the only one in the film who showed true selfless love. And he did it without asking for or expecting recognition.
Mary Pickford in what she did best!
This film has all the elements of the quintessential Mary Pickford film. The little girl. Spunky. Full of love and against the odds. Willing to risk. From the "ash cans" and down to earth but capable of walking with high society with her head held high. Her profile shots by Charles Rosher are the ones we've learned to remember "Little Mary" by. The cupid scenes are incredible not so much for their content but their originality and sentiment in a film made in 1919.