Friday, July 3, 2009

Brave Writer at the Movies

On Monday I am starting to teach my first summer session Brave Writer class, Brave Writer at the Movies. This is also my first movie discussion class, and I am looking forward to talking about movies with homeschooling families.

It is difficult to resist choosing my favorite films only to discuss. I want to discuss movies that will bring up questions about how we live, how we think, how we relate to each other. I want to see the contrasts between characters as well as note the changes characters undergo as their stories progress. I also want to expose students to at least one "classic" movie as my daughter Elizabeth and I really enjoy watching old movies together. So I asked my college roommate who was a theatre major as well as a literature major and who wrote movie reviews for the San Diego Daily Transcript for her advice. She suggested Adam's Rib (1949), with Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, but when Elizabeth and I watched it, we thought it might go flying above too many teens' heads -- the "battle of the sexes" wasn't as funny or as profound as I had hoped. So with Julie's kind permission, I switched the film for an older and much better comedy. One can't go wrong with Cary Grant, right?

So here is the lineup for Brave Writer at the Movies this summer:

Topper (1937) with Roland Young, Cary Grant, and Constance Bennett. From IMDB: "The funloving Kerbys, stockholders in the bank of which henpecked, stuffy Cosmo Topper is president, drive recklessly once too often and become ghosts. In limbo because they've never done either good or bad deeds, they decide to try a good one now: rehabilitating Topper. Lovely, flirtatious Marion takes a keen personal interest in the job. Will Topper survive the wrath of jealous ghost George? Will Mrs. Topper find that a scandalous husband isn't all bad?" (Written by Rod Crawford.)

My Boy Jack (2007) with Daniel Radcliffe, David Haig, and Kim Cattral. From IMDB: "English gentleman author Rudyard Kipling, famous for the Jungle Book, uses his considerable influence, being on a War Office propaganda think tank, to get his nearly 18 ear-old son John 'Jack', repeatedly refused for service during World war I on account of his bad eyesight, enrolled in the Irish Guards: their patriotic dream but mother and sister's nightmare. After a short officer training course Jack gets command of a platoon and embarks in France. Soon his unit suffers terrible losses and Jack is reported missing. Now mother Caroline 'Carry' Kipling proves unstoppable pushing Rudyard's influence and half of England to help find out the truth. When it finally comes, there is far less glory than gore and guilt." (Written by KGF Vissers.)

Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986) with Matthew Broderick, Mia Sara, and Alan Ruck. From IMDB: "Ferris is a street-wise kid who knows all the tricks. Today he decides to take the day off school. When Ferris takes the day off, so must his best friends, Cameron and Sloane. Cameron is reluctantly persuaded to borrow his father's Ferrari, and together they hatch a plan to get Sloane out of class. Suspicious dean of students Ed Rooney knows all about Ferris, but can never catch him. Ferris' sister Jeanie is also frustrated that Ferris always gets away with his tricks and she doesn't. Furthermore, Ferris is an 'angel' in his parents eyes. It's Ferris' day off, he's out to enjoy himself, and he does!" (Written by Rob Hartill.)

I, Robot (2004) with Will Smith. From IMDB: "This is the year 2035. Everybody in the world relies on a huge system of robots, which are programmed specifically to help humans and not harm them in any way. But one person does not think that robots are helpful. Chicago homicide detective Del Spooner. but one day, he received a call from the United States Robotics (USR) about a recent death of renowned robot scientist Dr. Alfred J. Laning. Spooner immediately blamed this incident on robots without justifiable reason or proof. Then, he begins his investigation on Lanning's death, only to discover Sonny, a "unique" robot. What Spooner does not realize, is that something is about to happen. Something that is beyond even Spooner's wildest dreams." (Written by John Wiggins.)

So, if your family would like to join this Brave Writer summer class or another Brave Writer class during this session, contact the web site as soon as possible. This film class especially is a wonderful way to get our kids writing as they discuss aspects of films. So they are using the same tools of literary analysis, building arguments and explaining their opinions and ideas, and, as they do so, they are WRITING. A lot. In the summer.

It's all good. Really good.

I can't wait until Monday when we start discussing summer movies! Come join us, homeschooling families!


Anonymous said...

I just saw The Soloist with Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx. It was enlightening. I highly recommend you watch it.

Susanne Barrett said...

I'll add it to my movie list. Thanks, Beth! :)


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