Family Movie Night

Sprinting towards the new year for me means making resolutions.

I look for goals to set in order to be better. I am trying to curb my late-itis, my desire to actually write more and maybe work on that novel I have been talking about. I think many of us look to that New Year’s Day as a time of making things better – be it weight or  personal issues.

Sometimes, I seek inspiration from the movies.

There are many that have been made about redemption or pose a cautionary tale. The movies I list for this week are for adult consumption. I  like to think that kids do not need to make resolutions this serious.

Picture from

I think about “Citizen Kane” which was written and directed by lead actor Orson Wells. The story is about a rich man who ran newspapers, married well and left his wife for a singer. He tried to make the singer an opera star but that failed. At the end of his life, he dies alone and a servant begins to burn everything. His final muttering of “rosebud” pushes reporters to examine his life more closely.

This movie was ahead of its time in the mid-forties with camera angles and story-telling devices but it has inspired others throughout the years. All the while Citizen Kane, a thinly veiled portrait of William Hearst, posed the question of how to truly live a good life.

Al Freeman Jr. Wesley Snipes and Alfre Woodard in "Down in the Delta," Picture from

Redemption is not hard to find, you have to look for it. And find it you will in Down in the Delta  with Alfre Woodard. A drunkard who is raising a 13-year-old boy and an autistic 2-year-old daughter with her mother in the projects of Chicago, Woodard plays a woman who can not read or write or find work to support her family.

That is when her mother takes charge, forcing the younger woman to visit an uncle in the South. Woodard must clean up her act, earn money to pay back her ticket and remember what it was like to be a member of the human race. It has been a few years since I saw this movie but I love it for its simplicity and hardness.

The late Bernie Mac and Angela Bassett in "Mr. 3000," picture from

 Sports movies like to tell the tale of a redeemed hero and one that I had not thought about for years is Mr. 3000 starring the late Bernie Mac. This movie has the former player coming back to baseball because it was discovered that three of his hits were not legal. Suddenly he is not Mr. 3000 and if he is to remain so he must be a player again and get those three hits.

 Is there resentment among his new teammates? Are they aware of his deficiencies as a player in the past and in the present? Can he learn that sometimes a sacrifice fly is nobler at times? Will his knee hold out long enough for him to get to 3000 hits? You and I know the answers to these questions but enjoy the ride as a rich and selfish man learns a hard lesson. Plus, I enjoy watching Bernie Mac work his magic along with Angela Bassett.

 What movies inspire you to be a better person?

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

 Let the world know about your latest pick for Family Movie Night and drop a note to P.O. Box 306, St. Anne, IL 60964.