I have a movie decision to make so I thought I’d ask my readers. At the library where I work, I’m planning several events leading up to Veterans Day (November 11) culminating in a Veterans Day movie. We can choose most movies from Movie Licensing USA and there are several good ones in that database. (Unfortunately my top choice, The Best Years of Our Lives, is not on that list.)
I’ve narrowed my choices down to two: Battleground (1949) and They Were Expendable (1945). I like them both, I think they would both be good films to show to honor our veterans, but I’m really having trouble deciding which one to screen. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
May is moving quite a bit slower than usual, but I’ll eventually start lining up more viewing possibilities for you. In the meantime, here are a few films I saw early in the month. I hope you’ll find at least one or two to investigate (or avoid, as the case may be):
“Tell the Truth.” That’s the text of the framed needlepoint hanging in the office of the Albuquerque Sun-Bulletin where Chuck Tatum (Kirk Douglas) is seeking to make his comeback, looking for a return ticket to the big city newspapers who wouldn’t put up with his style of “extreme sport” journalism. The audience at last night’s showing of Ace in the Hole – part of The Great Movies series at the Severna Park Library – met Tatum last night and if you want me to tell the truth, I don’t think Tatum made many friends. But then again, maybe he did.
Phoenix (2014) Christian Petzold
Criterion Blu-ray (1:38)
The Great Movies series, Severna Park Library, Severna Park, Maryland
There are few things in life I love more than introducing a good – maybe even great – film to someone who’s never seen it before, someone whom I think will appreciate and tell others about it. In many ways, I have the best job in the world since I’m able to share two of my passions with people: reading and movies. I had the opportunity last night to screen Christian Petzold’s Phoenix (2014) to a group of 30 people. You never quite know until it’s over whether the audience will like a film, especially when you’re showing an international film with subtitles. Would they like Phoenix? Did they like it?
Selma (2014) Ava DuVernay
Severna Park Library (2:08)
The Severna Park Library was proud to celebrate Black History Month yesterday with a showing of Selma (2014). A few regulars from our monthly Great Movies series were in attendance, but many had never before attended a movie at our library. I explained that it is our practice to introduce each film, talking about why it is important and what it means to us today, then watch the film and afterward discuss it. I asked the group (12 people total) if they had ever seen Selma. No one had except me. I prepared them somewhat for what they were about to see, informing them that Selma is often hard to watch due to its scenes of racism, violence, and language. Some of it will be offensive, I told them. “It will make you uncomfortable, but we must watch it.”
We had a spectacular year at the Severna Park Library in 2016 with our series The Great Movies, which kicked off in January. My co-worker Julia and I believed this would be an enjoyable monthly event for our patrons, showing an important movie each month, and discussing it afterward. It certainly succeeded beyond our wildest dreams.
September was a bear. Not only was it your typical frantic/insane atmosphere around here, we also suffered an unexpected death in the family, so the number of films watched is far below normal. I also completed one TV series in September and made significant progress on two more. Although some of my entries are very abbreviated, here’s what I watched in September: