Your Help Needed! Which Movie Should I Show???

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.

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Vision Quest (1985) Harold Becker

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Vision Quest (1985)
Directed by Harold Becker
Produced by Joh Peters, Peter Guber
Screenplay by Darryl Ponicsan
Based on the novel Vision Quest by Terry Davis
Cinematography by Owen Roizman
Music by Tangerine Dream
Warner Bros. DVD (1:47)

I first saw Vision Quest shortly after it appeared on cable TV, probably in late 1985 or early 1986. The film resonated with me for several reasons, primarily because I believed I was on my own vision quest. It was my first year of teaching and I found my own drive mirrored in Louden Swain’s quest to defeat the toughest wrestler in the state. I wanted not only to be a great teacher, a great band director, but I wanted to be great early in my career, so great that people would think I’d been teaching somewhere else for years. In my mind, Vision Quest was nothing short of a call to action. How did that turn out for me? Keep reading.

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The Late Show (1977) Robert Benton

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The Late Show (1977) (2x)
Written and directed by Robert Benton
Produced by Robert Altman, Scott Bushnell
Cinematography by Charles Rosher Jr.
Warner DVD – library (1:33)

The Late Show is a film I first saw when I was 15 years old, far too young to adequately appreciate it. I hadn’t gained enough life experience, hadn’t seen enough film noir, and felt as if its stars Art Carney and Lily Tomlin were trapped in a movie where they didn’t belong. To this 15-year-old mind, Carney belonged on reruns of The Honeymooners; Tomlin belonged on TV variety shows performing skits as Edith Ann and Ernestine the telephone operator. Yet here they were on the big screen in a… what? A comedy? A crime picture? To make things even weirder, I saw The Late Show in one of the strangest places you can see a movie: the theater of a cruise ship on the way to the Virgin Islands. At the time, I thought little about the movie. Now 40 years later, I embrace it as a rare gem.

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