Movies That Explore Difficult Decisions
American History X
A brutal Neo Nazi skinhead named Derek Vinyard is tried and sent to prison for three years for the murder of two black guys who tried to steal his truck. When he returns from prison reformed, his younger brother Daniel Vinyard who idolizes him is on the brink of becoming a Neo Nazi himself. Derek must save his younger brother from a similar fate.
Antwone Fisher (facing your past/ decisions)
A sailor prone to violent outbursts is sent to a naval psychiatrist for help. Refusing at first to open up, the young man eventually breaks down and reveals a horrific childhood. Through the guidance of his doctor, he confronts his painful past and begins a quest to find the family he never knew.
Based off of real events of one of the worst NASA tragedy's. In 1971, NASA plans to send out people to the Moon for a lunar mission. They have chosen astronauts Jim Lovell, Frad Haise, and Jack Swigert. They have launched into outer space successfully, however, a slight fault from inside the space module caused an explosion that turned the exploration into a test for survival for the crew of Apollo 13. While Loveel, Haise, and Swigert try to survive in space. The workers at NASA (including Ken Mattingly) try to figure out a way to get the astronauts home safely. (good decision making, personal difficulty in decision making)
1984: In a northern England mining town, miners are on strike and the atmosphere is tense. Eleven-year old Billy Elliot, whose father and brother are participating in the strike, whose mother has died quite some time ago and whose grandmother is not completely aware of what's going on, doesn't like the brutal boxing lessons at school. Instead, he falls for the girls' ballet lessons. When his folks find out about this unusual love of his, Billy is in trouble. Being supported by the ballet teacher, Mrs. Wilkinson, he keeps on training secretly while the work situation as well as the problems at home get worse. Finally, Mrs. Wilkinson manages to get Billy an audition for the Royal Ballet School, but now he also has to open his heart to his family.
A story following Archer, a man tortured by his roots. With a strong survival instinct, he has made himself a key player in the business of conflict diamonds. Political unrest is rampant in Sierra Leone as people fight tooth for tooth. Upon meeting Solomon, and the beautiful Maddy, Archer's life changes forever as he is given a chance to make peace with the war around him. (ethnic decision making)
The Brave One (decisions/ justice/ consequences)
Radio host Erica Bain (Jodie Foster) is working and living a wonderful life in New York City without a care in the world. One night she and her fiancé, David (Naveen Andrews), are brutally attacked by three thugs in the park while being recorded by one of them. David is killed and Erica is beaten within an inch of her life. Erica is traumatized to a point where she can not sleep and will not leave her apartment. To cope and work past this tragic event, Erica becomes someone else. She buys a gun and begins to roam the streets at night looking to take her revenge on the men who were responsible for killing her one true love. One late night, Erica is in the back of a convenience store about to purchase a soft drink when a man comes in and kills his wife, who is a clerk in the store. Erica is a witness and he comes after her, she protects herself and finds that it is very easy to shoot a gun. Days later, Erica is on the subway when she is about to be raped by two men, and again she protects herself. The City of New York is fascinated with the exploits of this vigilante killer, and NYPD Detective Mercer (Terrence Howard) is trying to catch this person, before he kills again. Later on Erica gets a lead of where she can find the three men in the park and goes there to seek vengeance. She manages to kill all but the last one, being then saved by Detective Mercer whom she had already befriended and let her kill the last thug using the Mercer's gun so no one would link her to the killings.
The Bridges of Madison County
The path of Francesca Johnson's future seems destined when an unexpected fork in the road causes her to question everything she had come to expect from life. While her husband and children are away at the Iowa state fair in the summer of 1965, Robert Kincaid happens upon the Johnson farm and asks Francesca for directions to Rosamunde Bridge. He explains that he is on assignment from National Geographic magazine to photograph the bridges of Madison County. She agrees to show him to the bridges and thus begins the bittersweet and all-too-brief romance of her life. Through the pain of separation from her secret love and the stark isolation she feels as the details of her life consume her, she writes down the story of this four-day love affair in a 3-volume diary. The diary is found by her children among her possessions and alongside Robert Kincaid's possessions after Francesca is dead. The message they take from the diaries is one of hope that they will do what is necessary to find happiness in their lives -- whatever is necessary. After learning that Robert Kincaid's cremated remains were scattered off Rosamunde Bridge and that their mother requested a similar disposition for her own ashes, the children must decide whether to honor their mother's final wishes or bury her alongside their father as the family had planned. Adapted from the novel by Robert Waller, this is the story of love that happens just once in a lifetime -- if you're lucky. (decision making, dealing with family, sexual decisions)
The Bucket List (personal growth and decision making)
Corporate billionaire Edward Cole and working class mechanic Carter Chambers have nothing in common except for their terminal illnesses. While sharing a hospital room together, they decide to leave it and do all the things they have ever wanted to do before they die according to their bucket list. In the process, both of them heal each other, become unlikely friends, and ultimately find the joy in life.
A street-wise kid, Mark Sway, sees the suicide of Jerome Clifford, a prominent Louisiana lawyer, whose current client is Barry 'The Blade' Muldano, a Mafia hit-man. Before Jerome shoots himself, he tells Mark where the body of Senator Boyd Boyette is buried. Mark escapes, and Clifford shoots himself. Mark is found at the scene, and both the FBI and the Mafia quickly realize that Mark probably knows more than he says. Mark decides he needs a lawyer, and goes looking for one. He finds Reggie Love, who also becomes convinced that Mark knows more than he says, but Mark isn't talking...(good decision making, dealing with the law)
Cidade de Deus (City of God)
The City of God is the name of a city slum in Rio de Janeiro. The movie is so shocking in the amount of violence that takes place in these streets, that it is one place you must not go. The movie follows the lives of several kids who grow up in the slums during the 60's, 70's, and 80's. Some kids took the path of crime, violence and the drug trade, and others tried to escape the slum. The senseless violence in this movie was so brutal that even the cops wouldn't go into the slums without a squad of men. It looked like all the teenagers had a gun, and they would use it if anybody looked the wrong way. One of the kids, Buscape became a photographer for a newspaper, and this story was described and seen through his eyes.
City of Men
In this long-awaited follow-up to his Academy Award(R)-nominated film City of God (2003 Best Director Fernando Meirelles) producer Fernando Meirelles (The Constant Gardener) returns to the Brazilian favelas to tell an inspiring tale of friendship and family on the gritty streets of Rio de Janeiro. Growing up in a culture dictated by violence and run by street gangs, teenagers Acerola (Douglas Silva) and Laranjinha (Darlan Cunha) have become close as brothers. With their eighteenth birthdays fast approaching, Laranjinha sets out to find the father he never met while Acerola struggles to raise his own young son. But when they suddenly find themselves on opposite sides of a gang war, the lifelong friends are forced to confront a shocking secret from their shared past. (Good decision making, diversity, culture)
The Color of Friendship
Mahree Bok lives on a farm in South Africa. Her father is a policeman who cannot hide his joy when activist Steve Biko is caught by the South African authorities. Piper Dellums is the daughter of a US congressman from California and who lives in a nice home in Washington DC. When Mahree is chosen to spend a semester at the Dellums' house, she doesn't expect that her host family would be black. Nor do her hosts suspect that she is not a black South African. (Diversity, standing up for what’s right, good decision making)
The Color Purple (racism, sexuality)
The Color Purple follows the life of Celie Johnson as she struggles through life in the early 1900s. The film begins with Celie about 17 years old, giving birth to her second child, sired by her father. Her father takes the second child away from her and tells her never to tell anyone about it. Time passes and a local farmer, "Mister", comes by to marry Celie's younger, prettier sister, Nettie. Her father refuses to let Nettie marry and gives the man Celie instead. Mister neglects and abuses Celie until Nettie comes by asking to stay with them, because the father can't keep his hands off her. When Mister is unable to lure Nettie, he sends her away, leaving Celie more distraught than ever. Nettie promises to write unless death keeps her from it, but Celie never receives a letter. Meanwhile, Mister's lover, Shug Avery, comes to visit and befriends Celie, helping her to understand that she is more than Mister's servant. The movie culminates in Celie leaving Mister with the threat that everything he touches will fall apart until he does right by her. Mister finds compassion and goes to the INS to help Celie's sister Nettie prove that she is a US citizen and return from Africa where she has been living with Celie's two children who had been given to a missionary and his wife. Celie is reunited with Nettie and her two children in a heartfelt ending to an extraordinary film.
An autobiographical film taken from the experiences of writer-director Rob Moretti, CRUTCH is a coming-of-age tale about a young man's struggle with family problems and substance abuse. Behind a facade of suburban middle class perfection, David's home life is falling apart. As he tries to cope with the impossible situation, the troubled and impressionable teenager falls under the spell of Kenny, a georgous, thirty-something, has-been actor turned theatre coach. When Kenny's "support" escalates into seduction, David slowly decends into an abyss of drinking and drug addition from which he must escape if he is to survive. CRUTCH is a dramatic tale of the confusion of youth and the difficulties in finding oneself.
Dead Poets Society
Painfully shy Todd Anderson has been sent to the school where his popular older brother was valedictorian. His roommate, Neil, although exceedingly bright and popular, is very much under the thumb of his overbearing father. The two, along with their other friends, meet Professor Keating, their new English teacher, who tells them of the Dead Poets Society, and encourages them to go against the status quo. Each, in their own way, does this, and are changed for life. (personal difficult decision making)
In the 1960s, Frances "Baby" Houseman, a sweet daddy's girl, goes with her family to a resort in upstate New York's Catskill Mountains. Baby has grown up in privileged surroundings and all expect her to go on to college, join the Peace Corps and save the world before marrying a doctor, just like her father. Unexpectedly, Baby becomes infatuated with the camp's dance instructor, Johnny, a man whose background is vastly different from her own. Baby lies to her father to get money to pay for an illegal abortion for Johnny's dance partner (Johnny is not the father). She then fills in as Johnny's dance partner and it is as he is teaching her the dance routine that they fall in love. It all comes apart when Johnny's friend falls seriously ill after her abortion and Baby gets her father, who saves the girl's life. He then learns what Baby has been up to, who with and worse - that he funded the illegal abortion. He bans his daughter from any further association with "those people". In the first deliberately willful action of her life, Baby later sneaks out to see Johnny - ostensibly to apologize for her father's rudeness - and ends up consummating her relationship with Johnny. A jealous fellow vacationer sees Baby sneaking out of Johnny's bungalow the next morning and in an act of retribution, tells management that he is responsible for a theft the evening before, knowing he would not furnish his real whereabouts. In an act of bravery, Baby states that Johnny is innocent, and alibis him by confessing that they were together all night. This revelation causes a huge rift in the family and Baby makes an impassioned speech to her angry and bereft father. At the closing night performances, and although he has been fired and banned from attending, Johnny returns and takes the stage to tell everyone about the woman whose faith in him and whose courage changed his life. They do one final show-stopping dance together. Baby's father learns that Johnny was not responsible for his partner's pregnancy and learns to accept that although his beloved daughter is transitioning to womanhood, she will always love him. (sexual decision making, good decision making)
Dr. Joe Darrow's (Kevin Costner) wife Emily (Susanna Thompson) has died in a bus accident in South America, and he's slowly learning how to cope with her death...until dead and dying patients start to speak to him in his wife's voice. With each new message he becomes more convinced she's trying to contact him, to tell him something important. But what? Is he just insane? Is she speaking to him from beyond the grave? Or is she still alive? (good decision making, following your own heart)
Erin Brockovich is an unemployed single mother, desperate to find a job, but is having no luck. This losing streak even extends to a failed lawsuit against a doctor in a car accident she was in. With no alternative, she successfully browbeats her lawyer to give her a job in compensation for the loss. While no one takes her seriously, with her trashy clothes and earthy manners, that soon changes when she begins to investigate a suspicious real estate case involving the Pacific Gas & Electric Company. What she discovers is that the company is trying quietly to buy land that was contaminated by hexavalent chromium, a deadly toxic waste that the company is improperly and illegally dumping and, in turn, poisoning the residents in the area. As she digs deeper, Erin finds herself leading point in a series of events that would involve her law firm in one of the biggest class action lawsuits in American history against a multi-billion dollar corporation (good decision making, not giving up)
A tale which follows the comedic and eventful journeys of two fish, the fretful Marlin and his young son Nemo, who are separated from each other in the Great Barrier Reef when Nemo is unexpectedly taken from his home and thrust into a fish tank in a dentist's office overlooking Sydney Harbor. Buoyed by the companionship of a friendly but forgetful fish named Dory, the overly cautious Marlin embarks on a dangerous trek and finds himself the unlikely hero of an epic journey to rescue his son. Meanwhile, the young Nemo hatches a few daring plans of his own to return home safely.
Forrest, Forrest Gump is a simple man with little brain activity but good intentions. He struggles through childhood with his best and only friend Jenny. His 'mama' teaches him the ways of life and leaves him to choose his destiny. Forrest joins the army for service in Vietnam, finding new friends called Dan and Bubba, he wins medals, starts a table tennis craze, creates a famous shrimp fishing fleet, inspires people to jog, create the smiley, write bumper stickers and songs, donating to people and meeting the president several times. However this is all irrelevant to Forrest who can only think of his childhood sweetheart Jenny. Who has messed up her life. Although in the end all he wants to prove is that anyone can love anyone. (good decision making, disabilities, sexual decision making)
Four Brothers (decision making, consequences)
After their adoptive mother is murdered during a grocery store hold-up, the four Mercer brothers--hotheaded Bobby, hard-edged Angel, family man and businessman Jeremiah, and hard rocking Jack--reunite to take the matter of her death into their own hands. As they track down the killer, they quickly realize that their old ways of doing business have new consequences.
Hilary Swank stars in this gripping story of inner city kids raised on drive-by shootings and hard-core attitude - and the teacher who gives them the one thing they need most: a voice of there own. Dropped into the free-fire zone of a school torn by violence and racial tension, teacher Erin Gruwell battles an uncaring system in a fight to make the classroom matter in her students lives. Now, telling their own stories, and hearing the stories of others, a group of supposedly "unteachable" teens will discover the power of tolerence, reclaim their shattered lives, and change their world.
15 year girl runs away from home to live with her grandmother after mom is arrested for prostitution and step dad for molesting her. Along the way her car breaks down, and a respectable, decent looking guy picks her up. Turns out he's the freeway rapist the news keeps talking about and now he's set his eyes on her. However, she shoots him several times and flees. By some miracle, the freeway rapist survives, and the police charge the girl with attempted homicide. The papers have a field day, making her out to be a scumbag and the guy a victim turned hero. But it's not over yet...
This film is a biography of Mahatma Gandhi, the saint and Indian social reformer. Gandhi would neither countenance the subjugation of his people nor demean himself by hurting another human being. To reconcile these moral imperatives, he used nonviolent mass action (also called nonviolent civil disobedience) to force governments to change their policies and to achieve independence for India. Nonviolent mass action has been adopted by movements seeking social change or revolution in many parts of the world, including the Civil Rights Movement in the United States and revolutions in the Philippines and Russia.
Gandhi also campaigned for Hindu/Muslim brotherhood, against oppression of the untouchables, and for reform in the treatment of women. He is personally responsible for saving hundreds of thousands of lives in India through fasting which stopped communal rioting. His leadership and example have inspired people and many governments, in India and throughout the world, to a new and higher level of morality
Gilmore Girls (t.v. series)
Lorelai Gilmore, 32, has such a close relationship with her daughter Rory that they are often mistaken for sisters. Between Lorelai's relationship with her parents, Rory's new prep school, and both of their romantic entanglements, there's plenty of drama to go around. (good decision making, sexual decision making, diversity)
As the US Civil War protracts and drains even the vast resources of the north, an experiment is made with black troops, serving in a special regiment under an all-white officer corps. Since the traditional military establishment considers this a bad joke, the young abolitionist idealist Robert Gould Shaw from a very privileged family gets the rank of Colonel with the dubious honor to command the black volunteers, mainly illiterate former slaves. Even his personal friend and second in command, Major Cabot Forbes, lacks confidence in the project; yet they must overcome countless difficulties in training, procurement etcetera before the unit can even enter the War, but end up covering themselves and the Union army with glory -and a sea of blood- against the Confederates.
Good Will Hunting
A janitor at MIT, Will Hunting has a gift for maths that can take him light-years beyond his blue-collar roots, but to achieve his dream he must turn his back on the neighborhood and his best friend. To complicate matters, two strangers enter the equation: a washed-up shrink who starts to coach Will through his transformation, and a med student who shows him that there can be a pretty face along with his life of the mind. (good decision making)
The Green Mile
Paul Edgecomb is a slightly cynical veteran prison guard on Death row in the 1930's. His faith, and sanity, deteriorated by watching men live and die, Edgecomb is about to have a complete turn around in attitude. Enter John Coffey, He's eight feet tall. He has hands the size of waffle irons. He's been accused of the murder of two children... and he's afraid to sleep in a cell without a night-light. And Edgecomb, as well as the other prison guards - Brutus, a sympathetic guard, and Percy, a stuck up, perverse, and violent person, are in for a strange experience that involves intelligent mice, brutal executions, and the revelation about Coffey's innocence and his true identity. (good decision making)
The Gridiron Gang
In the Kilpatrick juvenile detention center, the supervisor and former football player Sean Porter sees the lack of discipline, self-esteem, union and perspective in the teenage interns and proposes to prepare a football team to play in one league. He is supported by his superiors and his successful experience changes the lives of many young kids.
Guess Who (racism/ interracial dating)
Percy and Marilyn are renewing their vows for their anniversary, and their daughter Theresa brings her boyfriend Simon for them to meet. Unbeknownst to her parents, the kids plan to announce their engagement during the weekend. The Jones family is Black; Theresa neglects to tell them Simon is White. Race complicates Percy's general mistrust of any boyfriend, so he instigates an investigation of Simon, discovering he's recently lost his job and hasn't told Theresa. Mistrust rears its ugly head, and in the process of Theresa and Simon's argument, Marilyn and Percy fall out. What can the men do to cross the divide between each other and between men and women? Will anyone be exchanging vows?
Tracy Turnblad, an overweight teenager with all the right moves, is obsessed with the Corny Collins Show. Every day after school, she and her best friend Penny run home to watch the show and drool over the hot Link Larkin, much to Tracy's mother Edna's dismay. After one of the stars of the show leaves, Corny Collins holds auditions to see who will be the next person on the Corny Collins show. With all of the help of her friend Seaweed, Tracy makes it on the show, angering the evil dance queen Amber Von Tussle and her mother Velma. Tracy then decides that it's not fair that the black kids can only dance on the Corny Collins Show once a month, and with the help of Seaweed, Link, Penny, Motormouth Maybelle, her father and Edna, she's going to integrate the show.....without denting her 'do! (diversity, decision making, standing up for what you believe in)
Harry Potter Movies (good decision making, diversity)
When Stanley Yelnats IV (LaBeouf) is wrongfully convicted of stealing, he is sent to 'Camp Green Lake'. At this camp, the Warden (Weaver), and her two henchman, Mr. Sir (Voight) and Dr. Pendanski (Nelson) command the campmates to dig holes after hole after hole. But for what reason? Stanley plans to find out. (good decision making)
A young man (Lerman) moves from Montana to Florida with his family, where he's compelled to engage in a fight to protect a population of endangered owls. (good decision making, doing what you need to do)
Ten years ago some of the worst atrocities in the history of mankind took place in the country of Rwanda--and in an era of high-speed communication and round the clock news, the events went almost unnoticed by the rest of the world. In only three months, one million people were brutally murdered. In the face of these unspeakable actions, inspired by his love for his family, an ordinary man summons extraordinary courage to save the lives of over a thousand helpless refugees, by granting them shelter in the hotel he manages. (racial issues, diversity, good decision making, personal difficult decisions)
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
Benjamin Barry is an advertising executive competing with two female co-workers for a major campaign for a diamond merchant. He cuts a deal with his competitors that the account is his if he can make a woman of their choice fall in love with him in 10 days. In comes Andie Anderson who, in turn, is writing a story on how to lose a guy in 10 days as a bet with her boss to be allowed to write more substantial stories. With a hidden agenda in each camp, will either party be able to complete their mission? (sexual decision making, decision making)
If These Walls Could Talk
A trilogy of stories set in the same house, but with different occupants and spanning over 40 years, deals with various women and moral crisis over unexpected pregnancies and their choice of abortion. In 1952, when abortion was illegal, a nurse deals with her unexpected pregnancy and takes drastic measures to get one. In 1974 a family housewife with four children discovers that she's pregnant and decides she can't handle another child to raise. In 1996, a pregnant college student decides on an abortion, but doesn't realize the means to go through to get one.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings-
A true story based on the early life of actress, professor and author Maya Angelou. The story traces her life from when she moves in with her mother to the trauma of being raped as a little girl by one of her mother's boyfriends and the several years of silence that came after the attack.
Aileen Wuornos, an aging prostitute, meets the young and beautiful Selby at a bar in Daytona Beach. Self-absorbed Selby likes Aileen almost immediately; she likes that 'Lee' wants to attend to her hand and foot and take care of her. At a roller rink, Aileen admits that she's a prostitute then displays her ability to ascertain men's abnormal sexual proclivities at a glance. They have a passionate encounter while skating and quickly become committed to one another, then move into a motel together.
The Insider (whistle-blowing in the tobacco industry)
This film tells the true story of Jeffrey Wigand, a former tobacco executive, who decided to appear on the CBS-TV News show "60 Minutes." As matter of conscience partially prodded by producer Lowell Bergman, he revealed that, the tobacco industry was not only aware that cigarettes are addictive & harmful, but deliberately worked on increasing that addictiveness. Unfortunately, both protagonists of this story learn the hard way that simply telling the truth is not enough as they struggle against both Big Tobacco's attempts to silence them and the CBS TV Network's own cowardly complict preference of putting money as a higher priority over the truth.
Faced with an unplanned pregnancy; an offbeat young woman makes an unusual decision regarding her unborn child. (sexual decision making)
After spending years in California, Amir returns to his homeland in Afghanistan to help his old friend Hassan, whose son is in trouble (ethnical decision making, diversity, good decision making)
Life as House
When a man is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he takes custody of his misanthropic teenage son, for whom quality time means getting high, engaging in small-time prostitution, and avoiding his father. (decision making, dealing with parents, sexual decision making, terminal illness)
The Life of David Gale
When anti-death-penalty activist David Gale is convicted and condemned to death for the murder of a colleague, reporter Bitsey Bloom sets out to learn the story behind Gale's crime. What she finds challenges her belief in Gale's guilt and, finally, in the justice system. (standing up for what’s right, decision making)
The Long Walk Home (racism, standing up for beliefs)
Dramatizes the events in 1955-1956 in Montgomery, Alabama, when blacks boycotted public transport becuase they were forced to sit at the back. Odessa works as a maid for the Thompsons, and as well as she is treated, she feels it is her duty to walk to work, even if it means she is exhaused, and gets to work late.
Until about the age of 7, Lorenzo Odone was a normal child. After then, strange things began to happen to him: he would have blackouts, memory lapses, and other strange mental phemonenons. He is eventually diagnosed as suffering from ALD: an extremely rare incurable degenerative brain disorder. Frustrated at the failings of doctors and medicine in this area, the Odones begin to educate themselves in the hope of discovering something which can halt the progress of the disease.
Losing Isaiah- (decisions/ sexuality)
An African-American baby, abandoned by his crack addicted mother is adopted by a white social worker and her husband. Several years later, the baby's mother finds out her son is not dead, as she thought before and goes to court to get him back.
Biography of Malcolm X, the famous African American leader. Born Malcolm Little, his father (a minister) was killed by the Ku Klux Klan. He became a gangster, and while in jail discovered the Nation of Islam writings of Elijah Muhammad. He preaches the teachings when let out of jail, but later on goes on a pilgrimage to the city of Mecca, there he converts to the original Islamic religion and becomes a Sunni Muslim. He changes his name to El-Hajj Malik Al-Shabazz and stops his anti-white teachings, as he realises the error of his mistakes. He is later on assasinated and dies a Muslim Martyr.
A Mighty Heart
On January 23, 2002, Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl is to fly from Karachi to Dubai with his pregnant wife, Mariane, also a reporter. On the day before, with great care, he has arranged an interview in a café with an Islamic fundamentalist cleric. When Danny doesn't return, Mariane initiates a search. Pakistani police, American embassy personnel, and the FBI examine witnesses, phone records, e-mails, and hard drives. Who has him? Where is he? There's also the why: because of U.S. abuse of prisoners at Guantanimo, because of a history of Journal cooperation with the CIA, because Pearl is a Jew? Through it all, Mariane is clearheaded, direct, and determined. (good decision making)
Million Dollar Baby
Frankie Dunn has trained and managed some incredible fighters during a lifetime spent in the ring. The most important lesson he teaches his boxers is the one that rules life: above all, always protect yourself. In the wake of a painful estrangement from his daughter, Frankie has been unwilling to let himself get close to anyone for a very long time. His only friend, Scrap, an ex-boxer who looks after Frankie's gym, knows that beneath his gruff exterior is a man who has been seeking, for the past 25 years, the forgiveness that somehow continues to elude him. Then Maggie Fitzgerald walks into his gym... (decision making, not giving up)
Mississippi Burning (racism)
Cultures clash as a pair of FBI agents invade a small town in Mississippi to investigate the recent disappearance of two white civil rights workers and their black companion. Agents Anderson and Ward work against each other more frequently than they work together as they battle to find the truth in an a hostile and increasingly volatile environment. Agent Ward is twenty years younger than Anderson, but has risen higher in the FBI hierarchy through an idealistic adherence to protocol. Agent Anderson joined the FBI late in life, after years of working as a small town sheriff in a rural Mississippi border town. Anderson and Ward seek to overcome the formidable challenge posed by a conspiracy of silence, hatred, and bigotry from diametrically opposed backgrounds and perspectives, but their respect for each other grows as they discover that neither has an exclusive hold on the truth. The evolution of understanding between the southern-bred, obstinate veteran agent and his northern-born partner are a microcosm of the nation's potential for hope in the face of brutal and unyielding efforts to resist.
Mona Lisa Smile
Katherine Ann Watson has accepted a position teaching art history at the prestigious Wellesley College. Watson is a very modern woman, particularly for the 1950s, and has a passion not only for art but for her students. For the most part, the students all seem to be biding their time, waiting to find the right man to marry. The students are all very bright and Watson feels they are not reaching their potential. Although a strong bond is formed between teacher and student, Watson's views are incompatible with the dominant culture of the college. (decision making, sexual decision making, women in a powerful position)
Always needing money Aileen works the highways. A john drives her into the woods and beats her unconscious, then brutally sodomizes her awake. Facing certain murder, Aileen breaks free and kills the man with her own gun. Empowered, she decides to quit prostitution. Any money is partied away as Aileen tries to find legitimate work. This is not an easy task; she has no qualifications or experience, and has a very bad temper, which she often displays during job interviews. Selby demands money just to eat, but also wants a home and vacations. Aileen inevitably returns to her trade, though the worm has turned. Now she stalks the johns and kills them for their money and cars as she tries to justify her blood lust as a victim of rapists and murderers. Selby's eventual realization of the truth drives a wedge between the lovers.
The lovers part and Aileen is arrested. She speaks to Selby one last time, while in prison. Selby reveals incriminating information over the telephone and she realizes Selby is with the police. To protect Selby, Aileen states she committed the murders alone. During Aileen's trial, Selby testifies against her, with Aileen's loving consent. Aileen Wuornos was convicted, sentenced to death and executed by the state of Florida.
Christian, a young wannabe Bohemian poet living in 1899 Paris, defies his father by joining the colorfully diverse clique inhabiting the dark, fantastical underworld of Paris' now legendary Moulin Rouge. In this seedy but glamorous haven of sex, drugs and newly-discovered electricity, the poet-innocent finds himself plunged into a passionate but ultimately tragic love affair with Satine, the club's highest paid star and the city's most famous courtesan. Their romance is played out against the infamous club - a meeting place of high life and low, where slumming aristocrats and the fashionably rich mingled with workers, artists, Bohemians, actresses and courtesans.
North Country (sexism)
A semi-fictionalized account of a long legal battle of group of women miners who endured a hostile work environment and numerous and continuous insults and unwanted touching when they became the first women to go work at the Eveleth Mines in Minnesota.
In 1950's mining town called Coalwood, Homer Hickam is a kid with only one future in sight, to work in the local coalmine like his father. However in October 1957, everything changes when the first artificial satellite, Sputnik goes into orbit. With that event, Homer becomes inspired to learn how to build rockets. With his friends and the local nerd, Homer sets to do just that by trial and a lot of error. Unfortunately, most of the town and especially Homer's father thinks that they are wasting their time. Only one teacher in the high school understands their efforts and lets them know that they could become contenders in the national science fair with college scholarships being the prize. Now the gang must learn to perfect their craft and overcome the many problems facing them as they shoot for the stars.
Based on the novel of the same name. The story of young men growing up facing hard times where they have little going for them. Two opposing groups, the Greasers and the Socs, continually fight against each other and their "turf". (good decisions)
Pay It Forward
Young Trevor McKinney, troubled by his mother's alcoholism and fears of his abusive but absent father, is caught up by an intriguing assignment from his new social studies teacher, Mr. Simonet. The assignment: think of something to change the world and put it into action. Trevor conjures the notion of paying a favor not back, but forward--repaying good deeds not with payback, but with new good deeds done to three new people. Trevor's efforts to make good on his idea bring a revolution not only in the lives of himself, his mother and his physically and emotionally scarred teacher, but in those of an ever-widening circle of people completely unknown to him.
Edward is a rich, ruthless businessman who specializes in taking over companies and then selling them off piece by piece. He travels to Los Angeles for a business trip and decides to hire a prostitute. They take a liking to each other and he offers her money if she'll stay with him for an entire week while he makes the "rich and famous" scene (since it doesn't do for a man of his stature to be alone at society parties and polo matches). Romantic comedy (and complications) ensue. (good decision making, sexual decision making)
Remember the Titans (racism, teamwork)
Suburban Virginia schools have been segregated for generations, in sight of the Washington Monument over the river in the nation's capital. One Black and one White high school are closed and the students sent to T.C. Williams High School under federal mandate to integrate. The year is seen through the eyes of the football team where the man hired to coach the Black school is made head coach over the highly successful white coach. Based on the actual events of 1971, the team becomes the unifying symbol for the community as the boys and the adults learn to depend on and trust each other.
Roots I- IV (Slavery/ Racism)
A saga of African-American life, based on Alex Haley's family history. Kunta Kinte is abducted from his African village, sold into slavery, and taken to America. He makes several escape attempts until he is finally caught and maimed. He marries Bell, his plantation's cook, and they have a daughter, Kizzy, who is eventually sold away from them. Kizzy has a son by her new master, and the boy grows up to become Chicken George, a legendary cock fighter who leads his family into freedom. Throughout the series, the family observes notable events in U.S. history, such as the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, slave uprisings, and emancipation.
Save the Last Dance
Sara wants to be a ballerina, but her dreams are cut short by the sudden death of her mother. She moves in with her father, who she has not seen for a long time. He lives on the other side of town, in a predominantly Black neighborhood. She gets transferred to a new school where she is one of the few White students there. She becomes friends with Chenille, and later, falls in love with Chenille's brother, Derek. (good decision making, sexual decision making, diversity)
13 year old Walter has had a hard life, with his no good floozy of a mother getting together with many equally despicable men. Before going on yet another husband-hunting trip, she drops him off at the house of his great-uncles Hub and Garth. They disappeared for quite a while in their youth, and are rumored to have acquired a great fortune, which Walter's mother hopes to get her hands on if he can ingratiate himself enough to the two cantankerous men. Though reluctant to put up with him at first, Hub and Garth grow to accept Walter, and even tell him fantastic stories of what they were up to while they went missing. When his mother returns, Walter must take charge of his own life, and decide what he's going to do with it. (decision making, dealing with family)
Seventh Heaven (t.v. series)
This weekly television series follows the Camden family as the minister father and stay-at-home mother deal with the drama of having seven children, ranging from toddlers to adults with families of their own. The friends, neighbors, and love interests of the various members of the family weigh heavily on the plot of the series, which seeks to address a real-life issue with each episode. (decision making, sexual decision making, disabilities, personal difficult decision making)
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
For the first time since their friendship began, the girls will be separated for a summer. Lena visits her grandparents in Greece and meets Kostos. Tibby remains at home, films a movie, and befriends a young girl named Bailey. Bridget goes to soccer camp in Mexico and falls in love with Eric, one of the coaches at the camp. Carmen visits her dad in South Carolina and finds out a shocking secret. (sexual decision making, good decision making)
Anna and Ben, the two children of Jackie and Luke, have to cope with the fact that their parents divorced and that there is a new woman in their father's life: Isabel, a successful photographer. She does her best to treat the kids in a way that makes them still feel at home when being with their dad, but also loves her work and does not plan to give it up. But Jackie, a full-time mother, regards Isabel's efforts as offensively insufficient. She can't understand that work can be important to her as well as the kids. The conflict between them is deepened by the sudden diagnose of cancer, which might may be deadly for Jackie. They all have to learn a little in order to grow together. (decision making, dealing with illness)
In Baltimore, the troublemaker and street dancer Tyler Gage lives with his foster parents in an Afro-American lower class neighborhood. His best friends are Mac Carter and his little brother Skinny Carter and they use to hang around together, going to parties and stealing cars. After being expelled of a party, the trio breaks in the Maryland School of Arts and commits vandalism, destroying the stage. Tyler is arrested and sentenced to 200 hours of community service in the school and Director Gordon assigns him to help the janitor cleaning the place. One afternoon, the ballet dancer Nora Clark sees Tyler dancing in the parking area and when her partner Andrew has a strain and Tyler offers to help her in the choreography, she accepts the offer; they rehearsal and become close to each other while Tyler becomes friend of the students Miles Darby and Lucy Avila. When Andrew returns, Tyler that is known for quitting everything he starts gives up dancing and leaves Nora alone. After an incident, Tyler has to decide to follow his dream or return to his life of rebel loser. (good decision making, personal difficulty decision making)
Thelma & Louise
Louise is working in a fast food restaurant as a waitress and has some problems with her friend Jimmy, who, as a musician, is always on the road. Thelma is married to Darryl who likes his wife to stay quiet in the kitchen so that he can watch football on TV. One day they decide to break out of their normal life and jump in the car and hit the road. Their journey, however, turns into a flight when Louise kills a man who threatens to rape Thelma. They decide to go to Mexico, but soon they are hunted by American police. (good decision making, sexual decision making)
In October, 1962, U-2 surveillance photos reveal that the Soviet Union is in the process of placing nuclear weapons in Cuba. These weapons have the capability of wiping out most of the Eastern and Southern United States in minutes if they become operational. President John F. Kennedy and his advisors must come up with a plan of action against the Soviets. Kennedy is determined to show that he is strong enough to stand up to the threat, and the Pentagon advises U.S. military strikes against Cuba--which could lead the way to another U.S. invasion of the island. However, Kennedy is reluctant to follow through, because a U.S. invasion could cause the Soviets to retaliate in Europe. A nuclear showdown appears to be almost inevitable. Can it be prevented? (decision making)
A Time to Kill (racism)
Adapted from the novel by John Grisham, A TIME TO KILL is the story of a black man's struggle for justice for himself and his family in America today. After Carl Lee's 10-year-old daughter, Tonya is brutally raped he recalls the case of "four white boys who raped a black girl over in Delta last year." He asks attorney Jake Brigance, "They got off, didn't they?" Jake nods his head. Determined to see that the two rapists get what's coming to them, Carl Lee takes the law into his own hands and guns them down in cold blood inside the courthouse on the day of their arraignments. Young Jake, struggling to keep his law practice afloat, suddenly finds himself defending Carl Lee against murder charges a not-so-popular position with some of the locals in Clanton, Mississippi. Ellen Roark, a stellar law student from Ole Miss, offers her services to Jake just for the opportunity to help with the case and eventually convinces him to take her on. In the meantime, the K.K.K. (at the prompting of a brother of one of the rapists) plants burning crosses on Jake's lawn, attempts to bomb his house, and takes a shot at him. To ensure their safety, Jake sends his wife and little daughter to Gulfport to stay with his in-laws. As tension in Canton reaches fever pitch and the N.A.A.C.P. and K.K.K. riot on the courthouse lawn, a different kind of tension rises between Jake and Ellen.
To Kill a Mockingbird (racism)
Through the eyes of "Scout," a feisty six-year-old tomboy, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD carries us on an odyssey through the fires of prejudice and injustice in 1932 Alabama. Presenting her tale first as a sweetly lulling reminiscence of events from her childhood, the narrator draws us near with stories of daring neighborhood exploits by she, her brother "Jem," and their friend "Dill." Peopled with a cast of eccentrics, Maycomb ("a tired and sleepy town") finds itself the venue of the trial of Tom Robinson, a young black man falsely accused of raping an ignorant white woman. Atticus Finch, Scout and Jem's widowed father and a deeply principled man, is appointed to defend Tom for whom a guilty verdict from an all-white jury is a foregone conclusion. Juxtaposed against the story of the trial is the children's hit and run relationship with Boo Radley, a shut-in who the children and Dill's Aunt Rachel suspect of insanity and who no one has seen in recent history. Cigar-box treasures, found in the knot hole of a tree near the ramshackle Radley house, temper the children's judgment of Boo. "You never know someone," Atticus tells Scout, "until you step inside their skin and walk around a little." But fear keeps them at a distance until one night, in streetlight and shadows, the children confront an evil born of ignorance and blind hatred and must somehow find their way home.
Walk Out (racism)
Walkout is the true story of a young Mexican American high school teacher, Sal Castro. He mentors a group of students in East Los Angeles, when the students decide to stage a peaceful walkout to protest the injustices of the public school system. Set against the background of the civil rights movement of 1968, it is a story of courage and the fight for justice and empowerment.
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape
What's Eating Gibert Grape is a beautifully shot movie of tenderness, caring and self-awareness that is set amongst the fictional working class one street town Endora. Centred around the Grape family Ellen and Amy and their two brothers Arnie and Gilbert, who, along with their morbidly obese widowed mother Bonnie Grape are striving to survive and coexist with the absence of a father figure, low wage work and seventeen-year-old Arnie's severe mental condition. It is in this awkward and extremely one sided affair that the unfortunate Gilbert has to constantly, while working for the town's slowly dying Convenience Store, take care of his younger brother Arnie. Gilbert's life, his future, is thwarted he know this, but it is in this Guardian Angel that his love and bond for Arnie cannot, and will not, be let go. That is until the free spirit of Becky arrives in town, and with her grandmother are stranded for the week while waiting for parts for their vehicle. This realization unties new feelings, new thoughts and new hope for the put upon Gilbert, something new is eating Gilbert Grape. (disabilities, good decision making)