Joshua Graves
Exploring the Collision of Culture & Faith
Waking Up to Death: Hollywood Edition (Movie List)
February 5, 2014

One of my Lipscomb graduate students wrote this in an introduction to St. John of the Cross. Too beautiful to keep to myself. I share with this student’s permission: “A man never knows how long he shall live, whether his days be few or numerous, for even our next breath is not promised unto us. Man, also does not have the luxury of deciding the fate of his birth nor the pathway of his youth, but I have determined that life is not measured by the quantity of years nor by the extravagance of wealth he may acquire or the height of elevated status he may achieve within the social realm of which he is apart. Rather, a man’s life should be measured by the quality and depth to which he seeks to better know his Creator, regardless of pathway he may travel.”¬†

Here’s my favorite movies list…movies ¬†that “messed me up” or “opened me to God and humanity” or “won’t ever leave me” . . . and they all have a relationship with this blog series on death. In no particular order save Cold Mountain (probably my all time favorite movie). Stories are the means by which we make sense of our lives. Here we go, it takes a story to make a story (Flannery O’Connor). I never realized this until today … almost all of my favorite movies has the explicit meaning of death at the core of its story. Wow.
Cold Mountain. The most humanizing of all the Civil Wars stories ever told.
Places in the Heart. The Gospel set in small town Texas. The Eucharistic life of forgiveness.
The Shawshank Redemption. Liberation beyond circumstance.
Losing Isaiah. The strongest bond in the world is that of a mother and child.
Philomena. The Sermon on the Mount really works when people surrender to it.
Big Fish. The power of story in the imaginations of generations.
Raging Bull. You were born to do this one thing.
Life is Beautiful. No seriously, life really is beautiful. No matter how ugly, there’s beauty.
Slumdog Millionaire. A piece of art more than a film. A story for the ages.
The Mission. The paradox of the church who brings the Jesus Story to the world.
A River Runs Through It. Everything belongs. Everything is a sign post back to God.
Inception. Stunning. Still thinking about it.
Les Miserables. Yes, I can hear the people sing. And, it’s beautiful.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. So odd and strange, so powerful.
Melancholia. The most important movie I’ve seen in 5 years (very edgy, Old Testament edgy).
Man on Fire. Man crush alert.
Glory. I told you.
Malcolm X. Still don’t believe me? Denzel is amazing in these 3 films.
Tender Mercies. Sleeper pick. Oldie but goodie.
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One Comment

That quote has made my day better. Like read three times and enjoy letting it percolate in my head better.
The Mission is also one of my favorite movies. I would put “Romero” right there with it – another moving film with death at its center, or how the worst that evil can do (death) cannot limit or stop the power of God acting in faithful disciples.
Good stuff.

by Adam (Feb 7 2014, 1:09 pm)
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