Friday, June 07, 2013

a festival of documentaries (save one)

I've loved the "if you liked this, you'll like this" feature on Netflix.  So, just for fun, here are a few movies that I hadn't heard of, watched on the recommendation of Netflix, and enjoyed enough to share with the world-or at least the minuscule portion of the world that will see this pots, anyway.

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Gifted Hands, the Ben Carson Story--Very inspiring, a man who believes in God and relies on him to become an unmatched neurosurgeon.  He uses classical music to help him perform intricate and dangerous surgeries, so how can I help but like him?  He rises from essentially nothing and becomes something amazing.  Cuba Gooding Jr. plays the title role.  I love this movie.

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The Conspirator--Stars James McAvoy (Professor X in X-Men First Class), Kevin Kline, Robin Wright.  Educational, a young attorney (who had been a captain for the North in the Civil War) is made to defend a woman accused of conspiring to assassinate President Lincoln.  Thought provoking with excellent acting (in my humble opinion).

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Mao's Last Dancer--I found this one inspiring and educational, a story about a young Chinese man who becomes a world-class dancer, the film provides a window into Communist China in the 1970s and 1980s, which I found interesting.  More importantly, there's a happy ending, and a whole lot of beautiful dancing.

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Happy-The Movie--This is another documentary that I found fascinating and for the most part, encouraging. It takes a look at different cultures, socioeconomic levels, and lives in general, and brings forth findings on what it is exactly that truly influences happiness. Spoiler--it's not money, it's relationships, service, self-improvement, finding a passion, etc. One of the findings that's been particularly helpful for me was that in studies they've determined that while there is a significant difference in the happiness level between people who make $5,000 and $50,000 annually, there is no significant difference between people who make $50,000 and $5,000,000 annually. In our current economic climate, I find myself getting more concerned about money than I used to, and so it is nice to realize that once the basic needs of food and shelter are met, it's absolutely true that money does not equal (or guarantee) happiness.

I'm hoping to do a bit more reading this summer, so perhaps I'll have a listing like this of books in a few months. We'll see though. I'm making no promises.

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