Looking for a movie recommendation? Buhl Librarian Kim reviews some of her favorite films below. These reviews first appeared in our faculty/staff monthly newsletters. We hope you find the perfect one for your next movie night!
42: The Jackie Robinson Story
When we think about fall, so many things come to mind … the changing of the leaves, harvest time, and, for many, baseball. That’s right, playoffs are about to start and the World Series will be here before we know it. So for all of you fans out there, I have a movie that knocks it right out of the park – 42: The Jackie Robinson Story. Taking viewers on an incredible journey back in time to 1947, this sports biopic transports us to Jackie Robinson’s rookie season with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Gripping from start to finish, this film showcases Jackie’s courage and character as he faced overwhelming racism both on the field and off; ultimately changing hearts and the face of baseball forever. Grab the popcorn (or peanuts and crackerjacks) and enjoy! -- Kim
GENRE: BIOGRAPHICAL FILMS; SPORTS FILMS
It’s February, which means love is in the air (and maybe a few snowflakes)! So, if you’re
planning to stay in and catch a movie with that special someone, why not check out a great film with a dash of romance. With that in mind, I’m recommending a black-and-white, comedy classic, Born Yesterday. One
of the few films starring Judy Holliday, she dazzles the screen as Billie, an ex-showgirl visiting Washington, D.C. with her corrupt businessman boyfriend, Harry. Wishing that Billie was more refined, Harry hires a journalist to educate her. Little does Harry know, Billie’s about to teach him a thing or two. Laugh-out-loud funny from start to finish, you’re sure to love this film; grab the popcorn and enjoy! - Kim
GENRE: ROMANTIC COMEDY
Christmas in Connecticut
Colder temperatures have moved in and finals are approaching, which can only mean one thing: Christmas is coming! So for December’s featured movie I’ve decided to highlight a classic that you won’t see on tv this holiday season (except on TCM): Christmas in Connecticut. Set in the 1940s, this screwball comedy stars Barbara Stanwyck and Dennis Morgan. Elizabeth Lane (Stanwyck) writes a popular column about her family, farm, and cooking for a magazine – but in truth, Elizabeth is a single, apartment-dweller and she can’t cook a thing. When asked by her boss to entertain a soldier at her farm for Christmas, Elizabeth has to think fast. After all, she needs a husband, baby, and farm in a couple of days (not to mention – someone to cook.). Funny from start to finish, with a dash of romance, Christmas in Connecticut is a holiday treat; grab the popcorn and enjoy! - Kim
GENRE: ROMANTIC COMEDY; CHRISTMAS FILMS
November is National Adoption Month, so I wanted to find a great film to share with you that highlights the impact adoption can have on a person or family. Searching our catalog, there are many great choices, such as Annie,The Blind Side, and Philomena. Despite all of thewonderful films out there, one stands out from the rest – Despicable Me. This family-friendly animated film stars Gru, a super villain intent on causing mayhem. But when he adopts 3 little girls to help him on his latest quest, little does he know how his life is going to change. Laugh-out-loud funny from start to finish, it’s a great choice for family night; grab the popcorn and enjoy! - Kim
GENRE: ANIMATED FILMS; CHILDREN'S FILMS
Divided We Fall
During the month of April, many countries take time to remember the Holocaust and its victims. I thought that this year, it might be a good opportunity for us to do the same. So for this column, I’d like to recommend the film Divided We Fall. Set in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia, this foreign language film tells the story of a husband and wife who decide to hide a Jewish neighbor in their apartment. Living in constant danger of their occupant being discovered, while trying to do what they believe to be right, the couple are put to the ultimate test. They must decide what they are willing to do – and how much they can sacrifice – to save themselves. Will they stand united? A truly thought-provoking film, I think you’ll find this story well worth your time (and the subtitles!). - Kim
GENRE: WAR FILMS
The Great Debaters
Graduation is nearly here – another year down and many of the students we have grown to know over the past few years are leaving the College for bigger and better things. This month is also a time to celebrate
teachers for their dedication throughout the year (if you didn’t know, May 9th is National Teacher’s Day!). So, when trying to choose a film to highlight this month, I decided to pick one that tells an important story about a college professor and his students. My choice: The Great Debaters. Starring and directed by Denzel Washington, The Great Debaters tells the story of the Wiley College debate team in 1935. An African American institution in the middle of then-segregated Texas, the team from Wiley College, sets off on a course to debate some of the best teams in the country, including Harvard. Inspired by a true story, the experiences of this team, in and out of the classroom, provide a powerful glimpse into the history of education and America. So if you are looking for something to do on a rainy night, grab the popcorn and sit back; this film is one you won’t soon forget! - Kim
GENRE: HISTORICAL FILMS
The Imitation Game
It is nearly time to break out the caps and gowns once again. So, as we prepare to send another class of graduates out into the world, I thought it would be a great time to recommend a film with a powerful message for viewers: “Sometimes it is the people that no one imagines anything of who do the thing that no one can imagine.” The Imitation Game is an incredible biopic centering on the work of Alan Turing and his mathematician peers at Bletchley Park during WWII. Hired to do one thing, “break an unbreakable Nazi code and win the war,” they race against the clock each day to crack the Enigma machine before the codes change again at midnight. Prior to the war, Turing theorized a machine that could be programmed and reprogrammed to complete any task – what we know today as computer hardware and software. Watch as one of these early computers is brought to life and learn about the long-time secret role computer science and statistics played in the Allies’ victory. Grab the popcorn and enjoy! - Kim
GENRE: HISTORICAL FILMS; BIOGRAPHICAL FILMS
Julia Child America's Favorite Chef
It’s April and that can only mean one thing – it’s time for the Edible Book Fest! This annual event celebrates literature, art, and creativity, using food as its medium. In light of this upcoming event, I’d like to recommend one of the many documentary films available at Buhl: Julia Child! America’s Favorite Chef. Most of us love to eat (of course!), but Julia Child is the reason many Americans fell in love with cooking. This hour-long film will take you on a journey through the life of Julia Child, from her early days to her death in 2004. Allow yourself to be whisked away to France for Julia’s time at Le Cordon Bleu and savor the experience of seeing Julia in clips of her most well-known television show, The French Chef. A delight, this film pairs nicely with a quiet evening in; grab the popcorn and enjoy (or as Julia would say, Bon Appétit)! - Kim
GENRE: DOCUMENTARY FILMS
The King's Speech
I should start by saying that I absolutely love movies, so it is very, very difficult for me to choose just one to talk about. But, some of my all-time favorite films are based on true stories, so I’ve decided to highlight The King’s Speech. A must-see, this historical picture draws us into the story of an unlikely friendship that changed the life of a monarch, a nation, and the world. Both tragic and heartwarming, The King’s Speech is absolutely fantastic; grab the popcorn and enjoy! - Kim
GENRE: HISTORICAL FILMS; BIOGRAPHICAL FILMS
As I checked out the titles that make up the top100 for The Great American Read, I was amazed by the number that have been turned into films. From film classics such as Gone with the Wind, Rebecca, and To Kill a
Mockingbird to contemporary favorites like Harry Potter (series), The Help, and The Book Thief, this list offers films for all tastes. In fact, I had a difficult time choosing just one to recommend – that is, until I watched The Martian. The film opens with a team of astronauts partway through their mission to study the surface of Mars. But when a violent storm occurs, the team must pull up stakes to return safely to Earth. In the process of leaving, one astronaut, Mark Watney, is separated from the team and presumed dead. With the next mission to Mars arriving in four years, Mark must figure out how to make the 1-year supply of food he has last, try to contact the NASA team at home, and stay sane with nothing but disco music to listen to! A wonderful mixture of humor and on the edge-of-your-seat suspense, this film is a must-see; grab the popcorn and enjoy! -- Kim
GENRE: FILM ADAPTATIONS; SCIENCE FICTION FILMS
Miracle on 34th Street & Joyeux Noel
Christmas is coming – the most wonderful time of the year. And, for me, there is no better way to get into the Christmas spirit than to enjoy some great holiday movies. If you’d like to check out a true Christmas classic this season, you can’t go wrong with Miracle on 34th Street. The film will captivate you with its humor, romance, and the magic of Christmas as seen through the eyes of a child. At the same time, this tale reminds us as adults of the importance of believing in what we cannot see. But, if you’re into history and would prefer a film that depicts the message of peace on earth and goodwill toward men, then Joyeux Noel may be the perfect holiday film for you. Set in No Man’s Land on the French battlefield during WWI, we are able to see how the soldiers from France, Scotland, and Germany laid down their arms on Christmas Eve in 1914 to celebrate the birth of Christ with the men they had been fighting just 1 day before. Both films are powerfully moving; so,whatever your choice, grab the popcorn and enjoy!- Kim
GENRE: CHRISTMAS FILMS; FAMILY FILMS; WAR FILMS
In honor of Women’s History Month, I’d like to recommend an amazing biopic about the life of Queen Victoria: Mrs. Brown. Many films, as well as the PBS drama Victoria, depict the early years of the queen’s reign and the happy marriage she shared with Prince Albert (said to be one of the happiest royal marriages of all time). Mrs. Brown, however, shows us a different side of this long-time monarch. Three years after the death of Prince Albert, the queen is still deep in mourning over the loss of her husband and has retreated from public life. To bring her back to her duties and her people, a servant of Balmoral Castle, John Brown, is summoned. Brown, who was well-respected by Albert, makes it his duty to see the queen return to life and to see her protected. A moving story of an unorthodox friendship that unsettled a nation, this film is a definite must-see. Grab the popcorn and enjoy! - Kim
GENRE: BIOGRAPHICAL FILMS
Fall is in the air and school is in full swing. So what better time to tell you about October Sky – the true story of how a group of high school students from Coalwood, West Virginia set out to do something that seemed impossible in the 1950s -- build rockets. Based on the acclaimed memoir by Homer Hickam, this feel-good movie will have you cheering on the Rocket Boys as they work to perfect their design, and leave you captivated as their final rocket soars through the air. Grab the popcorn and enjoy! - Kim
Are you a fan of foreign language films? If not, the library can help you become one! With access to over 100 great films in a number of different languages, we have titles for every movie lover. With so many films available, which one would I recommend? That’s easy: Police Story starring Jackie Chan.“Considered to be one of the greatest martial arts movies ever made,” this film is perfect for anyone wanting to watch an action-packed film this month. Laugh-out-loud funny from start to finish, Police Story will be one of your new favorite films – grab the popcorn and enjoy!- Kim
GENRE: FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILMS
February – the month when snowflakes and romance are in the air. So, if you’d like to get away from the cold and snow this winter, why not stay in and have a Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. This classic film is the story of a princess nearing the end of a goodwill tour across Europe. When she arrives in Rome, her staff are ready to begin the next round of engagements and public appearances. But the princess has another idea – to see the city as other tourists do. Sneaking out of the embassy late one evening, the princess crosses paths with Joe Bradley, a local reporter. Determined to give the princess a holiday she’ll never forget (and get himself a once-in-a-lifetime story in the process), Bradley and his photographer take her on an exciting tour of the city. Filmed entirely in Rome, this 1953 comedy delights with just a dash of romance. Grab the popcorn (and maybe some hot cocoa) and enjoy! – Kim
GENRE: ROMANTIC COMEDY
The students are back on campus, classes have resumed, and we are left to wonder (once again) how summer has gone by so fast. But, rather than focus on the warm days that are behind us, we can think ahead to the journey before us this year.That is exactly what I have tried to do in choosing a film to tell you about this month. My final choice is not one depicting exceptional teachers (though we have several good ones I highly recommend); instead, I have decided to highlight a fun, lighthearted journey film to start us all off on a high note this semester: Shrek. Perhaps not a traditional start-of school choice, Shrek remains one of my favorite animated tales of adventure. When our story begins, an ogre, Shrek, learns that his swamp has become a sanctuary to other displaced fairy tale creatures. Anxious to rid his home of these unwelcome invaders, our unlikely hero and his companion, Donkey, set out on a journey to rescue the Princess Fiona for the underhanded Lord Farquaad. This gripping tale, complete with a phenomenal soundtrack and laugh-out-loud dialogue, make Shrek a delight for kids of many ages (rated PG). Grab the popcorn and enjoy! -- Kim
GENRE: ANIMATED FILMS
Shorter days and crisp temperatures are coming our way. So, if you’re planning to spend a cozy night in this month, why not check out a great film? The library has hundreds to choose from, but this month I’d like to highlight a wonderfully inspiring film, Soul Surfer, which is based on the life of Bethany Hamilton. For those of you unfamiliar with Bethany’s story, it was just another day – Bethany, a young and upcoming surfer, headed to the beach to catch some waves. Little did she know it was a day that would change her life forever. After experiencing a devastating injury, Bethany is left asking why this happened and how it fits into God’s plan for her life. Relying on her faith and her family to find her way forward, Bethany’s story reminds us that “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13) – grab the popcorn and enjoy! -- Kim
GENRE: BIOGRAPHICAL FILMS; SPORTS FILMS
Did you have a best friend growing up? A friend you couldn’t imagine life without? This is the case for Joey and Albert in the film War Horse; Albert is a teenage boy in 1914 England and Joey is his horse. From the very beginning, Albert and his father know that there is something special about the thoroughbred, but when faced with losing the family farm, Joey is sold to the army to be an officer’s steed in battle. As events of the war unfold, Joey’s fate changes hands numerous times; serving as mount and work horse for soldiers on either side of the war and, for a time, becoming the cherished companion of a young girl. It is through these changes of circumstance that Joey encounters and touches the lives of everyone he meets. Set in the countryside and battlefields of Europe during WWI, War Horse is ultimately a tale of friendship. Heart-wrenching at times,but in the best way, Joey shows us that even when there are things that divide us, there is so much more that unites us. Grab the popcorn (and maybe a couple of tissues) and enjoy! - Kim
GENRE: WAR FILMS
Darkest Hour & Dunkirk
It’s November – a month where we
honor the veterans that have served throughout our nation’s history (Veterans day) and recognize the service of their families here at home (Military Family Month). In the spirit of these remembrances, I’d like to recommend two WWII historical films that recently joined our collection: Darkest Hour and Dunkirk.
In Darkest Hour, we are transported to May 1940 as Winston Churchill rises to the office of Prime Minister. Faced with numerous challenges during his first weeks, including the pressure to negotiate peace with Germany, the film depicts the enormity of the burden Churchill took on to lead his country through wartime. Though he was not the first choice of leader for many members of Parliament, or the King of England for that matter, Churchill turned out to be the man England needed to endure their darkest hours during WWII with courage and conviction. The second film, Dunkirk, portrays a significant event that occurred during Churchill’s first month in office. Troops numbering 400,000 had been trapped across the English Channel on the beaches at Dunkirk with the enemy closing in quickly. To save the lives of as many men as possible, military pilots fought in the air, while civilians and their small boats staged a rescue at sea. These powerful films depict the bravery of everyone who served, both in and out of uniform. Grab the popcorn, enjoy, and say thanks to those who have and continue to protect our freedoms. – Kim
It’s December – so snowflakes and finals are both in the
forecast for the next few weeks. If you’re stuck inside this month and need a break from grading, why not get into the holiday spirit with a Christmas movie. Buhl Library offers holiday classics, such as It’s a Wonderful Life, as well as family favorites,including the Santa Clause and A Charlie Brown Christmas.But if you’re looking for a suggestion, I recommend the contemporary classic Elf. In probably his best role to date, Will Farrell plays Buddy; a human who wandered into Santa’s bag as a baby and stayed on at the North Pole as the adopted son of Papa Elf. Upon learning that he isn’t really an elf, Buddy sets out for New York City in
search of his family. Sit back and enjoy as Buddy’s adventure unfolds before your
eyes. Laugh-out-loud funny from start to finish, Buddy reminds children and adults
alike of the joy that Christmas and family bring to all of us. Grab the popcorn (and
hot cocoa) and enjoy! -- Kim
Beauty and the Beast
It’s cold outside and the snow is finally
falling. For me, and I suspect for many of you, this is the perfect
time of year to stay home and watch a great movie. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I thought I’d recommend one
that you can sit down and enjoy with all the valentines in your life
(even the kids!): Beauty and the Beast.
Staying true to the animated classic, this 2017 film tells the story
of a prince who only saw beauty on the surface.
Cursed to spend his life as a beast until he can learn to love and be loved in return,
an endless winter sets in upon his enchanted castle. But just when the Beast is
about to lose all hope, a lost traveler appears on his doorstep and sets in motion a
chain of events that has the power to change the fate of the Beast and a young
woman named Belle forever. Featuring an all-star cast and an amazing soundtrack,
this tale as old as time reminds us all that true beauty lies within. Grab some
popcorn (and maybe some hot cocoa) and enjoy! -- Kim
Everyone in America knows the name John Glenn
and his role in the Space Race. But far fewer know the names of those
who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make the dream of putting
an American into orbit a reality. My film selection this month, Hidden
Figures, helps to shed light on these unsung heroes, centering on three
African American women who were instrumental to the Mercury project
(1961-63) and highlighting their struggles for equality in male-dominated
careers in segregated Virginia.
Originally hired as “computers,” i.e. mathematicians who calculated and double-checked the
numbers of the engineers at NASA, Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary
Jackson became so much more as they paved the way for future women in STEM. Watch as
these women break down barriers of gender and color to achieve what so many women
before them had been denied. Truly inspiring, this film is a must-see. Grab the popcorn and
enjoy! -- Kim
(Note: If you would like to learn even more about the lives of these extraordinary women, we
also have the book Hidden Figures, a #1 New York Times bestseller by Margot Lee
The Big Short
April is Financial Literacy Month. While this is
probably an unusual event to celebrate by watching a film, I do
have an excellent one to recommend for the occasion: The Big
Short. In 2008, the world watched as the worst financial crisis since
1929 plunged countries around the globe into recession. While
many never saw it coming, The Big Short tells the story of those
Starting in March of 2005, Dr. Michael Burry noticed that the
mortgage market – considered to be the bedrock of the American economy – was
changing. As an investor, he found a way to turn this information into an opportunity for
his investors and others soon followed his lead. Using celebrities and easy-to-follow
analogies, this film explains how this crisis happened and the nuances of finance in
terms that everyone can understand, regardless of their investment knowledge.
Featuring an all-star cast, this Oscar-winning film is truly a must-see; grab the popcorn
and enjoy! -- Kim
Remember the Titans
Welcome back! The fall semester is here, bringing with it new faces and a lot of activity around campus. But when I think of the new school year, one of the first things that comes to mind is not the classes, but rather football. So, I thought I’d start things off this year by highlighting a truly amazing football drama, Remember the Titans.
Inspired by real events, this biopic transports viewers back to 1971 Virginia when two segregated schools are forced to merge their student bodies, as well as their sports teams. Racial tensions rise among the parents, coaches, and students, but new head football coach Herman Boone (portrayed by Denzel Washington) is determined that his players will work as a team, regardless of race. But achieving this goal has even more far-reaching effects for the school and community than even he realized. More than just a film about football, Remember the Titans reminds viewers of value of teamwork and the importance of learning to “trust the soul of a man, rather than the look of him.” Grab the popcorn and enjoy! -- Kim
GENRE: BIOGRAPHICAL FILMS; SPORTS FILMS
It’s October, which means that it is also National Book Month – and what better way to celebrate than to check out a great book (see Megan’s recommendation) or watch an incredible film centered around writing. So, this month, I’d like to recommend Finding Forrester.
The film centers on a 16-year-old boy from the Bronx named Jamal. Known as a stand-out athlete on the basketball court, Jamal hides the fact that he is a gifted writer. But when fate puts Jamal in the path of a reclusive neighbor, William, Jamal finds a great teacher, as well as an unexpected friendship. A powerfully moving story, with a good dose of humor mixed in, Finding Forrester is a must-see. Grab the popcorn (and maybe some cider) and enjoy! -- Kim
GENRE: TEACHERS IN FILMS
Movies for Music Lovers
I absolutely love movies, so you would think it would be easy to find one to recommend. But some months I struggle more than others, and this was probably my worst creativity block yet! And then Megan gave me a great idea: think about what I am grateful for when it comes to movies and it hit me… Music.
For me, a great film can make or break based on the music – even one with poor acting or a so-so story can be improved with an excellent soundtrack. With November being National Music Month, I thought it was a great time to highlight films from our collection that are top-notch musicals, revolve around the teaching of music, or feature amazing soundtracks. There are far too many to name, but here are six that might inspire you to come check out our DVD collection this month.
MUSICALS: A classic, The Sound of Music, is probably one all of you have seen at one time or another, but I’d also like to recommend Singin’ in the Rain. An excellent score, stellar cast, and the comedy of Donald O’Conner make this one a must-see.
MUSIC TEACHERS: Both Mr. Holland’s Opus and Music of the Heart are incredible dramas reminding us of the important role teachers and music play in our lives. Heartwarming and humorous, I highly recommend both of these films.
SOUNDTRACKS: Just about everyone has seen Forrest Gump, and though I don’t watch it often (it always makes me cry), the soundtrack alone is worth any tears you shed from the story. But my second pick for its soundtrack is probably lesser known: A Knight’s Tale. Adapted from Chaucer’s tale, this film has it all, humor, action, romance, and a soundtrack featuring Queen, AC/DC, Bowie, and Clapton.
I realize six films is a lot of recommend, but the weather is turning colder and soon each of us will be spending more time indoors. When that happens, I hope you’ll drop in, pop the popcorn, and enjoy one of these films. – Kim
GENRES: TEACHERS IN FILMS, MUSICAL FILMS
Christmas movies! I know you can’t see me right now, but picture me shouting those words like Will Ferrell exclaims “Santa! I know him!”; that’s how much I love Christmas movies. My delight with holiday films started when I was a kid and likely stems from the fact that it’s a tradition in my family to watch Christmas movies each year while you trim the tree. Back then, I looked forward to the cartoon classics (like Frosty the Snowman) and the ones starring the Muppets, but it never failed that my mother would insist on putting White Christmas into the VCR, much to my chagrin. As I’ve gotten older though, this holiday classic has turned into a favorite of mine too, so it is my pick of the month to share with you.
For anyone who has yet to see this holiday musical treat, White Christmas is the story of Bob Wallace and Phil Davis, a song-dance duo travelling the country when they meet two sisters of an old army buddy with their own musical show. The gentlemen are set to travel to New York for Christmas, but when they find out the ladies are on their way to a perform at a Vermont hotel for the holidays, their plans abruptly change with hilarious and heart-warming consequences. Starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera Ellen, this film has it all, music, dance, romance, and the laugh-out-loud humor of Danny Kaye. Grab the popcorn (maybe string a little for the tree while you’re at it) and enjoy! -- Kim
GENRES: CHRISTMAS FILMS; MUSICAL FILMS
It Happened One Night
For all of you fellow movie lovers, Happy Oscars Month! The Academy Awards for the top films of 2019 will be given out on February, 9th, but if you’d like to celebrate this month by checking out a past Academy Award winning film, you can view our collection using the link below.
If, however, you were hoping for a recommendation of a romantic comedy to watch with your special someone this Valentine’s Day, don’t despair. This month I chose a film that is the best of both worlds! Originally released in 1934, It Happened One Night starring Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable is a romcom treasure AND the first film to win the top five Academy Awards: Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Picture, and Best Screenplay.
A true classic, this film tells the story of Ellie Andrews and Peter Warne. Recently married to a man her father doesn’t approve of, Ellie decides to run away from her father and boards a bus. But Ellie’s attempt to return to her husband doesn’t go as planned and she must turn to another passenger, Peter, for help. As they continue their journey together, Ellie must decide if this adventure is leading her back to her new husband, or to someone else entirely. Humorous and romantic, this film is a true gem; grab the popcorn (maybe some chocolate too) and enjoy! – Kim