Friday, June 5, 2009

Hollywood Homeschooling

I've begun something I'm dubbing "Hollywood Homeschooling." The idea involves influencing my 10 year old son's weekend movie viewing choices (he only watches TV on weekends, and prefers to read during the week). And don't think I'm encouraging couch potato habits- he does have sports activities.

We don't have expanded cable, which seems to have swallowed up most of the movies I saw as a kid. However, Netflix offers many of them for rent. I've been picking one movie a week, and so far he has been very receptive.

Movies watched so far:

The Great Escape (1963)
The Guns Of Navarone (1961)

Movies in queue:

The Bridge On The River Kwai (1957)
Where Eagles Dare (1968)
The Dirty Dozen (1967)
Zulu (1964
The Blue Max (1966) BTW, can anybody recommend a good DVD educational series on WW I?

You can tell I have a little theme going, and I'm reaching back into my memory, recalling what I watched in TV reruns when I was that old.

Which movies do you remember watching as a kid?


  1. I remember watching ET, Conan the Barbarian, James Bond, Indiana Jones, Star Wars and Star Treks. That gets me to thinking: they made better sequels in the past than they do today.

  2. I read every book by Alistair McClain in the week I discovered them back in 1966. The one about WWII convoys to Murmansk is my favorite. HMS Ulysses. I think they made Ice Station Zebra into a movie. His idea of a hero is the same as mine. Wiki says they are not moved by ideals; they are calm, cynical, resilient and relentless. I'd die happily described like that.

    Now I like Bernard Conway and Patrick O'Brien. There is also a writer named Bill Granger who has a character named Devereaux- the November Man, who is straight out of McClain. I like the books set in Alaska; my brother is a brown bear guide there. Henry McGee is not dead is the best one.

    My heroes spend little time answering questions from the obligatory sideline twat about how they feel, or starring in documentaries about their fatherless childhood.

    A question I have been pondering recently is why there are no more American heroes. Clooney was sort of a hero/anti-hero in a couple of war movies, but not very successfully. Nick Cage? hahahaha, Is he what passes for an American hero these days? Hasn't been one since Clint, has there? B Willis was good too. I wouldn't be surprised if his character was named for A. McClain. Many Eastwood films are great. I'm partial to Josey Wales. Good Bad Ugly wonderful too

    What about how the West was won?

    They can't even find a real hero in the UK. Jason Stratham? Nice try.

    They gotta go to Oz- Craig, Crowe, etc. The only western society seemingly free of metro spicuals.

    I was born 300 years too late.

  3. Theodore Roosevelt noted this loss of manliness in 1899 when he wrote, “Unless we keep the barbarian virtues, gaining the civilized ones will be of little avail.”

    From Instapundit today. I agree

  4. Dude, the only way to Hollywood home school is to study at the feet of the masters.
    John Ford, Howard Hawks, and of course the Duke.

    French and Indian wars and pre revolutionary America:

    Drums Along the Mohawk (John Ford director Henry Fonda, Claudette Cobert)
    Northwest Passage (Directed by King Vidor from the Kenneth Roberts novel starring Spencer Tracy)
    Plymouth Adventure (Spencer Tracey)

    The Revolution
    The Patriot (Mel Gibson)
    Daniel Boone TV Series
    Johnny Tremain (Sebastian Cabot of all people, Mr French, well the French helped in the Revoultion)

    Pre Civil War
    The Fighting Kentuckian ( John Wayne)
    The Big Trail (John Wayne in his first film)
    The Alamo (John Wayne, Richard Windmark, Lawrence Harvey)

    Civil War
    The Killer Angels (TV production but have him read the book)
    The Horse Soldiers (John Wayne)
    Glory (The poor sap who married Sarah Jessica Horseface)

    Post Civil War West
    Fort Apache (Ford, Wayne)
    Rio Grande (Ford, Wayne)
    She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (Ford, Wayne)
    Broken Arrow (Jeff Chandler, Jimmy Stewart)
    The Searchers (Wayne, Ford)
    Cheynne Autumn (Ford, Richard Windmark)
    My Darling Clementine (Ford, Fonda)
    The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (Ford, Wayne, Stewart)
    Sgt Rutledge (Ford, Woody Strode, Jeffrey Hunter)

    World War One
    Paths of Glory (Kirk Douglas)
    The Figthing 69th (Jimmy Cagney)

    Wait a minute, I think I went overboard. I have a lot more suggestions but this can be a start.

  5. @Jason- Many of those have been seen already, except for Bond and Conan (I've never seen Conan myself). My Dad was a big Bond fan and took us to Diamonds Are Forever when it came out. I'm saving those for when he hits puberty because he'll get more of it. :)

  6. @dr. kill: muchas gracias for reminding me that books can be a good if not better way to accomplish the same thing. And I'm lucky to have an avid reader on my hands.
    You've zeroed in on exactly the kind of heroes and stories I'm trying to provide access to for him: calm, cynical, resilient and relentless. I like that.
    And thanks for the TR quote. My grandfather's middle name was Roosevelt and he and wasn't named after FDR. :)

  7. Wow Troop! That's exactly what I was looking for in the classics. Even sorted by period for me. You're too much, really. I will get each and every one of those and let you know they fit the program.
    Thanks again!

  8. People say I know movies.

    Troop still manages to awe me, pretty regularly.

  9. I forgot to list Penn State football as a place to still find heroes.

    Check the 87 Fiesta Bowl against the Hurricanes. It is available on DVD.

  10. @dr kill: Also, the 1980 Winter Olympic hockey team!

  11. Wow! I missed this thread. Great stuff, you guys.

  12. My mother took me to see Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in the theatre when I was 8. Explains a lot to a young lad...

  13. I strongly recommend Zulu to anyone, although good luck getting kids--or my wife!--to sit through it. An awesome feat of moviemaking.

  14. Simon: thanks for stopping by. I rewatched Zulu this weekend, and except for the soundtrack, it holds up really well. The last 45 minutes are just spellbinding.
    It's also fun to see Michael Caine in his first role. And I also noticed how much James Booth looks like Ray Davies of the Kinks: link

  15. CD Universe prolly still carries the CBS series "World War I" - it was narrated by Robert Ryan. I prefer the video tape version - it's Morton Gould's soundtrack that I love! - and hearing Ryan mangle some of the German names is annoying, but it's a great documentary series about World War I.

    I recommend it!

  16. Thanks benning!

    Netflix didn't have it so I ordered a used copy from Amazon.

  17. Have you seen "The Lost Battalion" or Joyeux Noel? The classic is Lawrence of Arabia, but that's from a different front.

  18. Anon: "The Lost Battalion" and "Joyeux Noel" both sound watch-worthy. My son didn't take to WW I like I did, so I may have to watch those alone :(

    But "Lawrence of Arabia" is definitely going into the curriculum.


  19. For WW1 and a look at turn of the century rural America, Sergeant York is a great movie.