Part One: Curriculum 101 – Eleven Good Ones
Recently, after seeing trailers for the post-modern re-boot of The Lone Ranger, I had to reflect on my personal experience with the 1930s radio origins of that classic American myth.
More than a few followers of LETs Blog responded, not all on this blog site (more on that later*), but all voiced strong opinions about the moral and intellectual sludge that passes for quality entertainment in this Age of Corruption. (If you think I’m just a grouchy old man, you’re only half right; I was also a grouchy young man.)
As I visited with these cultural compadres I recalled a list of movies I’d cobbled together a few years ago for my very young grandsons (who ignored it). They are older now, but the list has remained largely intact (and still ignored). A few titles have been removed, because they were redundant or didn’t age well. Others have been added or shifted about, because I’m smarter than I was.
These are not what I call “Bambi” movies. (No offence to baby deer lovers, but you get my meaning.) They represent the types of stories that informed my understanding of virtues which define a civilized person. These films feature no zombies, no vampires, no robots.
There is also no P.C. And no B.S.
Because reality is harsh for many youngsters in any era, the messages that resonate with them are not dry sermons or syrupy treacle. The images and ideas that stick in the mind are rooted in ages-old experience of risk, failure, loss, cruelty, and sometimes victory in spite of it all. But none of it comes without a price.
This article offers only a partial list for beginners. I call it Curriculum 101. It is for boys at least 12-14, depending upon their ability to sit still. For perspective and without reservation, though, be assured that each of these gems will deliver satisfaction for men and women of any age. As they have for me. And still do.
Now… Ready projection! Lights out please… And… ROLL ‘em!
LET’s Curriculum 101 (age12+)
1. The Shootist; (Manliness, pain, boy/man conflict. John Wayne)
2. Twelve O’Clock High (Valor in real wartime. Gregory Peck)
3. The Cowboys (Under stress, boys become men. John Wayne)
4. Chariots of Fire (Moral conviction, perseverance, Olympics.)
5. Rudy (boy’s perseverance, collegiate football.)
6. Red Badge of Courage (Cowardice, heroism, Civil War. Audie Murphy)
7. Black Beauty (Heroism – boy and valiant horse)
8. Jeremiah Johnson (Mountain men, 19th century. Robert Redford)
9. Field Of Dreams (Baseball fantasy, father/son. Kevin Costner)
10. Bad Day at Black Rock (Loner battles bad men. Spencer Tracy)
11. Wind and the Lion (Powerful adventure. East vs West. Sean Connery)
This is just a taste. Any suggestions? I’m open. *Speak up – talk to each other!
All the movies on this list are available on DVD, for purchase or for rent.