Weekly Video Picks
The Quiet Man (1952)
After making good in A m e r i c a , immigrants often return to the old country to retire. If born into peasant or working - class stock, they're now able to live as gentry in a style which they only dreamed of as youths.
The Oscar-winning The Quiet Man is an intelligent, funny dramatization of the unexpected consequences of living out this fantasy.
Sean Thornton (John Wayne) is a wealthy American who returns to the Irish county where he was born and purchases his rundown childhood home.
This alienates Red Dannaher (Victor McLaglen), the region's richest and meanest citizen, who thinks the property should have been sold to him.
When Thornton falls for his strong-willed, tempestuous sister, Mary Kate (Maureen O'Hara), and marries her, Red vows to make their lives miserable. Director John Ford (Stagecoach), of Irish roots himself, shows how strange the local customs now appear to the native-born Thornton. His years in America have turned him into an outsider.
The Kid (2000)
How would we as a grownup look to the child we used to be? Have we been true to our childhood dreams? Or, have we compromised our earliest sense of self? Russ Duritz (Bruce Willis) is an abrasive, self-absorbed Los Angeles image consultant who makes big bucks and is proud of it. Inexplicably, his pudgy, awkward 8-year-old self, Rusty (Spencer Breslin), materializes on his doorstep and asks to be taken care of. The kid immediately labels his older self “a loser” because he has no friends and doesn't even own a dog. This forces the successful Russ to takes a hard look at his present-day life and values.
The Kid is a well-crafted fantasy film with an old-fashioned message: Money can't buy happiness. The movie doesn't probe too deeply and it's occasionally emotionally manipulative. But there are plenty of laughs and tugs on the heart strings.
The Sacrifice (1986)
There have never been many committed Christian filmmakers. Writer-director Andrei Tarkovsky came to his faith under Soviet rule during the Cold War, and his career predictably suffered. His final masterpiece, The Sacrifice, was made in exile. One of the Vatican's top 45 films, its central character is a Swedish journalist (Erland Josephson) who learns that nuclear war is about to begin. Although not a religious man, he promises God he will give up everything he cherishes if only the world will be spared. The crisis becomes his call to a spiritual awakening.
Tarkovsky tries to show how and where the numinous invisible reality of God intersects with the ordinary physical world in which we live. To him, this interaction of the seen and unseen has the logic of a dream. The filmmaker believes that “the true affirmation of self is sacrifice.” We are encouraged to be like Alexander and enter into a dialogue with God about the meaning of his creation.
— John Prizer
- January 21-27, 2001