Here is a partial list of great movies that I have found to be much better than most. All have inspired me in one way or another. I noticed there are some common themes to the movie recommendations. Many have strong female roles, sci-fi theme, involve strong emotions, funny, and intelligent. Some are quite old but still manage to be relevant for our modern world.

Mask (1985)  Based on a true story about a boy (Eric Stoltz) with a face deformity and his no-nonsense mother (Cher). A powerful portrait of love, contrasts, belief and determination.

Escape from New York (1981) Kurt Russel plays Snake Plissken, a past military man turned against society. Set in a future where Manhattan is a maximum security prison with 50 foot walls surrounding the prison (island). Great characters and creative story. Very entertaining action film. John Carpenter wrote, directed and composed the main music title.

Moonstruck (1987) An Italian family drama with lots of humor. Starring Cher and Nicolas Cage. I sing along (not very well) during the opening and closing credits. Most memorable with great cast and many funny lines.

The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976) A young Clint Eastwood after the American Civil War. A touching story with powerful performances. The greatest gem is Chief Dan George. He is superb on many levels and very very funny. The scenes with him would be worth your time even without the excellent story.

Point Break (1991) The leader of a surfer group named Bodhi (Patrick Swayze), is accused of robbing banks with his surfer buddies. A young FBI agent Keanu Reeves is assigned to get into the group and find out if they are the robbers. Friendship, loyalty, understanding life, and other powerful themes are woven throughout this excellent film. Do NOT see the remake. This original is the only one I recommend.

O’Brother Where Art Thou (2000) Homer is credited as a writer and the story takes much inspiration from his book, The Odyssey. This is a Coen brothers film starring George Clooney and John Turturro. Also great performances from Holly Hunter and John Goodman. Soundtrack is excellent. Strange for sure, but great fun to sing along with.

A Little Chaos (2014) Kate Winslet plays the powerful lead set in France when Versailles was being built. King Louis XIV is played by Alan Rickman who also directed this wonderful movie. It was one of his last and a beautiful gift. So many touching scenes. My favorite took place in the Kings garden when the king and Kate Winslet’s character meet for the first time.

The Adjustment Bureau (2011) A future where creatures (possibly angels) are partially directing our lives based on a plan. But sometimes even the Chairman’s (God) plan can change. Matt Damon and Emily Blunt keep it real and fast paced in this fun and interesting story. I appreciate the many great supporting roles with my favorite being Harry, the angel who lent his hat to Matt’s character. This is another great story from Philip K. Dick who also wrote the story used in the movies Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report and Next.

The Martian (2015) Powerful performance from Matt Damon who conveys extreme control of his actions and great emotional reactions to what happens. I felt I have been to mars with him.

Arrival (2016) For more than ten years I have mentioned to my students that sometimes I remember the future. Well, this is a movie about this exact theme. Honestly, I needed to see it three times to catch what was going on, but loved it from the first viewing. Amy Adams puts in an amazing performance with wonderful support from Jeremy Renner, and Forest Whitaker who has played in many special movies including Ghost Dog.

If you have not seen these movies, I give my strongest recommendation to give them a look. Have some fun, enjoy, and evolve. I mostly watch movies that inspire me. I like to see the characters develop, evolve and become something greater than when they started. To me, that is the greatest power of watching movies. I may do another movie list but these will keep you busy for awhile.