Have you ever wanted to show a movie to your class, but knew if you did, it would probably end your career as an educator? Well, I have composed that very list for myself. Before I get to the list I made some criteria. It would just be too easy to throw out five movies that kids can’t see, so I said it has to contain topics that can really be discussed in the the class and it has to have an element of technology involved. Ahh, now the list is a little trickier to make. So read on and then submit your own list in the comments.
Anytime somebody refers to “ultra-violence” as a hobby or past time in a movie, it should immediately be given the R rating and kids should be ushered away. Despite the extreme graphic nature of the movie, it definitely poses some important question that we are dealing with today. Rather than get into the plot too much (I’d screw it up) the main character gets rewired from his violent tendencies to more passive ones using technology. Should people be able to do this, even though it takes away a person’s free choice or natural tendencies? Scratching your head yet? It’s a great topic to bring up to a class, but watching the movie (while fantastic and shocking even today) may not be the best discussion starter.
Snakes on a Plane
Samuel L. Jackson (does his character even have a name) + snakes + a plane + gross amounts of profanity = YES!!!! This movie is just hilarious. I mean the premise is incredibly ridiculous and the plot . . . well let’s just say the Academy didn’t overlook this cinematic jewel here. It is fun to watch with your buddies laughing the whole way, so you might be asking . . . where is the IT connection? Well the idea came from some viral videos of people using cardboard cutouts of Samuel L. Jackson talking about snakes on a mother f*$%ing plane! This discussion tie in is how powerful the Internet is, take a look at Betty White if you don’t believe me.
This indie hit of 2009 is fantastic. It makes my top 10 no doubt. Sam Rockwell plays Sam Bell who is overseeing an automated mining operation on the moon and he is the only guy up there and his only companion is a computer (GERTY) voiced by Kevin Spacey. Enough description. It is not too appropriate for some mild nudity, mild profanity, but mostly for the intense scenes that are displayed. I don’t want to give too much away so I won’t say anything except you should really watch this movie. The IT connection? Again, I don’t want to give away anything, so I will just say that the corporation involved makes a morally questionable decision because certain technologies are at their disposal. So here is the discussion question: Just because we can do something with technology, does it mean we should?
JJ Abrams’s take on Godzilla, King Kong, Mothra (all those big monster movies) hit theaters to much acclaim in early 2008. Basically the movie is shot with a handheld video camera as a group of twenty somethings try to find a friend and get out of Manhattan before getting pulverized by this giant and seemingly unstoppable monster. It is a fun ride and the movie is just long enough to keep you on the edge of your seat and wondering what will happen next. Like Snakes on a Plane, it is purely for entertainment, but the discussion. Now that almost everyone has a camera/video camera on their phone, how has this changed the scope of how information is covered and shared.
F*$% YEAH! OK, here are a few of the many, many reasons this movie cannot be shown in class: profanity, politically incorrect, puppet pornography (that’s not a typo people), violence. Despite all that, few can deny its comedic brilliance as Trey Parker and Matt Stone take aim at everything and everyone and directly attack certain trends in the America psyche. They take on special interest groups, America’s foreign policy, the blind pursuit of any type of intelligence and most of all they take on MATT DAMON! There are a horde of topics that could be brought up here. The IT connection? This is a little lame, but I really wanted this movie on my list, technology clearly can be used to destroy but how can it be used to create? Lame, I know, but hey go see the movie. If you don’t get the Matt Damon remark, click on the YouTube video below.