Obsession

Vertigo

One of the strangest and most hypnotic motion pictures ever made, Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo combines elements of mystery, romance and something wrapped in supernatural fear.   A man named Scottie (James Stewart) has fallen in love with a woman who does not exist and as the narrative concludes, he cries out harshly against the real woman who has impersonated her.

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Gold

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

One of the most captivating and engrossing stories to ever reach the local multiplex, John Huston’s epic tale of gold, guns and greed plays out on a spellbinding canvas populated by ordinary people trying to accomplish extraordinary things.  It is a rustic sort of western throwback from a time before shopping malls and fine print.  In fact, the only thing that enables us to distinguish the good from the bad is the quality of the motivation exhibited by each of the principal players.  What is especially interesting is that this motivation changes as we follow the arc of the story to its ultimate conclusion.
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Desire

The Bling Ring

Probably one of the wickedest satires ever to reach the silver screen, Sofia Coppola’s delectably entertaining The Bling Ring captures an era in pop culture that many remember, but few actually long for.  The narrative centers around a group of teenagers at Indian Hills High School.  The opening credits identify The Bling Ring as “based on actual events,” instead of using the more common phrase “based on a true story”.   This might seem like a minor distinction, but it’s an important one, because story implies a certain structure and viewpoint.  Coppola’s approach to the subject is largely impartial and, depending on the viewer, this can seem refreshing or off-putting.
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Family

Terms of Endearment

Perhaps you remember the wonderful Larry McMurtry novel.   Perhaps you saw the incredible and incredibly heartbreaking motion picture, which won a slew of Academy Awards.   Directed by James L. Brooks, and starring Shirley MacLaine, Jack Nicholson and Debra Winger, this is one of those rare moments in the popular arts where we find a solid example of what it means to be part of a family.  What it means when loss steps in to wrench us away from the ones we love.

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