Inspiring Movies & TV Shows

movie_theaterHeart-Opening, Uplifting, Inspiring, ENERGIZING

Movies have a way of helping us effortlessly connect with LIFE, providing a wonderful source of sustenance and inspiration that calls forth what’s loveliest in us and in the world.

Best of all, when we find ourselves temporarily stuck in a dark, constricted place, movies can shift our consciousness and remind us of who we — and others — really are.

In 2016, for the first time, I added TV shows to this list.  It seems to me a very good sign that there’s so much demand for wonderful, uplifting visual entertainment that it’s changing the quality of what’s produced for television.

It’s extraordinary to me, that there are now television shows — of all things! — that can help us develop earned secure attachment, helping our nervous systems to learn what it feels like to belong, to be wanted, to have room to be human with each other, to lose connection with another and then to make real repair.  These TV shows don’t go as far as they could, but they are definitely in the ball park.

Come partake of these abundant, joyful sources of heart-opening inspiration and soulful nourishment.

Enjoy!

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Truly extraordinary; in a class by themselves (TV shows are indicated by “TV” following the episode years):

  • As It Is In Heaven (2004, Academy Award Nominee, Best Foreign Language Film)  A wildly successful international conductor suffers a heart attack and takes an indefinite leave from his prestigious post, inexplicably returning alone to his childhood village in the far north of Sweden, where he had been bullied as a child. It doesn’t take long before he’s asked to come and listen to the fragment of a church choir: ‘Just come along and give a little bit of good advice.’ He can’t say no, and from that moment, nothing in the village is ever the same again.   Vika says:  One of the most moving, uplifting, authentic movies you’ll ever see about being human … in community.”
  • Lars and the Real Girl (2007, comedy/drama, Academy Award nominee Ryan Gosling) A quirky, multiple-award-winning film about the power of acceptance. Simply amazing.
  • Avatar (2009, adventure/fantasy, nominated for Best Picture and winner of 88 awards and 121 nominations; the highest grossing film of all time, worldwide, by half a billion dollars) This extraordinary film reaches into the heart of our Being and reminds us on a deep level of the birthright of our connection with the Web of Life, and lets us experience what it’s like to be part of a culture that lives at One with Life Itself.  The big twist: our mainstream American culture is the bad guys. And we can easily see and feel why.
  • Bella (2006, WINNER, Toronto International Film Festival, People’s Choice Award)  “One moment can change your life forever.” Inspired by a true story, an extraordinary movie about a different kind of love. (Eduardo Verastegui, the star, was a model, singer, and actor who turned his back on “the high life” to co-found Metanoia, a film production company dedicated to making films that could make a difference in the world. Bella is their first release.)
  • Parenthood  (2010-2015 TV, Golden Globe winner plus 13 other wins and 36 nominations)  This is real life with real humans, facing real problems … making room for each other’s humanity, losing connection, getting upset, recognizing each others’ and their own “craziness” (aka broken toes and flipped lids), and making repair.  It’s not as authentic or as deep as what we do in our Thriving Life community, but it’s all there to some degree.  Glory hallelujah.

 

Wonderful:

  • About a Boy (2002, comedy, Hugh Grant, Toni Collette)  One of the American Film Institute’s 10 best movies of 2002. Will discovers that, while every man may be an island, we’re also all connected in a way that turns out to be wonderful. (A perfect holiday movie!)
  • Arranged “Friendship has no religion.”  (2007) WINNER, multiple Film Festival Audience Awards
  • Big Eden (2000) Winner of more than 10 audience choice festival awards, this heart-filling movie set in rural Montana is full of lovely surprises, all of which embody the kind of warm, caring acceptance that we all long for.
  • Groundhog Day (1993, comedy, Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell)  Listed on the National Film Registry for being “culturally, historically,or aesthetically significant.”  #34 on the American Film Institute‘s list of 100 Funniest Movies. The Writers Guild of America ranked the screenplay #27 on their list of 101 Greatest Screenplays ever written.  National Review magazine says: “will almost undoubtedly join It’s a Wonderful Life in the pantheon of America’s most uplifting, morally serious, enjoyable, and timeless movies.”
  • The Intouchables (French for “Untouchables”) (2011) This extraordinary French film based on the true
    experiences of two real men can’t be described, it must be seen. The basic plot: Philippe is a very wealthy, white, middle-aged quadriplegic man looking for a new personal care assistant.  Driss is a poor, African-American, young, vibrantly healthy man from the projects, applying for the job solely so he can qualify for his public benefits. What happens next changes both of their lives, and it will touch yours if you see it.
  • Once (2006) This award-winning film (including an Oscar) will move and surprise you. Come for the music, stay for the story.
  • Meet Joe Black (Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins, 1998) A profound movie about integrity: about being ourselves, about being Seen and loved for who we really are, and about doing the right thing even when we know it could cost us dearly
  • Stepmom (Julia Roberts, Susan Sarandon, Ed Harris, 1998)  A mom and dad with a little boy and a young girl get divorced. Threeyears later Dad moves in with girlfriend “half his age;” Mom turns out to have terminal cancer. The girlfriend never wanted children. Find out what happens when her little boy says, “Mommy, if you want me to hate her, I will.”
  • In Her Shoes (comedy, Cameron Diaz, Toni Collete, Shirley Maclaine, 2005)  Every family has a story: we love each other, we hurt each other, and if we’re lucky, eventually we come to understand and appreciate and enjoy each other … and even ourselves. Don’t miss this one.
  • Last Holiday (comedy, Queen Latifah, 2006)
  • Emmanuel’s Gift (narrated by Oprah, 2005)
  • Coach Carter (Samuel L. Jackson, 2005)
  • Radio (Cuba Gooding, Jr., Ed Harris, 2003)
  • Just Like Heaven (romantic comedy, Reese Witherspoon, Mark Ruffalo, 2005)
  • Being There (comedy, Peter Sellers & Shirley Maclaine, 1979)

 

Spiritual Cinema:

  • What the BLEEP Do We Know!? (2004) and What the Bleep: Down the Rabbit Hole (2006)  Tom complete movies exploring the question, “What Is Reality?”  Interviews with scientists and authors, animated bits, and a storyline involving a deaf photographer are used in this docudrama to illustrate the link between quantum mechanics, neurobiology, human consciousness, and day-to-day reality.  Click here to watch the famous “Double Slit Experiment” segment that explains the quantum physics that proves our consciousness affects reality.
  • The Peaceful Warrior (2006)  Based on the best-selling novel, “The Way of the Peaceful Warrior.” Dan Millman has it all: good grades, girls galore, friends and teammates who look up to him, and a shot at his greatest dream — Olympic gold. And yet, his sense that something is missing haunts him. During one of his sleepless nights walking through his home town, he meets a petrol pump attender.  Dan dubs him “Socrates,” who says, “I call myself a Peaceful Warrior… because the battles we fight are on the inside.”  When Dan crashes his motorcycle and shatters his leg bone, his doctor tells him if he works hard, he’ll be able to walk again. Socrates says, “Everything has a purpose. Even this. It’s your job to find out what it is.”  Like Rocky for the soul.
  • I Am (documentary, 2012)  After a life-threatening bicycle accident Tom Shadyac (director of Ace Ventura, The Nutty Professor, Patch Adams and other hit films), interviewed Desmond Tutu, Noam Chomsky, Lynne McTaggart, Howard Zinn, Thom Hartmann, and other scientists, religious leaders, environmentalists and philosophers. He asked two central questions:What’s Wrong With the World? and What Can We Do About it?,  exploring Shadyac’s personal journey, “the nature of humanity,” the “world’s ever-growing addiction to materialism,” and “human connectedness, happiness, and the human spirit.” The film received a twenty minute standing ovation at its premiere screening.
  • The Secret (2006)   I recommend the version with Esther Hicks in it, if you can find it.

 

And, we have a new and delicious trend occurring in movies: mainstream movies with
WONDERFUL MEN in them:

  • Something New (romantic comedy, 2006)
  • No Reservations (romantic comedy, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Aaron Eckhart, 2007)
  • P.S. I Love You (Hillary Swank, Gerard Butler, 2007)
  • Dear Frankie (Gerard Butler, 2004)

 

Wonderful entertainment – some with depth, some just pure fun:

  • A Fish Called Wanda (comedy, John Cleese, Michael Palin, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Klein, 1988) One of the funniest movies ever made, #21 on the American Film Institute‘s list of 100 Funniest Movies.
  • Something’s Gotta Give (Diane Keaton, Jack Nicholson, 2003)
  • The Trouble With Harry (comedy, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring John Forsythe & Shirley
    Maclaine, 1955)
  • Bandits (Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, Cate Blanchett, 2001)  Incredible, clever fun!
  • Soapdish (Robert Downey, Jr., Sally Field, 1991)  Vika says: “Hilarious every time I watch it…”

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