Winter Movie List


Everything in life has a foil, a balancing agent, a companion– even summer reading. So, we present to you, the 2013 Winter Movie List, a thoughtfully compiled list of films which we recommend you peruse through during the next two weeks of winter holidays. There are two lists, one for grades 8-10 and one for grades 11/12. Just in case you were wondering, completion of the Winter Watching List is not mandatory and you will not have to write any in-class essays or create visual presentations to reflect on your viewing experience. Some of these movies are in theaters but others can be obtained through Netflix, your local DVD store or pay-per-view. Enjoy!

-Steven Hao

Gr. 8,9,10

Catch Me if You Can (2002), PG-13
A biographical film that documents the escapades of a brilliant young con artist named Frank Abagnale Jr, who runs away from home, forges checks and successfully pretends to be an airline pilot, a surgeon and a lawyer. Gripping and fun from the beginning to the end—the story is so spellbinding that you won’t believe it’s actually real, but it is. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Amy Adams and Christopher Walken.

AI: Artificial Intelligence (2001), PG
A futuristic take on the concept behind Pinocchio, this movie is about an android child that is created to love a human mother and follows said child when he is abandoned and seeks a way to become human. Sounds sappy but it isn’t. Starring Haley Joel Osment, Jude Law and William Hurt.

Saving Mr. Banks (2013), PG-13 (IN THEATRES NOW)
In the first portrayal of Walt Disney in a major motion picture, this film examines the meetings between author P.L. Travers and Disney as the latter tried to obtain the movie rights to Mary Poppins. A fantastic film with charm, wit and some dark moments as well. Starring Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks and Colin Farrell.

A Beautiful Mind (2001), PG-13
A biographical film about John Forbes Nash, a Nobel prize-winning economist who was also schizophrenic. The movie centers on his illness, through which he becomes increasingly unsure of what in his life is real and what is but an illusion. If I say anymore, I’ll spoil the movie. Trust me, it’s good. Starring Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly and Ed Harris.

Minority Report (2002), PG-13
A science fiction action/thriller film set in a future where three special humans can predict murders and crimes. The protagonist, John Anderton, works in an experimental future police force called PreCrime which utilizes predictions of the future to prevent crime. Things are complicated, however, when John’s own crime is prophesied. Minority Report investigates some pretty compelling questions regarding free will and predetermination. If we can predict the future, can we also change it? Starring Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell, Samantha Morton and Max von Sydow.

Gr. 11,12

Taxi Driver (1976), R
A vigilante drama about moonlighting taxi driver Travis Bickle, who becomes increasingly disillusioned and psychotic about his hometown, New York City. Travis violently attempts to make perceived wrongs right. This is not a movie for the faint-hearted and is loaded with violence, but it is also one of the greatest films of all time. The atmosphere, the music, the acting and the escalation to the famous final scene are all done superbly. Starring Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster and Harvey Keitel.

Training Day (2001), R
A crime film about a morally questionable cop and his new trainee, all taking place within one day. The plot of the movie is not tremendously cutting edge but the individual performances are absolutely terrific and the action is blood-boiling without being brainless and formulaic. Warning: Denzel Washington uses some seriously explicit language for extended periods of time. Starring Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke.

Her (2013), R
This movie has not been released yet but what we already have seen of the movie (trailers, awards hype, advance critic reviews) points to an amazing viewing experience. Her is about a lonely man who falls in love with a Siri-like artificially intelligent operating system. Starring Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson. Releases on January 10, 2014.

The Usual Suspects (1995), R
A crime film about a heist gone wrong told through an interrogation process. The man being interrogated is the sole surviving perpetrator, a handicapped beta-male criminal called “Verbal”, who recounts the events leading up to the present day. His stories draw back to a shady and seemingly omnipotent kingpin named Keyser Soze. Starring Kevin Spacey and Gabriel Byrne.

American Beauty (1999), R
A film about a middle-aged man who has lost all vitality and enthusiasm for life only to be reinvigorated in every way after becoming infatuated with his daughter’s best friend. American Beauty takes an extremely compelling look at the truths of American suburbia and what happiness and beauty are. Highly intellectual movie with metaphorical content, archetypes and symbolism to rival classic literature but Kevin Spacey’s performance keeps it engaging for all. Starring Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Mena Suvari, Wes Bentley and Chris Cooper.

Indie Films to Watch (courtesy of Kevin Tian): Upstream Color, The Great Beauty, The Act of Killing, Stories We Tell, Blue is the Warmest Color