This movie tells the story of Helen Keller, born deaf and blind, and young Annie Sullivan who is brought in with the aim of reaching into Helen's dark and silent world. The parent's expectations are low- hoping only for some peace from the animal like child that rules their lives. What ensues is a gigantic battle of wills- and one of the world's best-known stories of triumph over adversity. Anne Bancroft won an Academy Award for best actress and Patty Duke (aged 16) won best supporting actress. This win made Patty the youngest performer ever to receive an Oscar- a title that she held until 10 year old Tatum O'Neal's win for Paper Moon in 1973 (another very good movie, but definitely not embarrassment free).
If you missed this first time around or just want to revisit it, sit down with the family, make a big bowl of popcorn and grab a pillow to scream into, because there are lots of scary moments. But scary in a heart-thumping, squeeze your eyes shut and peek kind of way. The first in the franchise of three, this is my favorite, although the others are good as well. Director Steven Spielberg is in top form here, all the actors turn in good performances and you will not believe how real the dinosaurs look. The scene with the children trying to hide from the raptors in the kitchen is terrific. This was based on the book by Michael Crichton, considered one of the foremost writers of speculative/technological fiction. Crichton, who has just passed away at the time of this post, is well represented in several formats at CPL--print, audio and dvds. Look for him under author search for a full listing of titles.
This movie was a big hit when first released, spawning two sequels and a short lived animated tv series. It tells the story of a young street boy and the orca whale that he encounters while vandalizing a marina. As part of his rehabilitation the boy is sent to work at the marina and a friendship soon develops between the misfit boy and the displaced whale. When things take a turn for the worse for Willy, the boy decides to try and set him free. A very heart warming story-you'll be rooting for Willy and Jesse all the way.
The King and I1956
This wonderful musical features Yul Brynner as the king of Siam and Deborah Kerr as Anna, the governess imported from England to tutor the kings many children. Obviously there are culture clashes- some tender- some severe enough to cause real problems. With a wonderful score from Rodgers and Hammerstein, this old classic still stands the test of time. Now, I know that musicals are not for everyone, but I defy you to not come out with at least one of the songs stuck in your head. This was remade in 1999 with Jody Foster and Chow Yun-Fat, and although quite lavish, I prefer the musical.
Home Alone 1990
This perennial Christmas favorite from 1990 is still a good bet. Eight year old Kevin is accidentally left behind during his family's mad rush to start their holiday abroad. Alone in the house with only his wits, he must cope with his fears and also try to outsmart two bungling but determined burglars. His clever use of available resources brings to mind a young MacGyver.