Top Tens

  • Animations

    Top Ten Animations

    Below, for your kind consideration, our Top Ten Uplifting / Spiritual Animations of All Time.

    1. The Secret of the Kells – This film couples breathtaking animation, historic accuracy, and a youthful hero's story: the Vikings are coming!
    2. Toy Story – Toys and their relationship with children and each other. Takes us to infinity, and beyond!
    3. Finding Nemo – a "just keep swimming" tale of perseverance, good inspiration for all ages.
    4. The Pagemaster – a library fantasy hero story must-watch for adults and kids alike.
    5. Yellow Submarine – The Beatles to the Rescue against Blue Meanies!
    6. Underdog – This animated series aired on NBC from 1964 through the early 1970s. It featured a caped crime-fighting dog with a "u" on its chest, always swooping in to the rescue calling out "there's no need to fear, underdog is here!" or "when help is needed here I go, it's hip hip hip and away I go!" Underdog presented us with a humble, lovable, pettable hero, something very attainable and imaginable for kids. What's not to love about that?
    7. Brave – young defiant princess. Self-direction rather than submissive complacency is useful message for every girl to hear, in a world where girls are often the underdog.
    8. The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show – this series aired from 1959 to 1964 on television in the USA. This series still appeals to adults and kids, and shows a window into the times. There were bad puns, fractured fairy tales, and time travel with a boy and his dog. Right and wrong were explored in various ways, including sketches with Dudley Do-Right and villains Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale.
    9. Pinocchio – A Disney classic movie about a wooden little boy, delving into what it means to really become human. Based on the book by Carlo Collodi.
    10. Grinch who stole Christmas – The Grinch is the pinnacle of greed, at a day meant to celebrate God's graceful gift to us. This tale is by the immortal Dr. Seuss, the pen name of Theodore Geisel, who delved into so many deep and timeless topics, setting them in children's book form.

    What did we miss? Spirited Away? Grave of the Fireflies? Iron Giant? Darker animations such as Peresopolis or the Nightmare Before Christmas?

  • Scary Creation-Care Films

    Top Ten Scary Creation-Care Films

    With climate change atop the list of today's young hearts and minds, we thought we'd try our hands at compiling a top ten list of the scariest creation care films of all time. These films aren't for the faint of heart. They're controversial. They're scary.

    1. DEALING WITH CLIMATE CHANGE - How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can't Change (2016) [trailer] Director Josh Fox takes a dark-humored view of climate change. Selected at Sundance, a winner in the Enviro Film Fest, and a winner of an audience choice award, we're adding this one to our list sight unseen.
    2. CLIMATE CHANGE – An Inconvenient Truth (2006) [trailer]- Al Gore's groundbreaking film that told us what we didn't want to hear: that climate change had arrived, and that we'd ignore it to our peril. Ten years later, his message is as fresh and compelling as ever. And just for fun, you might also be interested in A Convenient Truth [trailer], the 2006 tale of solutions and leadership found in Curitiba, Brazil.
    3. HISTORY – Earth Days (2009) [trailer] – a film about the growth of environmentalism.
    4. CONSUMPTION – What Would Jesus Buy? (2007) [trailer] A film dedicated to one of the big Rs of the conservation movement, reducing our purchasing intake and facing our addiction to consumption. Also, Buy Nothing Day, documenting a new way to celebrate the Friday after Thanksgiving, in stark contrast to the Black Friday shopping madness.
    5. TRANSPORTATION – Who Killed the Electric Car? (2006) A look at the electric automobile, and how and why they were killed… or were they? A follow-up documentary explores that very question.
    6. FOOD – The Future of Food (2004) [trailer] – a look into GMOs, large-scale industrial agriculture, and the farm crisis. see also Food Matters (2008), [trailer] and Food, Inc (2008) – not a film for small children, because of disturbing images of slaughterhouses and factory farms.
    7. OCEAN – The Death of the Oceans [watch] – available to watch online in its entirety. A few new documentaries are in the works about the plastic gyres (swirling garbage vortexes, some bigger than Texas) in the oceans – look for them online.
    8. KIDS' ANIMATIONS – FernGully: The Last Rainforest, and Bambi – these sweet little animated films may tell simple stories, but they touch the hearts of children with a creation care message. As a result, they just may grow up to be environmental activists.
    9. DYSTOPIAN FUTURE – The Day After Tomorrow – a dystopian future world where climate change poses a real peril to the world's people, as cities submerge and weather turns on its head. and Soylent Green – the Soylent corporation provides the food for an overpopulated earth. A dark and distant dystopian future, set in 2022!
    10. ACTION DRAMA – The China Syndrome – a terrifying tale of the meltdown of a nuclear reactor. Erin Brockovich – Julia Roberts is captivating in this hero story about PG&E, pollution and groundwater. James Bond movies have hinted at nuclear disasters, and we keep awaiting the action drama with about Chernobyl or Fukushima.
    11. AND ALSO - (not Top 10 but worthy of mention] Our own film, "What Green Can Be" can be streamed free on Amazon Prime.
  • Nun/Priest Flicks

    Top Ten Nun/Priest Flicks

    Below, we have assembled our top ten films where Catholic nuns and priests are central to the story, and where the stories themselves provide food for thought. The Sound of Music didn't make the list simply because the nuns / nunnery are simply a backdrop.

    1. Angels with Dirty Faces (1938) – The relationship between a priest and death-row inmate Jimmy Cagney, and the surprising request that is made. All-star cast also includes Pat O'Brien, Humphrey Bogart, Ann Sheridan, George Bancroft and the "dead end" kids.
    2. How Green Was My Valley (1941) – Another oldie, but with timeless themes, this movie features a priest in a turn-of-the-century Welsh mining town. Maureen O'Hara is stunning.
    3. The Song of Bernadette (1943) – This film, documenting the young woman's discovery of the fountain at Lourdes, also offers an insight into humility and trust in God.
    4. Going My Way (1944) – Features Bing Crosby as Fr. O'Malley, a daring role at a time (any overtly non Protestant role was daring, before Kennedy's transformative presidency). Here, he brings his worldly experience to bear to help wayward youth and set the church building fund aright.
    5. The Bells of St. Mary's (1945) – The first film was so popular, Bing Crosby appeared once more as a young Fr. O'Malley. The title song, from 1917, is sung at St. Mary's College of California at official events.
    6. >The Trouble with Angels (1966) – Features Mary Wickes, who also played a nun in Sister Act, another Top Ten Flick pick. Set at the St. Francis Academy.
    7. Mass Appeal (1984) – With Jack Lemmon as Fr. Jim Farley. In this film, a Connecticut priest and a seminary rebel interact, and a monsignor figures in the mix.
    8. Sister Act (1992) – In this film, technically Whoopie Goldberg isn't a nun, she's just dressed like one. Hilarity ensues.
    9. Molokai (1999) – Documenting the life-story of Fr. Damien's self-sacrificial work with lepers on this island colony of Hawaii, and it delves into deep questions of faith and truth.
    10. Philomina (2013) – A recent drama based on the Martin Sixsmith book The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by journalist Martin Sixsmith. Directed by Stephen Frears, and starring Judi Dench in the title role, and searching for her son…. and in this way it shines a light on a not-too-distant history.
    11. Yes, there's one for Elvis fans: Change of Habit, with Mary Tyler Moore as an incognito nun helping the king clean up a ghetto.
  • Flicks – Poverty

    Top Ten Flicks – Poverty

    Here for your pleasure are our Top Ten picks for films delving into the tragedy of poverty,inequality, and moral relativism:

    1. O Brother Where Art Thou? – Every aspect of a Greek heroic journey, set to fabulous music in the depression.
    2. The Pursuit of Happyness – Will Smith as a struggling salesman in SF.
    3. Modern Times has Charlie Chaplin's adorable tramp as the quintessential everyman facing the world.
    4. Life is Beautiful – World War II is the backdrop.
    5. Schindler's List – Another WWII film, with heroism and horror, together.
    6. Twelve Years a Slave – On the abomination of slavery in the USA
    7. The Help – On post-slavery experience as domestic help.
    8. How Green Was My Valley – an Irish classic.
    9. Freedom Writers – Hillary Swank, at-risk students and overcoming.
    10. Stand & Deliver – A math teacher teaches calculus against all odds.
  • Flicks – Sci-Fi

    Top Ten Flicks – Sci-Fi

    Here, our Top Ten "Hero Journey" Sci-Fi picks for your enjoyment. Hope we've captured some of your favorites.

    1. Star Trek – Since the original series, delves into many questions, always with good vs. evil.
    2. Star Wars – A hero and a princess. Using the force, rescuing the universe from the dark side.
    3. Firefly (tv series) – A winning band of friends traveling through troubles in a complex future.
    4. Fifth Element – The world under attack in the future. Sci fi good-vs-evil at its finest.
    5. Lord of the Rings – An epic tale of good against evil, with friends who set out to save the world.
    6. Fahrenheit 451 – A classic exploration of the power of the printed word, and what one person might do, to save and foster it.
    7. 1984 – George Orwell explores the question, "what does it look like, in a world where thoughts aren't free?" and "what can one person do, in response?"
    8. Repo Men – What is life worth, in a world where body parts can be repossessed?
    9. Automata – This sci-fi film asks, what is life, and what "life" do we value?
    10. Total Recall – Schwarzenegger's memories have been wiped… what is real, and who to trust?
    11. Robocop – One human life, sacrificed by a company, to become a cyborg and police a dystopian world.
    12. Cloud Atlas – This film is just too difficult to explain… but worth watching.
    13. Apollo 13 – Tom Hanks again, this time as an astronaut. Will he make it?
  • Flicks – Comedy

    Top Ten Flicks – Comedy

    A merry heart does you good, like a medicine: but a broken spirit dries your bones.(Prov. 17:22). So here for your viewing pleasure, our list of Top Ten Comedies with a spiritual bent:

    1. Groundhog Day – Waking up day after day, what would you do?
    2. Blues Brothers – They're on a mission… from God!
    3. Galaxy Quest – Burnt out sci-fi actors must save a planet.
    4. Sister Act – Whoopie Goldberg is hilarious posing as a nun.
    5. Bedazzled (1967) – A silly retake on the original Faustian bargain.
    6. All of Me – Steve Martin mistakenly incorporates Lily Tomlin's soul.
    7. The Men Who Stare At Goats – George Clooney in an army unit exploring paranormal powers.
    8. The Truman Show – A salesman finds out his whole life is a TV show.
    9. Amelie – A young woman decides to add a little sparkle the lives around her.
    10. Sullivan's Travels (1941) – A depression-era comedy director who wants to make a serious movie takes to the road as a hobo!
    11. Scrooged! – Bill Murray in a funny retelling of a classic Dickens tale, the awakening of the heart to humankind. Oops, that's eleven. sorry…
  • Fears

    Top Ten Fears

    Boo! Scared you? We surely hope not. Fear is the unpleasant experience of threat, danger or concern about immanent harm. We're all afraid at times; it's part of being human. Whatever your fear, you can help disarm it with three easy steps: 1) Get educated about the object of your fear, and the source of the fear within you. 2) Trust on God's Goodness. Although we're unable to fully understand why things happen, we can trust we're never alone or abandoned, and always loved. 3) Reach out a hand. We're social animals, and when we live in kinship , we're less afraid.Halloween, haunted houses, and horror flicks help us playfully engage with fear. Here are our picks for top fears. Did we include yours?

    1. Creepy Crawlies – According to one Gallup poll, this tops the list of American fears, in a way that's often out of proportion to the risk of harm.
    2. Public Speaking - In one Gallup poll, public speaking came in second. Standing up and standing out in the shining spotlight is tough for most everyone.
    3. Social Phobias - Fear of others, or of isolation, abandonment or rejection. It can feel as if our very survival depends on fitting in.
    4. Death – No matter what we believe, we all know that death involves a significant change, and an ending of one's life on earth.
    5. Aging – This may be simply a mix of fears – of death, pain, disease, lack, loss of control, and isolation – rolled in one.
    6. Spaces – Open Spaces (Agoraphobia), Closed Spaces (Claustrophobia, e.g., elevators), High Places, Airplanes (Aviophobia), Cars, Bridges, and so on.
    7. Weather - Some folks experience paralyzing fear of such "Acts of God" as thunder, lightning, and earthquake.
    8. Animals – There are many people who have an extreme fear of dogs, horses, or black cats. When based on experience, "Once bitten, twice shy."
    9. Pain – This fear looms large, whether physical pain, mental suffering, disappointment, needle pricks, or hunger pangs.
    10. Contagion – this fear arises from the self-preservation instinct. Disease can bring on pain, stigma and isolation, and even death.

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