Reel Meanings: Movies Worth Contemplating
S 2018


This SDG was jointly created by Jack Samet and Beverly Grabell. The entertainment value in an audience's cinematic experience often  lies in the plot, acting, music and/or other aspects of a film as it is observed and presented on the screen.  Some movies, intentionally or otherwise, however  arouse more and a viewer can't help thinking about them well after he/she has left the theater.  These movies engage  a viewer's intellectual appetite for contemplating questions concerning self, relationships, values and strategies, political and social issues, which may or may not be  "resolved"  in the presentation on screen. We  will examine 14 such films and try to identify, explore and address the broader and enduring questions they raise,  subliminally or openly. In addition, we  will explore whether the film can lead its audience to similar views of the questions raised or  if audience opinions on the meaning and resolution of the questions perceived to be raised are highly individual. We will keep our eyes wide open as we examine "Eyes Wide Shut", we will be present when we try to understand the value of "Being There"  and we will behold, with an appreciative eye, "American Beauty" among others. Our discussion will consist of more than "13 Conversations About One Thing" , we won't overlook "Her" , and though we may or may not be "Ordinary People" we will engage these films without disregarding a "Notebook". 

Weekly Topics

1. Eyes Wide Shut

2. American Beauty

3. 13 Conversations About One Thing

4. Being There

5. Fences

6. Ordinary People

7. Notebook

8. Her

9. Ex Machina

10. After the Dark

11. Vanilla Sky

12. Swept Away (1974 version)

13. Malcolm X

14. Good Will Hunting 


Copies for viewing these movies may be obtained from at least the following sources:


Netflix DVD Queue

Cinefile DVD Rentals (11280 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, Ca. 90025)