|From The Wall Street Journal|
While everyone else is watching football over the holiday season, I am always on the lookout for a good movie, preferable one that is family-friendly. Every once in a while I come across a movie that I had never heard of before but which turns out to be excellent. Here are three that you may end up enjoying as much as I did (especially if you need an alternative to sports viewing):
|From Crop Circle Season|
Based upon a true story, this film focuses on a young boy, terminally ill with cancer, who dreams of catching the rare and magnificent Menelaus Blue Morpho butterfly, which is only found in Central and South America. He and his mother manage to convince a well-known entomologist (played by William Hurt) to guide him on a trip to the Costa Rican jungle to find the butterfly. Both the boy and the man learn a lot about themselves and life on this arduous journey, and the ending is truly a miracle.
A Lobster Tale (2006)
A struggling Maine lobster fisherman named Cody Brewer (Colm Meaney) finds a strange glowing green moss in one of his lobster traps. Quite by accident he discovers that the moss has tremendous healing powers. Cody is inundated with requests for access to his special find and he is caught in a dilemma as to how to use this unexpected gift, especially when he is tempted by a generous financial offer. Added to his troubles are problems at home with his sadly neglected wife and his son who is being bullied at school. Then the magical moss is stolen, and it seems as if the situation could not get any worse. In the end, however, it is this theft that leads to the best possible resolution for Cody and his family. This low-key, low-budget film, which also stars the excellent Graham Greene as the town sheriff, is a great movie to watch with the family.
Dean Spanley (2008)*
In Edwardian England, a man named Fisk (Jeremy Northam) and his elderly father (Peter O'Toole) have a troubled relationship, although the son feels duty-bound to pay his parent an uncomfortable weekly visit. One week the two of them attend a lecture on transmigration. There they meet the title character, a vicar called Dean Spanley (Sam Neill) who has a peculiar penchant for a particular type of Tokay wine. Later that day another new acquaintance is made with a conveyancer named Wrather (Bryan Brown), who is able to procure this wine. Once Dean Spanley consumes the Tokay, a strange and mystical journey begins which involves a Welsh Spaniel, a past life, and the Fisk family. The tale is both unexpected and surprising, and leads to a better understanding between father and son.
*According to IMDb, the title of the movie has been expanded to "My Talks with Dean Spanley", which is the full title of the Lord Dunsany story upon which this movie is based.
All of these movies are more character-based than plot-driven (my favorite type of movie), family-friendly, and involve a touch of fantasy. Any one would be a delightful treat during the holidays, especially if you are looking for films that do not involve violence and destruction. If you can find them, they are certainly worth a look.