1. A Bright, Shining Moment- wonderful documentary about Senator George McGovern's campaign for president in 1972. The absolutely fantastic film, which played briefly in a few Los Angeles theaters, told the story of an authentic American hero George McGovern and his amazing grassroots campaign--or democracy in action. Against huge odds, McGovern won the Democratic presidential nomination in 1972 on a pledge to end the war in Vietnam. With Gore Vidal, Dick Gregory, Gary Hart, Gloria Steinem, Frank Mankiewicz, Warren Beatty, George McGovern et al.--a great cast all playing themselves. Directory Stephen Vittoria did a magnificent job. In 1972 McGovern was seen as loosing in a landslide to Nixon, but McGovern's campaign director at the end in the film said that all the McGovern people did was lose but Nixon's people went to jail. Yeah.
2. Rent- wonderful musical that reinvigorated the American musical bringing it into the modern era. Fantastic songs. Rent is a rewriting La Boheme, telling about bohemian artists in the Lower Eastside of Manhattan in the 1980s dealing with creating art and living and dieing with AIDs--artists are gay and straight; white, Latino and black. Fantastic cast. Dancing. Tears. Laughter. See it!
3. North County- at long last an American film which opens up how women are seen in U.S. cinema. The film is based on the true story of how pioneering women iron ore miners in the Mesabi Iron Range in Northern Minnesota were brutally sexually harassed on the job and fought back. This is a film about heroism in America. The lead character is played by Charlize Theron but the fine cast also includes Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, and Sissy Spachek. This film changes how women are portrayed in the American film. North Country has beautiful photography of Northern Minnesota in wintertime.
4. Goodbye and Good Luck- Director George Clooney who also starred did a great work on Edward Murrow, newscaster at CBS, taking on Senator McCarthy, at the height of his red baiting power. The black and white film, which is quite beautiful, captures Manhattan in the early 1950s. This film shows courage and hope in our national politics and illustrates how nation news media actually took great risks to tell the truth.
5. Walk the Line- biopicture about Johnny Cash whose music influenced country and western, rock 'n roll, punk and folk. The film has a great score created by musician T-Bone Burnett of Johnny Cash's wonderful music. This intelligent film which integrates Cash's songs into his lifestory illustrates both the music and the life. Anyone interested in American music should see this film.