The Peanut Butter Falcon (2019)

At the urging of a summer camper with Downs Syndrome who wanted to be a movie star, a pair of writers/ directors made a movie just for him! It’s rare for any dramatic movie to have just the right timing of genuine humor without being trite but to procure such big names, who bring the characters to life is a remarkable thing. Best of all, it illustrates the big joyous heart of a man searching for a place to belong while retaining the dignity of so many whom he represents. Only a small, independent film such as this could stay true to its message without wandering down rabbit trails of gratuitous content that would only distract from its engaging premise and compromise the believability of its likable characters. The consistency of its quality is evidence of talent, especially considering its budget constraints; this inspiration story lacks nothing.

Wild Hearts Can’t be Broken (1991)

The perfect film for anyone who appreciates the dedication of an athlete and/or horse lore is set during The Great Depression. Headstrong orphan, Sonora struggles to find a place to belong; she even runs away from her aunt, who plans to turn her over to the state. Captivated by the pageantry of Atlantic City, she ends up joining the circus, where she aspires to be the rider of a diving horse. She agrees to start as a stable hand, falls in love with the horse trainer’s son then goes blind in a devastating accident. But, as the title implies… you get the picture.

Galaxy Quest (1999)

In homage to every beloved Sci-fi TV series, the washed-up cast of an old show is mistaken for their on-screen personas by space aliens, who need their help. As in Three Amigos, they don’t realize what they’re getting themselves into; the faux crew are forced to spoof themselves to save both Humankind and the alien race from an evil warlord. The only catch is there’s no script or reshoots this time around.

The Iron Giant (1999)

This easily passes for a children’s movie given its young main character and sentimental tone. However, the historic context is noteworthy. Long before adventures were musical– certainly before computer animation, cartoons (such as the earliest depiction of the original superhero, Superman) were infused with a wariness of technology, especially in the era of McCarthyism.

This story captures the intrusion of industrial experimentation upon optimistic innocence, a concept lost on kids. Moreover, the military’s response to a creature capable of humanesque emotions will likely be disturbing to young viewers. But for a relatively mature audience, the theme of self-sacrifice will underscore the sweetness of friendship between a boy a robot during a time when the world needed it most. Perhaps it still does.

One, Two, Three (1961)

Don’t say I didn’t warn you: crisscrossed boisterous action and frenetic dialogue at breakneck speed are not for the faint of heart!

Mac, a driven Coca-Cola exec assigned to West Berlin is desperate to advance, which will ensure relocation to a better city, though he doesn’t share his wife’s preference. He agrees to host his boss’ teenage daughter, who turns out to be impudent and headstrong. Her antics, along with Mac’s priorities, further strain his troubled marriage.

Already juggling a mistress and business negotiations with some reluctant Russians, Mac finds himself the ringmaster of his own circus when the young socialite disappears. Then turns up married. To a Communist. And her parents announce they’re on their way to retrieve her. With only 24 hours to turn a Red beatnick activist into a Blue blooded Count, everyone springs into action to save the day (and thus their own skins).

¬°Three Amigos! (1986)

Being famous has its perks but at some point the novelty wears off. Still, it’s best to give the people what they want. After all, without fans you’re nobody, which is exactly the position in which three near-broke actors find themselves. Real-life legends are perfectly cast as they bring their natural chemistry and impeccable comedic timing to the roles of former legends of the silver screen, who misunderstood a plea for help from a fan in rural Mexico, who believes they’re the iconic heroes they play in the movies. Desperate for a gig, The Three Amigos arrive in character to a Western-style showdown to face a violent bully, who’s been threatening to take over the tiny village.

Money Train (1995)

If you like action, buckle up. Two NYC cops, who also happen to be former foster brothers, are thick as thieves despite incessant bickering about the one’s gambling addiction. All bets are off when they both fall for their beautiful new coworker, a fellow undercover sting agent who knows exactly which brother she wants. Sparks fly as a tangle with the transit authority ups the ante in a turf war for control of the subway. The arrogant director doesn’t care who lives or dies so long as he makes his money– an irresistible temptation to a chronic gambler…

Mortal Engines (2018)

How to describe such a unique fantastical premise…

Entire societies are mobile; each hierarchical city functions within its own feat of engineering (think interlocking collapsible compartments). These giant robotic apparatuses roam the globe vying for power, forcibly assimilating anyone who gets in their way. The plucky young heroes could easily have been in The Maze Runner!

Until now, such an imaginative book series couldn’t have been adapted for the screen. Fortunately, The Peter Jackson specializes in bringing fictional worlds to life via intricately detailed sets and props enhanced by state-of-the-art computer animation.

The Rundown (2003)

Sometimes you just want to be entertained but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for meathead jocks lumbering across the screen. Given the cast, there’s obviously a mixture of action and comedy but developed characters and a creative premise elevate a potentially flat collaboration to an engaging adventure, in which a bounty hunter tracks a mobster’s son through the jungle. When the wily kid on a treasure hunt and the nonviolent gun-for-hire who wants out of the business get mixed up with the leader of a revolt against an exploitive quarry operator, survival becomes the new agenda.

Some Like it Hot (1959)

When the speakeasy that employs many musicians gets busted, many performers find themselves job hunting. Moreover, when they witness the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre,¬† two friends in particular find themselves on the run from the mob. As revenge for their playboy antics, their connection at the employment agency pairs them with an all-female band. At least it’s headed out of state! With no choice but to make the most of the opportunity, the duo must pass themselves off as women. But can they keep their cool while surrounded by pretty girls?