Charged: The Eduardo Garcia Story (2017)

“Everyone that has held me accountable and supported me and forgiven me and held me accountable has brought me to today.” Eduardo Garcio, whom you may know as The Bionic Chef or The Emperor of Flavor, was hiking in Montana, USA when he came across a dead bear, which he poked with his knife. He was then charged with 2400 volts of electricity. Although he now has a food company that makes sauces and seasonings, there was a long, tedious and painful road to recovery. He lost muscle from his torso, legs, arms, and scalp after about two dozen surgeries. By now, he’s a successful businessman and motivational speaker but Garcio’s journey included facing his troubled childhood, estrangement from his father and his cheating on the girlfriend, who ended up caring for him. It’s worth noting that while this is an extraordinary story, it’s both sad and inspirational. It’s truly fascinating but not necessarily suited for a family, church, or classroom setting due to graphic footage of injuries, significant usage of the “f-bomb” and nudity in artistic photos.

The Upside (2017)

Bryan Cranston’s talent is a given. However, though this a different Kevin Hart than audiences have previously seen (as of this post), he strikes just the right comedic note without endangering the story’s tone. Hiring a self- sabotaging deadbeat with a criminal record to be a quadriplegic’s live-in caretaker was meant to stick it to his secretary, who ignored his “Do Not Resuscitate” directive. Funny enough, they turned out to be just what the other needed. While such an unlikely friendship did exist, “based” on a true story is a bit of an exaggeration; it’s more like a biopic twice removed. But make no mistake: it’s still entertaining and poignant.

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.

Wait Until Dark (1967)

With as much suspense as you can stand, a young woman learning to cope with a recent onset of blindness is terrorized by henchmen of a crazed killer desperate to find smuggled heroin that was given to her husband at the airport. The very limitation that makes her vulnerable provides an unmatched skill she’ll need to survive after letting the thugs into her home, believing they’re old friends of her husband’s.

What the Deaf Man Heard (1997)

That it was originally made by a greeting card company shouldn’t dissuade you from giving this a chance. Before Hallmark (or anyone else, for that matter) had an entire channel, they made dramas that aired on network TV. In this clever story, a boy finds himself alone on a bus, which arrives at a small town depot. Unaware of how frightened he is, everyone assumes the boy is deaf and mute (except, perhaps, the local rum runner). He plays the part out of convenience and grows up privy to all the town’s secrets. Instances of prejudice against his supposed handicap notwithstanding, he enjoys being the keeper of information… until circumstances require eyewitness testimony to catch a con artist who’s been scamming the town.

Temple Grandin (2010)

Millions of dollars have been lost by farmers and ranchers utilizing standard– and inhumane– livestock handling practices. The leading expert in the industry is Dr. Temple Grandin, a professor of animal science at Colorado state University, who just so happens to be a woman on the Autism spectrum. It’s remarkable that someone thought to be […]

See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989)

Who else could play a deaf man, who witnessed a murder and a blind man, who heard it, other than two incomparable funnymen: the sensitive Gene Wilder and the bold Richard Pryor? It helps that—prior to Wilder turning down his role in the farce—each lead went to a special school—Wilder for the deaf and Pryor blind, respectively—in order to portray these challenges with accuracy. The script was then rewritten for them and their genuine chemistry is what breathes life into the slapstick.