American Values Awards for Movies and Television

Apparently I’m not the only person irritated by the Oscars this year, dominated by sexual immorality and politically controversial left wing movies. Michael Class has started a new awards program, American Values Awards for Movies and Television, to reward those movies that are more family friendly.

LOS ANGELES (AFP) – A conservative US filmmaker, angered by the awards success of films such as the gay drama “Brokeback Mountain,” launched a rival cinema prize to honor American “moral” values.

In a year where films starring homosexual or transgender characters or those dealing with thorny political issues such as US oil interests in the Persian Gulf are dominating Hollywood’s awards season, right-wing film industry figures are hitting back at what they say is a vacuum of morality in Tinseltown.

Former dot-com entrepreneur turned movie producer Michael Class is calling on conservative media groups to support his American Values Awards for Movies and Television.

“I want media leaders with a sense of patriotism and respect for family to join with me to turn the American Values Awards into a high-profile event,” he said.

This year’s Oscars race is led by “Brokeback” and also features “Capote,” the story of gay US author Truman Capote, and “Transamerica,” about a man in the process of undergoing a sex change.

In addition, two politically-charged dramas starring George Clooney are also competing for awards gold.

“Good Night, And Good Luck,” the Clooney-directed story of US newsman Ed Murrow’s fight against the right-wing communist witch-hunt of the 1950s, and “Syriana,” about US oil interests in the Middle East.

“Skip ‘Syriana’, ‘Munich’, and ‘Brokeback Mountain’ unless your only criterion for seeing a movie is aesthetic merit,” said Class, referring also to Steven Spielberg’s contentious Middle East violence thriller “Munich”.

“They are morally confused — I don’t want my kids seeing them,” Class added.

“‘Syriana’ blames America for terrorism. ‘Munich’ confuses justice with vengeance. ‘Brokeback Mountain’? What’s positive about a film whose main character’s sexual behavior destroys a family?,” he said.

Instead of the awards frontrunners, Class, head of a tiny independent studio called Magic Picture Frame Studio, applauded the values of films including “Cinderella Man,” “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe,” “Star Wars: Episode III” and “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.”

Also honored by the new awards were “The Great Raid,” the story of US heroism during World War II, “End of the Spear,” about religion and the British film “Millions,” about a family that ends up doing the right thing after finding stolen loot.

“Cinderella Man,” starring Russell Crowe, is the saga of a depression-era US boxer overcoming adversity, while “Harry Potter” and “Star Wars” are tales about good versus evil, according to Class.

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23 thoughts on “American Values Awards for Movies and Television

  1. Hello.

    I am Michael Class.

    Regardless of what the newspapers and media critics may say, I am not a movie producer. I am an author, photographer, and publisher. I am a married father of two children. I am an ordinary person.

    I published a book about American history. I used advanced digital photography to place my real-life twelve-year-old son, Anthony, in the cockpit of the Spirit of St. Louis with Charles Lindbergh, on the moon with Neil Armstrong, and on Normandy beach on D-Day (among other places). The result: It looks like my son really did meet Thomas Edison, Jonas Salk, FDR, Lou Gehrig, Charles Lindbergh, and Audie Murphy. I did this because I wanted to capture the interest of today’s kids by turning American history into a grand time travel adventure. It’s fun, but it is also authentic history: even Anthony’s conversations with the people of the past are based on things they really said.

    Anthony visits America’s past by stepping through a Magic Picture Frame. But, I decided to include a “built-in time machine” that young adults can use to see, hear, and experience the past. The book includes recommendations for 461 books, 600 movies, 217 songs, and 155 places to visit. I think this unique approach excites young adults about American history, and helps parents and teachers promote an appreciation for America’s past.

    But the book is also challenging. It was meant to be. The book presents the moral lessons of American history, and prepares kids for the future. The chapter about Lindbergh’s flight is about perseverance. The story of Lou Gehrig is one of a virtuous life. The chapter about Thomas Edison is really about business. The story of Apollo 11 is about wonder, taking risks, and courage. The story of Dr. Jonas Salk and the cure for polio is really about dedicating one’s life to a higher purpose. Anthony’s observation of D-Day and the liberation of the death camps during the Holocaust is a testament to the reality of evil and the need to fight it.

    While recounting his adventures, Anthony discusses the nature of good and evil, right and wrong, war and peace, what it means to be an American, honor and discipline, success and achievement, courage and destiny, marriage and family, God and purpose. Anthony compares the people and events of the past with the people and events of his own time. Anthony’s observations prompt serious discussion of timeless moral questions.

    Because of this, the movies I selected for the book – 600 in all – are also challenging. They run the gamut from movies that deal with good versus evil, to movies that deal with role models and strength of character in adversity. But in each, there is an example to follow.

    I wrote the book to provide inspiration to young adults – to follow in the footsteps of some great American heroes. The lesson that Anthony learns during his time-travel adventures is what the heroes of the past tell him: “The purpose of life is to live a life of purpose, and doing the right thing always matters.”

    So, when I selected movies for 2005 for the American Values Awards, I had that in mind. I created the American Values Awards for Movies and Television. And why not? There are awards for best documentary, best horror film, best science fiction film – why not an award that celebrates the values that Americans hold dear? Why not a list of movies worth watching because they inspire? I will make the award every year. I will also invite people to nominate their favorite movies for the award. Many already are.

    You can see the complete list of winners for 2005 here: http://www.magicpictureframe.com.

    I chose Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire as a “movie worth watching” because it is part of a series that is about the battle of good versus evil. Of course, I anticipate that good will triumph over evil. I also chose the Harry Potter films (more than one makes my list of winners) because they are stories of friendship and loyalty: Harry tries to never lets his friends down, and if he fails, he tries to correct it and make up for it. Harry is admirable. I have always been a fan of the Harry Potter films and books for these reasons.

    I can not recommend Brokeback Mountain because the main character, Ennis, allows his infidelity to destroy his marriage and family. Ennis does not tell his friend Jack, “No, I can’t be with you.” Ennis does not say: “I have made a commitment to my wife and children and I will honor it.” Instead, Ennis chooses to enter into an adulterous affair for 20 years. Some people will say Ennis had no choice, but the facts are clearly presented in the movie: Ennis was engaged to be married before he went up on the mountain with Jack. When Ennis came down from the mountain, he married and spent four years loving his wife and daughters, creating a family. But then, when an unexpected postcard arrives in the mail from Jack four years later, Ennis chooses to see him. Then, Ennis chooses to begin an adulterous affair.

    Brokeback Mountain makes a point about prejudice, but it does so in a negative way, not an inspiring way. Imagine if REMEMBER THE TITANS or GLORY ROAD portrayed the racially integrated teams (football and basketball, respectively) as losing the championships, and the team members dropped out of school emotionally broken and frustrated and penniless. It would pull at the heartstrings and makes you feel quilty about the prejudice that destroyed them – like Brokeback Mountain does. But what is there to emulate? Where is the inspiration? Instead, by showing the two sports teams winning, the two movies prove that everything people thought about them was wrong. A much stronger point is made because these team members rise above the prejudice and have courage and exhibit behavior that is worth emulating. In fact, like Ennis, many team members are faced with choices – to continue or not, to sacrifice or not. The team members are role models. And the movies are inspiring.

    Brokeback Mountain also proposes that all human relationships are equal. Well, all humans are equal, but all relationships are not equal. So, I would suggest that the relationship between Ennis and his wife and children is more important – has greater weight and significance – than his relationship with Jack. Ennis did not weigh his relationships properly, he chose one over the other wrongly, and it destroyed him and his family. Jack does the same thing, amounting to two whole families, wives, and children destroyed. Brokeback Mountain may have a place on a list of tragedies – but not on my list.

    I also did not recommend Syriana and Munich. Syriana blames America for terrorism, which is just plain wrong: Osama bin Laden stated his reasons for attacking America in a “Letter to America,” published around the world. Munich confuses justice with vengeance, and morally equates counter-terrorism with terrorism. The opening screen for Munich states: “Inspired by true events,” meaning that the direction of the story is made up. There are some very good documentaries that interview the actual Israeli agents who carried out the mission to hunt the terrorists: the agents do not doubt the morality of what they did, and they also point out that the terrorists were actively plotting further attacks.

    Finally, I had high hopes for my favorite science fiction story: I really wanted to include War of the Worlds on my list, but I choked on one of the deviations from H.G. Wells’ book. Why couldn’t it feature a married father defending his family, instead of a divorced father? Why do Hollywood screenwriters seem to think every family is “broken?” Fortunately, the 1960 original is excellent.

    So, there you have it. I don’t advocate censorship. I don’t plot the overthrow of America by a sinister conservative movement. I list 600 movies in my book – and I choose movies every year for the values and messages they advocate. And, I present my reasons for selecting certain movies as “worth seeing.”

    I’m an ordinary person just trying to do what the American heroes in my book suggest all people should do: “Live a life of purpose. Make a positive difference. Try to do the right thing.”

    I wanted to provide a history lesson to America’s next generation, and at the same time give them some things to think about. Some ideas to challenge them. I do that by letting the heroes of America’s past speak directly to them through Anthony in the book. I hope that the words and the deeds of American heroes will inspire today’s young Americans to do great things, and make the tough choices a successful life requires.

    Michael Class
    http://www.MagicPictureFrame.com

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  2. I’m just a regular guy too. And it is nice that you offer your movie reviews here. Naturally, you bring to your reviews your understanding of the world, and your wishes for it. I would disagree with your characterization of prejudice and how it “should” be portrayed in movies. I don’t think we need to candy coat prejudice to make it more palatable, rather it should be portrayed as it is, so we can deal with it honestly. Coretta Scott King would appreciate honesty in a movie, not a cheery gloss on murder, enslavement, beatings, hangings, etc. The legacy of prejudice more often than not is pain and suffering, and people have lived and died with out ever experiencing justice or freedom to live as they are. The movie about the cowboys is about a society that imposed it’s view on a couple of guys who just wanted to be who God made them. If they had received that acceptance as they were growing up, they never would have felt compelled to lie about it (i.e. marry women). The lesson of this story is that nobody wins under the current system – the guys, the broken hearted wives, the kids who family is based on a lie. Everyone loses, because the initial prejudice is so tyranical A movie that advocates changing peoples hearts and attitudes about injustice IS a morally based tale, in my experience. 😉

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  3. Thank you for the considered posting. I have to take issue with part of it, though. From what I’ve read about Martin Luther King Jr and Coretta Scott King, I do not think they would focus on the negative at all. I do not think they would appreciate any movie that dwelled on murder, enslavement, beating, with or without the gloss. Reading over the “I Have a Dream” speech, the Kings focused on positive goals; living in equality, living without racism, living without violence.

    The movie about the cowboys is *not* about a society that’s imposed a viewpoint on them. It’s about two cowboys that imposed their viewpoint on those around them, selfishly giving into their own indulgences regardless of the consequences. Are there any self-indulgences that are harmful to society? You betcha. A mature, self-sacrificing man recognizes that and abstains. Giving selfishly into temptation is destructive to self and surroundings. Portraying such a self-indulgence as wrong only because society is imposing a view on them ignores the true root of selfishness and destructive behavior.

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  4. I won’t stay in this debate, but I want to point out I never said “gloss” or “sugar coat.”

    Two movies on my list of 600 are: Schindler’s List and The Sorrow and The Pity. Both films are hard to stomach – but have people in them who try to do the right thing. Oscar Schindler in one. The other film actually shows bulldozers moving Holocaust victim bodies from ovens after the war – yet the heroes are the people who survived to tell about it, and the soldiers who freed them.

    No “gloss.” But clearly people to emulate, to inspire, to make you want to do the right thing – people who show you the way.

    Finally, I want to say that my book is NOT an easy kids book. It is very challenging, as you can probably now guess. Also – I do not force an opinion on the reader. My point is to make the reader think, to “argue” with Anthony (my main character), and to dfend a point of view with facts, not emotions.

    Just as you are doing here.

    If you buy the book, drop me a line and let me know what you think of it.

    But, either way, thanks for the debate! That’s the real point.

    Michael Class
    class@MagicPictureFrame.com
    http://www.MagicPictureFrame.com

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  5. Why do you have to blame a homosexual relationship for destroying a family? Are there not just as many, if not more, men that are cheating on their wives with other women? In my eyes, adultery is something far worse than homosexuality could ever be.

    “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” -Hebrews 13:4

    Why don’t you condemn all infidelity the same, do you not believe that all sins are equal in the eyes of God? If you don’t, why is homosexuality a far greater sin than unfaithfulness? Is it because it’s one count of adultery and one count of homosexuality? Maybe you do see them equally and maybe you don’t, that’s just my take on it.

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  6. Also, I apologize to Michael Class for the comments I made in my livejournal entry on him being a filmmaker, I just realized that he made a statement regarding him being mislabeled as one by the press. As for the rest of the entry, it may come off as pretty harsh and uneducated, but that was just me releasing my anger through words. I have nothing against you, or your book, just the American Values Awards for Movies and Television.

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  7. I do condemn all infidelity the same. When we have “Adultery Pride” parades, I’ll protest against adulterers, too, but adulterers generally have shame over their actions.

    I’m not sure why you rant against somebody awarding movies a positive value system. Why aren’t you ranting against destructive things instead of against somebody trying to do something good for the world unselfishly?

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  8. Please Michael, there’s a difference between gay and homosexual. Homosexuality is just a sexual preference, nothing more. The “Dharma and Greg” flamboyant gay man we are so used to is a completely different thing. But we don’t need to get into that. What’s important is that you are saying people shouldn’t see movies that are “morally confused.” Is there really something wrong with seeing the other side of things? To learn what others see? I completely with you these types of movies aren’t family safe, but does that really mean they don’t deserve the awards? The Oscars have always awarded left-wing films. Save Chronicles of Narnia and Harry Potter for Nickelodeon’s Kid Choice Awrds.

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  9. From a Judeo-Christian based morality viewpoint there is no difference. It’s still sexual immorality. Morally confused movies tend to morally confuse people, and we have quite enough of those in the world, thank you very much. And Hollywood once honored patriotic and Christian movies like Patton and Ben Hur. They are far more likely to diss movies like those today.

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  10. Are people not allowed to see things that are “morally confused?” Are they not allowed to see the other side of things? Do you have to be that close minded that you can’t open your eyes and see something besides Ben Hur? Some of the greatest movies of all time are “morally confused.” I just don’t understand.

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  11. Sure they are. Doesn’t mean it’s good for them. 1 Corinthians 10:23, “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is constructive.

    I never said the movies should be banned or restricted. I just said they were distasteful and we should celebrate those movies that had a positive influence on society instead.

    If you still don’t understand, perhaps it’s because you’re watching the wrong movies.

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  12. We should celebrate movies that make us think, not movies that we know all the answers to. All of the other movies you speak are the ones that are destroying America, and the way the rest of the world views us.

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  13. Narnia shouldn’t have been remade, it should have left intact. Star Wars Episodes I-III should have never been made. Ben Hur is a classic and Cinderella Man was complete garbage. America’s entertainment business is doomed if we keep making these movies.

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  14. :mrgreen: Michael, THANK YOU!!! Parents who want age appropriate, character building movies to show their children can now get ideas from your book. Thank you very much. Keep up the work and I’ll keep you in my prayers. Some will confuse your desire to help society for bashing. We don’t always have to be politically correct and “include” everyone. =) God Bless.

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  15. Author Michael Class Starts Blog to Discuss Controversial Subjects in His American History Book

    Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame Written to Teach Moral Lessons of History to Kids

    Seattle author Michael Class has started a new online discussion Web site and blog based on the controversial subjects in his award-winning new book, Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame. Using quotes, facts, and narrative taken directly from the pages of his book, the author’s blog (www.MagicPictureFrame.blogspot.com) discusses the moral lessons of American history and how those lessons apply to modern times and current events.

    “It’s not an easy book, so it’s not an easy blog,” says Class. “The book challenges the reader to see the modern world in light of the lessons of the past. Anthony compares the people and events of the past with the people and events of his own time. Anthony discusses the nature of good and evil, right and wrong, war and peace, what it means to be an American, honor and discipline, success and achievement, courage and destiny, marriage and family, God and purpose. The blog is a place where readers can agree or disagree with Anthony’s opinions and conclusions.”

    Class says that he regularly receives letters from readers, many of whom want to discuss the subjects in his book further. The online blog, he says, will give readers – parents, teachers, and young adults – a place to discuss the book and its subjects, and to share their opinions.

    “That was my intent all along,” says Class. “Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame is a factual and accurate American history book. But, inserting Anthony into the story as a time-traveler and observer from the 21st Century had a purpose. By allowing Anthony to comment on what he sees, I created a book with a unique educational dimension. I hoped that parents and teachers would ask younger readers: ‘Do you agree or disagree with Anthony’s conclusions? Why or why not?'”

    A parent in Wenatchee, WA, wrote to Class: “The book sparked serious discussion with my daughters on several issues. Nothing in our schools comes close to giving our children such a complete and visually exciting depiction of history.” The book is recommended for young adults, grade 6 to grade 12.

    “It’s a history book with a lesson for the present day,” says Class. “So don’t be surprised because the book contains references to modern-day issues like the War on Terror, affirmative action, God in America, drug use in sports, illegal immigration, vaccines, abortion, the future of America’s space program, capitalism, and the definition of marriage. It has to. I wrote the book to prepare young people for the challenges of their time – and their future.”

    Indeed, when Anthony returns from his adventures in America’s past, he returns with valuable lessons that prepare him for the future. Anthony says: “I learned that the heroes of the past have something important to tell us: that the purpose of life is to live a life of purpose, and doing the right thing always matters.”

    In his book, Class used advanced digital photography to place his twelve year-old son, Anthony, in the cockpit of the Spirit of St. Louis with Charles Lindbergh, on the moon with Neil Armstrong, in the laboratories of Thomas Edison and Jonas Salk, and on Normandy beach on D-Day. The result: It looks like Anthony really did meet Thomas Edison, Jonas Salk, FDR, Lou Gehrig, Charles Lindbergh, and Audie Murphy. The Web site, http://www.MagicPictureFrame.com, displays some of the book’s amazing photographs.

    Years of meticulous research went into the book: Class spoke with relatives of famous scientists and inventors, Holocaust survivors, award-winning biographers, and others to ensure that the facts of the book were both accurate and vivid. Historical accuracy rules every page: even Anthony’s conversations with the people of the past are based on things they really said, all properly footnoted. Class also included recommendations for hundreds of books, movies, songs, and places to visit, all keyed to the subjects of each chapter.

    Anthony’s adventures in American history come with a moral lesson, the facet of the book that sparks discussion and, sometimes, controversy. The chapter about Lindbergh’s flight is really about choosing one’s destiny. The story of Lou Gehrig is one of a virtuous life. The chapter about Thomas Edison is really about business and the benefits of hard work. The story of Apollo 11 is about wonder, taking risks, and courage. The story of Dr. Jonas Salk is really about dedicating one’s life to a higher purpose. When Anthony meets his immigrant great-grandfather at Ellis Island, it’s really a story about what it means to be an American. Anthony’s observation of D-Day and the liberation of the death camps during the Holocaust is a testament to the reality of evil and the need to fight it.

    “The book is about truth,” says Class. “Winston Churchill once said that ‘men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.’ My new blog is a place to discuss the truth that always manages to catch up with us.”

    A sampling of topics already posted on the author’s blog include:

    (1) MODERN-DAY JOURNALISTS ARE TRAITORS: “Ernie Pyle, We Miss You!”

    (2) THE NEW WORLD WAR: What It’s About, And Why We Must Win

    (3) AMERICA FIGHTS FOR FREEDOM: Confused Europeans Blame America for Disturbing the Peace

    (4) THE REALITY OF GOOD AND EVIL: Holocaust Remembrance Day

    (5) OPPORTUNITY IN AMERICA: What Immigrants Know, And What Your Children Should Be Taught

    (6) GOD IN AMERICAN HISTORY: What Every American Should Know

    Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame was named the ‘Most Original Concept of 2006’ and ‘Outstanding Book of the Year’ by Independent Publisher. The book was also honored as ‘Reviewers Choice’ by Midwest Book Review, and ‘Editor’s Pick’ by Homefires: The Journal of Homeschooling Online.

    Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame (hardcover, 225 pages, $35) is available at http://www.MagicPictureFrame.com, by calling toll-free 1-800-247-6553, and on http://www.amazon.com.

    ###

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  16. I know this discussion has been going on for a while, and I think it is a very good one. I have, however, a few things on my mind I want to share. Some of the things that have been said just make no sense at all.
    I find it rather queer that one would hand out ‘morality awards’ to certain films because they propagate the so called ‘right values’. Using ‘REMEMBER THE TITANS’ as an example of an inspiring movie gives me the feeling that the author is confusing inspiration with Utopianism. I do not feel that the film is inspiring for its rising above prejudice, because it does not show this process. The white coach is against black people joining the team, but is able to shove aside his prejudices the next day and make it a winning team. There are no real difficulties for the team to overcome, their path to glory is a walk in the park.
    I like the fact that ‘BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN’ was chosen as a counterexample, as a film that is ‘morally confused’. It is really easy to see this film as morally confused, especially in a context of hate against homosexuality. The social ideology is such that the men have to hide their homosexuality from the outside world, or else they become the victims of cruelty beyond imagination. The main characters are morally corrupted insofar as they have to hide their true nature. They both get married because in their eyes they do NOT have a choice, because of simple fear for their lives, untill they reach a point where this is impossible.
    If ‘REMEMBER THE TITANS’ would truly be inspiring, there would be no need to make a difference between ‘white’ films and ‘black’ films, people would set aside their prejudices and understand that both films take up their place in a continuum and both show only a part the whole truth.
    The fact that the author still feels a need to make up lists, to make a distinction between good and bad, shows that he does not really underscribes the effectiveness of his own system. Why else would people have to be told which films are good for them and for which reason, and which ones are not.
    Apart from that, greater men than any of us have already pointed out that there can be no insight or catharsis without struggle.
    A whole lot more could be said, but at least we are struggling.

    b.

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  17. I like the fact that ‘BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN’ was chosen as a counterexample, as a film that is ‘morally confused’. It is really easy to see this film as morally confused, especially in a context of hate against homosexuality.

    Blaming the audience and society for the “moral confusion” is a nice sidestep. You’re imposing your own prejudices – i.e. everybody should be eagerly accepting of homosexuals – on society.

    The main characters are morally corrupted insofar as they have to hide their true nature.

    No, the main characters are corrupt because they hide their moral bankruptcy behind a disproving society, then blame society for their moral bankruptcy. Then men made a public committment to be married to their spouse, and you feel that society is to blame when they break their own personal vows. Sheesh. THe men are responsible for their own hypocrasy and broken marriage vows and immoral behavior, not society.

    I assume you’re cutting and pasting from somewhere since we never discussed Remember the Titans in this thread, but from what I can see, Remember the Titans shows racial integration and teamwork set against a racially divisive society that doesn’t support them. Sounds like an inspiring movie, dedicated teamwork against opposition, both inside and out.

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  18. Aren’t we arguing about the wrong thing?
    In fact you Michael from this website and Michael Class actually like gay people, and maybe have them as close friends, and thus don’t like their depiction in the film Brokeback Mountain. You know that homosexuals aren’t as morally bankrupt as they seem to be in the film. And that is why you dislike it so much. Is that reasoning correct?

    By the way, Remember the Titans was discussed in this thread, first by Michael Class and later by some people who reacted to his comment.

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  19. Ah, you’re correct about “Remembering the Titans.” I don’t know the movie and it was posted over a year ago, so it didn’t ring any bells.

    You’re wrong about everything else, but that part you got right.

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  20. MY PICKS FOR BEST MOVIES OF 2006: 10 Movies Every American Should See.

    Wouldn’t it be refreshing to see a special Academy Award for the movie that best reflects positive American values and role models? Or, a special Academy Award for the movie that best inspires America’s young people to greatness? That’s what I hope to achieve with the American Values Awards. The winners are movies that parents can share with their children. The winners are movies that every American should see. Here are my picks for the best movies of 2006!

    Movies can be a valuable teaching tool: That’s why I included nearly 600 movie recommendations in my history book for kids, Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame. In the book, stunning digital photography places my twelve year-old son, Anthony, in the cockpit of the Spirit of St. Louis with Charles Lindbergh, on the moon with Neil Armstrong, in the laboratories of Thomas Edison and Jonas Salk, and on Normandy beach on D-Day. Anthony “time-travels” into America’s past to learn valuable lessons about right and wrong, choosing one’s destiny, strength of will, dedication to purpose, and love of country. It’s all historically accurate: Even Anthony’s conversations with American heroes are based on things they really said. The 600 movies are part of a list that includes books to read, music to listen to, and places to visit: fun for kids, and a built-in teaching tool for parents and teachers. The book is recommended for readers in Grade 6 to Grade 12+.

    The movies in the book – and the movies I have chosen as the best of 2006 – are movies that reflect deeply-held American values. These movies teach. These movies are inspirational. These movies remind us that the purpose of life is to live a life of purpose, and that doing the right thing always matters.

    My picks for the best films of 2006 may not win on Oscar Night. But, wouldn’t it be refreshing to see a special Academy Award for the movie that best reflects positive American values and role models? Or, a special Academy Award for the movie that best inspires America’s young people to greatness? That’s what I hope to achieve with the American Values Awards. The Award recognizes movies that reflect the traditional values that Americans hold dear: Movies that celebrate love, honor, marriage and family, discipline and commitment, personal responsibility, and the drive for excellence and achievement.

    The winners for 2006 are:

    1. THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS: The true story of Chris Gardner, a down-and-out and sometimes homeless salesman, abandoned by his wife, and suffering from a string of bad decisions. But, Chris Gardner holds fast to the American Dream: He retains his optimism, protects and nurtures his young son, works long and hard, and never gives up. Chris Gardner is rewarded for keeping the faith.

    2. GLORY ROAD: The inspiring true story of how a small school in West Texas, with an unproven coach, and an all-black starting team of basketball players changed history. It’s a story of character, integrity, and overcoming prejudice. It’s a story of inner strength and doing something that is bigger than yourself.

    3. FLIGHT 93: The true story of the ordinary Americans who fought back against evil on 9/11 and became heroes to remember in the War on Terror. The movie makes you wonder whether or not you would have had the same strength and courage.

    4. FLYBOYS: The true story of the volunteer American pilots who fought for France before America officially entered World War I. These young men volunteered because they wanted to fly airplanes, but they got more than they bargained for: a lesson in courage, heroism, sacrifice, and friendship – and the unforgiving brutality of war.

    5. WORLD TRADE CENTER: The true story of John McLoughlin and Will Jimeno, two New York Port Authority policemen, trapped in the rubble of the World Trade Center on 9/11, after they went in to rescue people. It’s a story of family, love, faith, and courage – qualities that kept the two men alive. And, as you watch firemen ask strangers, “Remember my name and please tell my wife and children that I love them,” before crawling deep down into the building wreckage, it’s also a movie that begs the question: “Would you do the same?”

    6. AKEELAH AND THE BEE: The true story of Akeelah Anderson, an 11-year-old girl who overcomes the odds to participate in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Yes, Akeelah can spell! But, the story is really about developing the mindset to be a winner, and choosing to win only in the right way.

    7. INVINCIBLE: The true story of 30-year-old Vince Papale, a bartender and part-time schoolteacher who gets the chance to play football for the Philadelphia Eagles thanks to an “open tryout” offer to Philadelphia citizens by coach Dick Vermeil in 1974. It’s an inspirational underdog story that reminds us that anything is possible – if we only try.

    8. JOYEUX NOEL: The true story of the World War I Christmas Truce. It’s an important film because most young people today don’t know very much about World War I, and because the Christmas Truce was an unbelievable and almost miraculous event. In 1914, during the first Christmas of World War I, soldiers in opposing trenches – against orders – called out to each other, shared Christmas greetings, and sang Silent Night together. Some soldiers even ventured out into No Man’s Land to meet their enemies and exchange gifts.

    9. CHARLOTTE’S WEB: Yes, Charlotte’s Web. Why? Because, it is one of the best children’s stories of all time, based on the remarkable book by E.B. White. It’s a story of family, friendship, self-sacrifice, and the wonders of God’s creation. You probably haven’t looked at the book since you were a child, or since the last time you read the book to your children. Re-read Goodnight Moon, by Margeret Wise Brown, too. Smile.

    10. ROCKY BALBOA: See the first Rocky (1976) and see this one – forget the rest. The whole story is here, and it’s good! This final movie in the Rocky series has heart. Its the story of a very decent and simple man, who overcame the odds to succeed, realized fame and glory, and then fell back into obscurity. Rocky Balboa, now much older, struggles to understand his life and a world that has changed around him, though he has never changed himself. And that’s good – because Rocky learns that the reward for staying true to himself and his faith all these years is that he still has something to share with others, that he still has something to give. Rocky learns that, in the simplest ways, he can still make a difference in the lives of others.

    11. THE WORLD’S FASTEST INDIAN (released December 2005): The true story of Burt Monroe, an elderly gentlemen from New Zealand who travels to America to race his antique Indian motorcycle on the Bonneville Salt Flats in 1967. Amazing everyone, Munroe sets the Under-1000 cc World Motorcycle Land Speed Record. Munroe’s record still stands. Emotional impact comes from one line near the end of the movie, when Burt is lying on his back on the Bonneville Salt Flats after setting the record and crashing his motorcycle: He says, “I did it.” Those three words mean a lot.

    Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame was named Outstanding Book of the Year and Most Original Concept of 2006 by Independent Publisher; Reviewers Choice by Midwest Book Review; and Editor’s Pick by Homefires: The Journal of Homeschooling Online. Nationally syndicated talk-show host Michael Medved calls the book “entertaining and educational.” Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin says “parents and teachers will appreciate the inspiring message this unique history book holds for America’s next generation. I recommend this book to all young Americans, may they take us to the stars and beyond.”

    Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame (hardcover, 225 pages, $25.00) is available at http://www.MagicPictureFrame.com, by calling toll-free 1-800-247-6553, at select bookstores, and on http://www.amazon.com.

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