Below is a list of films and the dates for these films. Please be sure to watch the specific version listed here rather than a more modern or older adaptation unless otherwise allowed by me upon request. For each film, you are to write a 1-page summary and respond to the question included in at least ½ of a page. For each question, be sure to explain why or why not.
1. 300 (2007): Spartan practices have been compared to Stoic teachings. Point out the moments in this movie in which the characters behave as Stoics would.
2. A Long Way Down (2014): Why was each character contemplating suicide? Do you think that any of them were more justified than the others?
3. About Time (2013): If you had the protagonist’s power, including all of its limitations, how would you use it?
4. Alice in Wonderland (1985): How does Alice’s journey through Wonderland change her? In what ways?
5. Beauty and the Beast (2017): What is the message of this film and why is it so important for children to learn?
6. Black Swan (2010): The instructor pushes Nina to her limits in this film. Do you think it was necessary to make her a better dancer or was he unnecessarily harsh?
7. Brave (2012): Merida knew that the cake given to her by the witch would cast a spell over her mother, but not that it would turn her into a bear. Was this risk worth the reward of control over her own destiny or was it wrong despite the outcome of the story?
8. Captain America: Civil War (2016): Considering the carnage wrought in the previous Avenger’s film, do you think it reasonable or unreasonable for world leaders to wish to better control the heroes of the film (and film universe)? Is this overstepping?
9. Casanova (2005): Casanova fooled just about everyone in the course of this film. Was this inauthentic of him, or a part of his identity? Consider his lineage (who his parents were), which is revealed at the end of the film.
10. Ex Machina (2015): Ava desperately wanted a life of her own, but she was a robot. Can robots have existential crisis’s or would you say that it is a by-product of their programing?
11. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016): Is Newt wise? Consider that there are three kinds of wisdom: sophia, phronesis, and the combination of both. Which wisdom does he have, if any?
12. Fight Club (1999): Critics have written that Tyler is a representation of Nietzsche’s Ubermench. Do you agree or disagree?
13. Final Fantasy XV: Kingsglaive (2016): King Regis sacrifices himself and his entire city in order to save his son, Prince Noctis, and attempts to save Lady Lunafreya as well. This is because he loves his son and because he knows that Noctis has a destiny to rid the world of evil. Is any one person’s destiny, such as Noctis’, worth the lives of thousands of people? Keep in mind that Insomnia is about the size of Tokyo and that about half of the population was evacuated or escaped.
14. Gandhi (1982): Gandhi’s moral greatness and sacrifices are unquestionably good. However, most of the change that he caused was done by manipulating the affection that people had for him. He took advantage of their love and respect for him to manipulate them to do what he wanted, good though his wants were. Does this make him inauthentic? Does this make him a bad person or a good person doing a bad thing?
15. GATTACA (1997): The protagonist of this film risked everything to be treated as an equal to his brother. He broke laws and even hurt people to keep his identity a secret, but he did all of this for equality. Does this make him righteous or wrong? How far is too far when fighting for a just cause?
16. Gone (2012): Did Jill’s experience with LaPointe prior to the start of the film make her stronger or weaker?
17. Gone Girl (2014): Do you blame Amy for deceiving Nick, or Nick for being deceived?
18. Great Expectations (2012): Was Magwitch justified in involving himself so fully in Pip’s life in the way that he did for the reasons that he did?
19. Harry Potter (series): Consider Dumbledore from an objective stance. He knew for a very long time that Harry would have to sacrifice himself to defeat Voldemort. In the course of the series, he put Harry’s parents into hiding but allowed a dubious character to safeguard their location instead of himself, creating the loophole that Voldemort needed to kill James and Lily. He then placed Harry not into a loving Muggle home under protective magicks, but in the abusive home of Petunia Dursley where he would suffer irreparable mental, emotional, and physical abuse from his relatives with no protection of any kind (his Muggle teachers didn’t even protect him). Dumbledore stood by and watched as Harry faced Voldemort multiple times in the course of the series rather than facing him himself. He didn’t protect Harry from Umbridge who was torturing him, or from the Triwizard Tournament where he easily could have died. He didn’t properly prepare him for the hunt for the Horcruxes, and he didn’t tell him about his expected sacrifice until the moment that it had to happen, and only through a third party instead of himself. Basically, as Snape says, he raised Harry to be a lamb for slaughter. Do you think he was justified? Did he do what was right and best for Harry, or was his manipulation causing unnecessary suffering to an already doomed child?
20. Her (2013): Can Samantha be held accountable for her actions even though she isn’t human? Are any of her flaws her fault, or the fault of her programmers?
21. How to Train Your Dragon (1+2): Which character besides Hiccup would you say is the most authentic and true to themselves?
22. Howl’s Moving Castle (2005): What is the moral of the story? Consider not just Sophie’s perspective, but Howl’s fight against the king as well.
23. If I Stay (2014): Assuming that Mia is justified in either staying (living) or letting go (dying), is Adam justified in asking her to stay, or is this selfish? Consider if the grandfather is justified in telling her that it’s okay to let go.
24. Inception (2010): What the story comes down to is a group of criminals invading people’s minds and stealing/leaving information that doesn’t belong to them. In what way could this possibly be acceptable?
25. Intersteller (2014): Do we have the right to colonize space just because earth dies? Why or why not?
26. Into the Woods (2014): What idea do the woods represent?
27. Jurassic Park (Series): Disregarding the profit, why would anyone bring back to life creatures that could very easily kill them and a large portion of the human race? Ignoring money, why would you resurrect dinosaurs? Consider that we have nowhere to put them because of how overpopulated the planet is.
28. Les Miserables (2012): Marius disobeys his father to join the revolutionaries and protect the lower class even though he is an upper class boy. Why do you think he did this? Was it just because he believed it was right, or was there another reason?
29. Life of Pi (2012): At the end of the film, Pi lied to the insurance agents to make them believe him about his tale. If the lie had been the truth, would Pi’s actions have been justified?
30. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975): This is actually a film inside of a film. What purpose does this have to the goal of storytelling? Why did the filmmakers choose this device?
31. Monty Python’s the Meaning of Life (1983): Though generally silly, this film does touch on the sensitive matter of contraception. Disregarding religion, why would contraception be bad? Why would you tell someone that they cannot prevent pregnancies?
32. Noah (2014): Was Noah a good guy or a bad guy? Justify your answer.
33. Pay It Forward (1991): Do you think that the idea of Paying it Forward is realistic? Would it really make the world a better place?
34. Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012): Are Sam and Patrick good or bad influences on Charlie? Consider his mental state in the conclusion of the film versus at the start of the film in your answer.
35. Princess Mononoke (1999): San fights to protect the forest, but she kills and behaves savagely in the process. Is this excusable considering her greater cause, or are such actions impermissible either way?
36. Sense and Sensibility (1995): Colonel Brandon knew what kind of man Willoughby was from the beginning, yet he did nothing as Marianne fell in love with him and was heartbroken. Was this cruel and impermissible, or sensible and permissible? Why do you think he withheld this information?
37. Sweeny Todd (2007): Focus on the fact that the baker was forcing other people to be cannibals. Are those people in any way guilty of cannibalism? Does the deception absolve them of the wrongness of cannibalism?
38. Tales from Eathsea (2006): Do you think that Arren’s actions in the film are enough to repent for killing his father, as he so regrets?
39. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008): Can children be authentic or inauthentic? Or does a person have to be older (a teen or adult) to be authentic or inauthentic?
40. The Finest Hours (2016): Would you fault Bernie if he hadn’t gone out to save that tanker? Would it make him seem like a lesser person or more cowardly?
41. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006): The time travel device was used originally to save a painting from being destroyed, but there were surely bigger things that it could have been used for. Why would Chiaki save a painting but not stop Hitler or the Black Death from occurring? How can his actions be justified?
42. The Little Prince (2015): In the background of this story is the stress of an ambitious mother pushing her daughter to grow up and be a good adult instead of being an imaginative child. In Chinese culture, these are called Dragon Mothers. Consider both that Dragon Mothers are harsh and that they only want their children to succeed. Is there anything wrong with childhood fun? Should we push our children to be more successful, perhaps not to the degree that Dragon Mothers do, but more than we do now?
43. The Phantom of the Opera (2004): Madam Giry spends years protecting the Phantom because he is a genius of the arts. Does his genius in any way excuse his behavior? Should such geniuses be given legal leniency?
44. The Pursuit of Happiness (2006): What would you do if you were in Chris’ shoes?
45. The Three Musketeers (2011): D’Artagnan chooses one woman’s life over all of France. This is charming and gallant of him, but it puts millions of lives at risk. Was it wrong of him to do this?
46. The Time Machine (2002): Alexander dedicates his life and brilliance to saving the love of his life by building a time machine. Is this foolishness? Should he have used his intelligence for a more noble and universally applicable goal like ending world hunger or other altruistic goals? Or does he have the right to do as he pleases?
47. The Vow (2012): Is Paige the same person before and after her accident, or are the Paige from before and the Paige from after to be regarded as different people completely?
48. The Time Traveler’s Wife (2009): Clare spends her life waiting on Henry in one way or another, and Henry advises her at the end of the film to stop waiting on him. However, is he allowed to ask this of her? Is it her right to wait on him, or does he have some say in her waiting because it is he whom she waits on?
49. Tuck Everlasting (2002): The Tucks accidentally came across the spring and it turned them into immortals who couldn’t die. If someone had found out about them, do you think they would have been demonized or revered for their abilities?
50. V for Vendetta (2005): Though he seeks freedom and goodness, V is a terrorist. Are his actions justified?
51. WALL-E (2008): Though lighthearted, this is a political film about waste management. What duties do you think humans have to waste management, recycling, and green energy?
52. War Games (1983): Can hacking ever be justified?
53. Whisper of the Heart (1995): It is common for artists to put their art before their education. Do you think there is anything wrong with this, or should they finish their education before focusing on their art?
54. Zootopia (2016): Is acting in favor of the masses at the expense of the minorities ever justifiable?
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