Connection Corner: Movie Favorites

The topic for this Connection Corner is movies. Here are the movies recommended by faculty and staff.

Associate Professor of Political Science Whitney Ross Manzo: “For adults, if you haven’t seen it yet: BlacKkKlansman. For those with young kids, Trolls World Tour is great. It’s about music, but really it’s about accepting and celebrating everyone’s differences. We have found it to be a concrete way to talk to our kids about what’s going on with Black Lives Matter.”

Jason Newport, Instructor of English: “The Big Sleep (1946)—Humphrey Bogart plays Raymond Chandler’s iconic hard-boiled detective Philip Marlowe, drawn into a web of blackmail and murder around the wealthy young Sternwood sisters, in the original adaptation of Chandler’s first novel from 1939. The film is famously complex—when the director, Howard Hawks, and the screenwriters, including William Faulkner in his hard-drinking Hollywood years, couldn’t figure out who actually kills a chauffeur, they called Chandler to ask, and even he couldn’t tell them!—but that’s only half the fun: the other half is watching Bogart and Lauren Bacall, as the older sister, Vivian Sternwood Rutledge, try to resist falling for each other. The ending of the movie is also completely different from the ending in the novel, which is more interesting (and scary), so for twice the suspense, read the book afterward to experience an even more dramatic finish.”

Catherine Rodgers, Professor of Theatre: “I am a huge Spike Lee fan (he is a brilliant director) and my most favorite recent film of his is BlacKkKlansman. For a laugh, which we could all use nowadays, I do enjoy the Christopher Guest movies.  We watched Best in Show again a couple of weeks ago and it is still hilarious.”

Amy O’Keefe, Assistant Professor of History: “I recommend Your Name, a 2016 film by Makoto Shinkai. I love this film so much because it is incredibly visually beautiful (think Hayao Miyasaki’s movies), and because it has lightness and humor even while it explores questions around collective loss.”

Lori Brown, Professor of Sociology: “Lots of good films, but the best: Clue, Hocus Pocus, all the Bourne films, Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit films, all the Die Hard films, John Wick films, and all the Riddick films and of course Terminator films–especially Terminator 2 when Linda Hamilton showed the world what a strong woman looks like (single handed shotgun pump–LOVE that scene!). Oh, and Avatar can be watched weekly.”

Angela Smedley, Instructor of Communication: “Picking a favorite movie is like picking a favorite child! Shakespeare in Love, Good Will Hunting, and Jurassic Park are tops for me though!”

Associate Professor of I/O Psychology Joe Mazzola: “My favorite movies are The Big Lebowski, The Shawshank Redemption, Back to the Future, and Almost Famous.”

Campus Connections will be on hiatus until early July. Send suggestions for future Connection Corner topics to Melyssa Allen, newsletter editor, at

Melyssa Allen

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