Finnegan On Films: Three Movies On Netflix About Facing Challenges

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Our movie guy, James Finnegan, picks three movies where the protagonists have faced challenges in their lives… 

Welcome to this week’s recommendations from the Netflix selections.

I thought this week we would have a look at three films, two based on true stories, showing how unique challenges can be entertaining and informative.

First up is a trivial one. Do you remember when Arnold Schwarzenegger was the highest paid actor in the world?

In Kindergarten Cop (1990), he has to play an undercover cop, John Kimble, on the trail of a drug dealer, by keeping the baddies ex-wife and son under surveillance.  To assist in this, Kimble’s partner is also to go undercover as a substitute teacher at the boys’ kindergarten school.

Unfortunately, she is taken unwell, so Kimble has to take her place.  Despite the suspicions of the School Principal, wonderfully played by Linda Hunt, and a total lack of teaching experience, Kimble finds himself in charge of a class of infants.

Fortunately, his police training comes to use and there may be some hints for those readers finding the home schooling a bit of a challenge.  This is one for all the family.

The Soloist (2009) is the true life story of a homeless man with Schizophrenia, Nathaniel Ayers, played by Jamie Foxx.

Ayers is playing a violin, with an obvious unique talent, and is overheard by a journalist, Steve Lopez, played by Robert Downey Jr.  Lopez is intrigued how someone so talented came to be where he is now.

As can be imagined, the story of Ayers life is not without sadness.  When Lopez writes an article about him for the Los Angeles Times, it garners a great deal of interest about this gifted and challenged man.

Offers of help and gifts start to come in from readers, and through helping Ayers, Lopez begins to find some purpose and values in his own less than perfect life.

This is the type of film that should have Oscar nominations all over it and the two leads give powerful performances.

However, it seemed to slip by at the time, but is well worth a watch, if only to remind us of how the invisible around us all have their own unique story and circumstances.

Next up is a different type of sports film. Moneyball (2011) is based on the excellent Michael Lewis 2003 book of the same name.

It tells the true story of Billy Beane, played by Brad Pitt, the General Manager of the Oakland Athletics Baseball Team.  He is trying to build a competitive team with limited resources.

He is convinced to try a new recruitment method, Sabermetrics, and hires underrated or overlooked players using this new system, rather than the views of his experienced Scouts for the 2002 season.

After all, the traditional method does not seem to be working.  This is the story of that campaign.

Pitt is ably supported by Jonah Hill and the late lamented Philip Seymour Hoffman.  Written by Aaron Sorkin and Directed by Bennett Miller, this is for all the frustrated sports fans out there. Enjoy and stay safe!

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