A remake of Charlie Portis’ novel of the same name, the Coen brothers’ True Grit was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor. In the film, 14-year-old Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld) wants to hire a deputy U.S. Marshal to track down Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin), a hired hand who murdered her father. She eventually convinces the merciless Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges) to do the job, and insists that he let her accompany him on the manhunt. Also starring Matt Damon as a Texas ranger, the film is a more faithful adaptation of the book than the 1969 version of True Grit, which starred John Wayne.
By now, you’ve probably heard all about 127 Hours, which is based on the life-threatening experience of Carnegie Mellon alumnus Aron Ralston. For those of you who haven’t heard, though: 127 Hours stars James Franco as mountain climber Aron Ralston, who decides to go canyoneering alone in Canyonlands National Park in Utah. As he descends through a narrow passage, a boulder is jarred loose and ends up pinning Ralston’s arm to a canyon wall. Ralston eventually is forced to cut off his own arm with a dull knife in order to escape and save himself. Fun fact: The real-life Ralston will speak at Carnegie Mellon’s Commencement this year. Maybe he can explain why he thought hiking through dangerous areas alone was a good idea.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Directed by Michel Gondry, this 2004 film received the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. The movie focuses on Joel Barish (Jim Carrey) and Clementine Kruczynski (Kate Winslet), ex-lovers who have had all memories of their relationship erased through targeted memory erasure, a non-surgical procedure performed by the company Lacuna, Inc. The film has a nonlinear narrative style, alternating between Joel’s memories, the current interactions between him and Clementine, and additional story arcs involving Lacuna employees Patrick (Elijah Wood) and Mary (Kirsten Dunst). Fun fact: Although memory erasure sounds like pure science fiction, according to Scientific American, scientists are already able to prevent specific memories from being stored in the brain.