5 Movies Every CMC Student Needs to See

By: Harry Arnold | Dec 03, 2013 | 2566 Views Opinion |

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Image Credit: IMBD

Image Credit: IMBD

The inaugural class of CMC’s predecessor, Claremont Men’s College, was largely composed of World War II veterans who were beneficiaries of the G.I. Bill. These were the same men who had helped liberate Europe and defeat imperial Japan, and thus naturally sought a practical education which would allow them to provide for their families. Saving Private Ryan, which chronicles a fictional rescue mission following the D-Day landings, is an inspiring film which illustrates the immense sacrifices of America’s “Greatest Generation.” Every CMCer could benefit from reflecting on the individuals who established our college’s pragmatic, forward-thinking academic environment. Trailer here!

Moneyball (2011)

Image Credit: IMBD

Image Credit: IMBD

Claremont McKenna has an unequivocal emphasis on the social sciences, as an overwhelming majority of students major in fields relating to government or economics. Hence, it is safe to assume that some students with alternate interests perhaps feel pressured to emulate their peers’ choice of major. Moneyball is a wonderful film about the 2002 Oakland A’s baseball team that achieved success through statistical ingenuity. However, at the heart of the film is the inner struggle of the team’s innovative general manager Billy Beane. CMC students could benefit from the film’s powerful message regarding the pursuit of one’s passions as well as the evaluation paradigm of success. Trailer here!

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

Image Credit: IMBD

Image Credit: IMBD

CMC students are expected to exhibit a sense of maturity well beyond their years, whether in regards to interacting with world leaders at the Athenaeum or with renowned professors at one of the various research institutes. As a result, students are able to develop a sense of professionalism and ethical responsibility which they carry on into the work force. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is nothing short of cinematic brilliance, perhaps having one of the most powerful endings in the history of film. The movie will undoubtedly challenge your established set of ethical beliefs and leave you with an agonizing moral conundrum. Trailer here!

Flight (2012)

Image Credit: IMBD

Image Credit: IMBD

6:01 and TNC are just a couple of examples which demonstrate the chaotic, sometimes reckless nature of CMC’s wet campus. I do not believe that CMC’s drinking culture is necessarily a cause for concern or a negative force on campus. However, it is safe to say that most students at CMC have not received proper alcohol education, as alcohol.edu is a running joke of orientation. As a result, a lot of CMCers are probably oblivious to the potentially detrimental effects of alcohol, instead possessing a false sense of confidence. Flight is a raw, unfiltered film which shows the horrors of alcohol addiction from the perspective of an airline pilot (played by Denzel Washington). Before we erupt with anger over President Chodosh and Dean Spellman’s efforts to reform the alcohol policy, CMC students need to be honest with themselves, and start by viewing this film. Trailer here!

Shutter Island (2010)

Image Credit: IMBD

Image Credit: IMBD

Leonardo DiCaprio delivers the best performance of his career (yes, even better than his sparkling charm in Titanic) in this heart-pounding psychological thriller. Martin Scorsese, the greatest filmmaker of our time, provides a masterful sense of guidance to the film. Shutter Island possesses a shocking chain of events, ultimately leaving the audience with an emotional dilemma very similar to One Flew Over the Cuckcoo’s Nest. However, the movie distinguishes itself with a powerful message regarding the importance of coming to grips with one’s faults. As a group of motivated students who are constantly striving for success, CMCers could certainly benefit from the harrowing sense of perspective the film provides. Trailer here!

About the Author

Harry Arnold is a freshman at CMC from Birmingham, Alabama, majoring in Government. A proud native of Texas, his hobbies include following Houston sports, movies, and politics.

  1. Feminist killjoy admirer December 3, 2013 at 11:40 am -

    As chance would have it, there are also great movies with women protagonists that pass the Bechdel test. It seems self-evident to point out that while women can learn from men’s stories, men can learn from women’s stories as well. Branch out!

    • Nathan Barnett December 3, 2013 at 2:05 pm -

      Bravo! I commented on similar lines in the facebook post of this story

      “Yes. Every CMCer should see five movies dominated by large male figures where the females are either non-existent, a daughter, a wife, an evil nurse, or a crazy person. Apparently, in addition to a “proper alcohol education” CMC students could use some feminist classes as well.”

      • Southern Belle December 4, 2013 at 6:05 am -

        Bravo on your Facebook comment Nathan! Unfortunately though your arguments are completely devoid of any logical reasoning and you obviously do not possess a conceptual understanding regarding the purpose of this article. Do me a favor. First take off your feminist cap. Next, try rereading the article, but this time actually try to discern what the author is saying without injecting any bias of your own. If you do so you will find that the author’s message is one that is equally applicable to BOTH males and females.

        The 5 films listed in this article were not chosen as part of a misogynistic agenda, but rather as a result of their ability to convey universal ideals, all of which transcend gender. These films convey messages regarding patriotism (Saving Private Ryan), pursuing your inner passions (Moneyball), ethical responsibility (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest), conflicted emotions (Shutter Island), and addiction (Flight). If the aforementioned themes are not relatable to all females and do not take “part in the business of making leaders” I don’t know what does.

        Furthermore, these films were chosen due to messages which are applicable and beneficial to CMC’s student body. However, being a Pomona student I wouldn’t expect you to be able to grasp this concept. You claim you are disturbed that a freshman male is speaking for the population of the CMC student body. Two things here. First, this article is an OPINION piece detailing what movies CMC students could relate to and enjoy….how else do you want him to title the article?…“5 Movies CMC Students Possibly Will Enjoy”…the author is not asserting that these movies are unequivocally representative of the student body. Second, I find it disturbing that a Pomona student is speaking on behalf of the CMC student body and passing judgment as to what type of movies CMCers would enjoy. The bottom line is each of the 5Cs has their own subculture (thank god). If the rationale presented in this article regarding CMC culture makes you uncomfortable, I suggest you take refuge and stick to reading Pomona’s TSL newspaper. #gostags

        In regards to your activist rant regarding the need to empower females, etc…..I won’t even go there. However, I would encourage you to visit the Claremont Independent’s website and read an article titled “Mad Women.”


        And yes, obviously the 5 movies in this article all possess male protagonists…..thanks for pointing that out Captain Obvious. You keep on harping on this insignificant fact and point to how it is inflammatory to females. However, such a viewpoint is naïve and disregards the aforementioned universality of these films.

        Finally, you just need to relax and tone down the partisan rhetoric. People go to the movies so they can relax, be entertained and at times be challenged intellectually. Sure there are some ideologues who would enjoy a blatantly partisan film whose sole purpose is to empower women….however, most individuals, especially CMCers, would not enjoy such a film. Have a great day.

    • Darrell 2.0 December 3, 2013 at 4:40 pm -


    • Jay Gatsby December 3, 2013 at 4:56 pm -

      You say their are great movies with women protagonists but you fail to mention any. Secondly, your line of logic is tragically flawed. In essence you are saying that he is narrow minded and needs to branch out but some of these movies are widely regarded as some of the best movies ever made. I have plenty of female friends who would have these and plenty of other movies dominated by men in their top movies. Furthermore, it is painful to watch you desperately try to preach feminism on an article such as this which shouldn’t have anything to do with feminism or misogyny. If this were a list of the top 5 presidents every CMCer should admire, would you then proceed to rant about how their are no female presidents? These were movies that the author thought would best be applied to the lives of CMC students, and it just so happens none of these have female leads. I appreciate your efforts to promote the equality of women, but this particular effort seems desperate and not on topic.
      Have a good week

      • Nathan Barnett December 3, 2013 at 7:49 pm -

        You claim our logic is flawed yet try to draw a parallel to US Presidents, a list which includes no women. That would suggest that there are ZERO movies with strong female leads. That is of course absurd.

        I didn’t realize there was a burden to list alternative movies but okay: Fargo, Million Dollar Baby, Kill Bill, the Color Purple…of course we could go on. Now of course not all (if any perhaps) of these movies would quality for this list as must see for CMC students. But that’s not really the point.

        The largely problem is the idea of the piece altogether, especially without any sort of disclaimer. I simply think it’s a bit dangerous for a freshman male to speak for the population of the student body of which he has been a part of for less than four months. In addition to speaking for the campus, the imperative “needs” is problematic in the title. It implies that a person is somehow missing out on the zeitgeist of CMC by not seeing, appreciating, and understanding these movies. I would think that the five films NEED to be seen by CMC students would be more thoughtful than this crop…and certainly something that more of the female population on campus could relate to. CMC, like all of the 5Cs, are in part in the business of making leaders, and that includes female leaders. None are depicted in these films.

        Furthermore, if you know anything about feminism, you would understand that we need to make an active effort to empower women and women’s views in order to even sniff equality. So while your belief seems to be relevant, namely that the previous commenter and/or myself are “desperately try[ing] to preach feminism” in a place that “shouldn’t have anything to do with” it is naive and uneducated. The forums and mediums where the mainstream public thinks do not need to be analyzed for equality are PRECISELY the places where we need it the most; these are the grounds where the worst proliferation and reinforcement of stereotypes happens. Feminism is always on topic when you are talking about contemporary writing.

        Perhaps this article could be titled “5 Movies Every CMC Man Needs to See” — would be more apt.

        Also, your little quip about having plenty of female friends who like these is a classic false argument when talking about groups of people. It would only be true if your female friends could somehow speak for all women or even in this case, all CMC women…which I am sure they do not. With combative attitudes towards feminism, I am sure that the women you associate with are not feminists, so I would not be shocked to find that their favorite movies are those with male leads…especially since Hollywood does a piss poor job of empowering women.

        Finally, I want to mention that I do not mean to vilify the author. Are there problems here? Yes. I think the burden falls on the editors who should know better. Furthermore…the whole point of my post (and I imagine the post of the first commenter) was to spark a dialogue. I imagine that Mr. Arnold did not even consider some of these views in writing this piece; I would not have either my Freshman year in Claremont. The point is to demand an intellectual excellence on the campuses and not let thoughtless material go uncritiqued.

        • Jay Gatsby December 5, 2013 at 12:09 am -

          Dear Nathan,
          I would like to say you seem very silly with personal attacks on both myself and the author, but I will discuss that later.

          Firstly, I made the parallel to US presidents precisely because there are no women on this list. I am suggesting that there are ZERO movies with female leads that this author thinks are essential to the average CMC student. You list movies that have female leads but are of low quality and you say “But that’s not really the point,” it is PRECISELY the point because I believe the intention of this list was to provide high quality movies with themes applicable to the average CMC student.

          Secondly I do not see why the author, freshman or not, needs to provide any sort of disclaimer for this article. He is writing an article based on the ideological observations of the school’s mission. For each movie he provides a perfectly plausible reason, NOT related to gender, as to why every CMCer should watch these films. Furthermore why do these films have to be “more thoughtful?” CMC IS in the business of creating great leaders and last time I checked the downfall of many a leader has not been because they were female, but because they had problems with alcohol, lacked ethical and moral behavior, and failed to learn from the past! By not focusing on gender roles, the author provides stronger, more applicable themes.

          Thirdly, I would like to say no, I am not an expert on feminism, but while we are on the subject, a couple of weeks ago, I read an interesting article(also mentioned by Southern Belle in the comment above) in the Claremont Independent. In this article the author makes a case as to why women are well on their way to equality and are actually dominating men in some areas. He says, “indeed, because more and more graduates of higher education are women, the day is fast approaching when men will be a distinct minority in most board rooms and government agency front offices. For every 100 men, 140 women will graduate with a college degree at some level-while in 1960, there were 160 men for every 100 women who graduated.” These statistics clearly show women are well on their way to equality if not dominating already. My beliefs are based on empirical evidence from credible sources but I am open to a change in beliefs if you can prove to me otherwise

        • Jay Gatsby December 5, 2013 at 12:10 am -

          This brings me to your attack on my “little quip.” Who are you to be “sure” that the women I associate with are not feminists? I have very many feminist friends, both male and female. For someone I’ve never met, you sure know a lot about my personal life. It is arguments like those, completely out of place and uncalled for, that give feminism a bad rap in today’s world. You are not fighting for equality for women, but for domination by women. Feel free to argue that, but make sure you explicitly state this and you don’t hide under the guise of female equality. Furthermore, can you not grasp the concept that a woman can still be a feminist and still enjoy all things male? From the flow of your argument I am gathering that if a female’s favorite movies all have male leads then she is not a feminist. WHY can a woman not base her opinion on the basis of the acting ability as opposed to gender? This is a silly, almost laughable, argument that you make against my friends who are supposedly not feminists.

          You also say that thoughtless material should not go uncritiqued but I believe the author put a lot of thought into writing the reasons as to why every CMCer should watch these movies. He does not pander to one audience as you think he does. Furthermore, as to your little quip about the change in the title, just step back and think long and hard as to what you mean by that. I see no mention to gender or gender equality or inequality by the author. He provides broad applicable themes that he believes every CMCer can gather from these movies.

          This brings me to my next point; This piece is in the opinion section for a reason. It his OPINION that every CMCer needs to view these films and this opinion should not somehow be taken as fact. You also keep referring to his youth, being a freshman and whatnot, but it looks like you may need to watch Moneyball yourself. A little ingenuity is never a bad thing. Why criticize him, when I think he has written some excellent articles and he is holding his own.

  2. Young Alumn December 3, 2013 at 4:25 pm -

    In describing the connection you attempt to draw between “Flight” and the school’s alcohol policy…. I’m going to simply say “absurd” at risk of seriously offending you. That’s not to mention that I find it a bit out of place for a freshman in college, who presumably hasn’t been drinking for very long, is certainly underage and has only been on campus for a semester, to comment on the drinking habits of 21 year olds. Alcoholism is a serious issue and to assert that Claremont students could have some kind of “come-to-Jesus” moment by viewing a fictitious film is not only naive, but offensive. Oh, by the way, he was also doing cocaine frequently in the movie.

    • Southern Belle December 3, 2013 at 7:45 pm -

      Asserting that the author implied CMCers would have a “Come to Jesus” moment by viewing Flight as well as mentioning the use of cocaine are straw man arguments which only distort the article’s intended message. First, the author clearly premises his argument by saying, “I do not believe that CMC’s drinking culture is necessarily a cause for concern or a negative force on campus.” His argument is simply that CMCers could benefit from understanding the physical and psychological dangers of alcohol addiction, issues exhibited throughout the film. He is not saying CMC has an alcohol problem or that students are on the verge of becoming alcoholics. He is asserting that being educated regarding the possible dangers of alcoholism enhances one’s ability to make responsible, safe choices regarding alcohol consumption, and his opinion is that alcohol.edu is insufficient as an instructional tool.

      So I’m a little confused as to why you are offended and believe he is passing judgment on you….but I guess you’re right….the author needs to develop a higher alcohol tolerance before he is qualified to comment on any alcohol related issues. Your petty comments and illogical frustration over this article demonstrate exactly why Dean Spellman and President Chodosh’s impending alcohol reforms are justified, as a lot of CMCers are so naïve to the possible dangers of alcohol that they don’t even want to have a rational conversation about such issues, and instead resort to straw man arguments such as yours.

  3. Notahater December 3, 2013 at 7:16 pm -

    Nice job man, these are some good movies!

  4. Nemo December 5, 2013 at 2:48 pm -

    Somehow, everyone has walked out of this looking worse.

    • Southern Belle December 6, 2013 at 4:26 pm -

      Yes I agree. Unfortunately, the true value of this article has been clouded by trivial criticisms which are devoid of merit. Not only did the author choose 5 films which are all outstanding in their own right, but he went the extra distance and explained how they were each easily applicable to CMC….none of the feminist critics of this article were able to successfully dispute his insightful analysis, which is quite telling. For those of you who did enjoy this article, I would strongly encourage you to read any of his previous movie reviews (Gravity, Dallas Buyers Club, Captain Phillips, etc.) as well as visit the Claremont Independent’s website and read his article entitled “Conservative Television Icons”….SPOILER ALERT….the article is an OPINION piece so his views might not align with yours.


      • Nemo December 7, 2013 at 12:12 am -

        Sadly, I also meant to include you and the author.

        This isn’t a great list for lots of reasons. But that says a lot more about the author than anything else.

        • Southern Belle December 7, 2013 at 2:34 pm -

          Quite frankly, unless you provide actual reasons as to why this is a bad list, then such statements as yours are merely conjectures devoid of any substance.

        • Nemo December 7, 2013 at 2:45 pm -

          Just stating an opinion. But for srs, everyone needs to chill out on the ridiculously haughty and wooden diction.


          It’s like the revenge of the FHS papers all up in here.

        • Southern Belle December 7, 2013 at 3:08 pm -

          That’s cool if you don’t want to explain your opinion. And maybe so, but for srs, everyone needs to chill out on the ridiculously haughty and feminist rhetoric. Hillary Clinton isn’t president yet so just relax…

  5. Harry Fan December 6, 2013 at 1:07 pm -

    Harry, thanks for being so insightful and honest with how each of these movies are applicable to CMC. I agree with you on the fact that students here are often oblivious to (or in denial of) the fact that their party behavior here would look pretty juvenile and irresponsible to the real world. Alcohol edu was a total joke, I mean the biggest issue they brought up was picking up your mess after beer pong. And props to Southern Bell to a well-thought response to our apparently very wise and experienced Young Alum.