Gracie

  • Directors: Davis Guggenheim
  • Producers: Davis Guggenheim, Andrew Shue, Elisabeth Shue, John Shue
  • Writers: Lisa Marie Petersen, Karen Janszen, Andrew Shue, Davis Guggenheim, Ken Himmelman
  • Genres: Drama, Sport
  • Actors: Elisabeth Shue, Carly Schroeder, Dermot Mulroney, Jesse Lee Soffer, Andrew Shue, Trevor Heins

It is 1978 and 15-year-old Gracie Bowen (Carly Schroeder), who lives in South Orange, New Jersey, is crazy about soccer, as are her three brothers, neighbor, and former soccer star father (Dermot Mulroney). Although Gracie wants to join her brothers and father in the nightly practices, she is discouraged by everyone except her elder brother, Johnny (Jesse Lee Soffer).

Tragedy unexpectedly strikes when Johnny, the star of the Columbia High School varsity soccer team, is killed in a car accident. Struggling with grief over her family’s loss, Gracie decides that she wants to replace her brother on the team. Her father does not believe that girls should play soccer and tells her that she is neither tough enough nor talented enough to play with the boys team. He devotes most of his time and energies to Gracie’s brothers, particularly Johnny. Her mother, Lindsey Bowen (Elisabeth Shue), is a nurse who lacks the competitive drive of the rest of her family and who fears for Gracie’s safety. Lindsey later confesses to Gracie, in discussing gender inequities, that she would have liked to become a surgeon but that option was not available to her.

Feeling rejected by her father and depressed over the fact that her desire to play soccer is not taken seriously, Gracie begins to rebel. She stops doing her schoolwork, is caught cheating on an exam, and experiments with wild and self-destructive behavior. This serves as a “wake-up call” for her parents, particularly her father. He quits his job to coach her in soccer. When the school board rejects her request to play boy’s soccer, it is revealed that he wanted her to play women’s field hockey. Gracie files an appeal with the school board. Citing the newly passed Title IX, Gracie argues that since a girl’s soccer team does not exist, she should be allowed to play on the boy’s varsity soccer team. The school board allows her to try out for the team. After very rough tryouts, she makes the junior varsity squad and has to decide if she is willing to play at that level.

An Inconvenient Truth

  • Directors: Davis Guggenheim
  • Producers: Lawrence Bender, Scott Z Burns, Laurie David, Co Producer Line Producer, Lesley Chilcott, Executive Producer, Jeffrey D Ivers, Jeff Skoll, Ricky Strauss, Diane Weyermann
  • Writers: Al Gore
  • Genres: Documentary
  • Actors: Al Gore

An Inconvenient Truth focuses on Al Gore and his travels in support of his efforts to educate the public about the severity of the climate crisis. Gore says, “I’ve been trying to tell this story for a long time and I feel as if I’ve failed to get the message across.”[4] The film documents a Keynote presentation (dubbed “the slide show”) that Gore has presented throughout the world. It intersperses Gore’s exploration of data and predictions regarding climate change and its potential for disaster with his own life story.

The former vice president opens the film by greeting an audience with a joke: “I am Al Gore; I used to be the next President of the United States.”[5] After laughter from the crowd, Gore begins his slide show on climate change; a comprehensive presentation replete with detailed graphs, flow charts and stark visuals. Gore shows off several majestic photographs of the Earth taken from multiple space missions, Earthrise and The Blue Marble.[6] Gore notes that these photos dramatically transformed the way we see the Earth; helping spark modern environmentalism.

Following this, Gore shares vivid anecdotes that inspired his passion for the issue, including his college education with early climate expert Roger Revelle at Harvard University, his sister’s death from lung cancer and his young son’s near-fatal car accident. Gore recalls a story from his grade school years, where a fellow student asked his geography teacher about continental drift; in response, the teacher called the concept the “most ridiculous thing [he’d] ever heard.” Gore ties this conclusion to the assumption that “the Earth is so big, we can’t possibly have any lasting, harmful impact on the Earth’s environment.” For comic effect, Gore uses a clip from the Futurama episode “Crimes of the Hot” to describe the greenhouse effect. Gore refers to his loss to George W. Bush in the 2000 United States presidential election as a “hard blow” yet subsequently “brought into clear focus, the mission [he] had been pursuing for all these years.”

Gore’s book of the same title was published concurrently with the theatrical release of the documentary. The book contains additional information, scientific analysis, and Gore’s commentary on the issues presented in the documentary. A 2007 documentary entitled An Update with Former Vice President Al Gore features Gore discussing additional information that came to light after the film was completed, such as Hurricane Katrina, coral reef depletion, glacial earthquake activity on the Greenland ice sheet, wildfires, and trapped methane gas release associated with permafrost melting.[10]

It Might Get Loud

  • Directors: Davis Guggenheim
  • Producers: Thomas Tull, Davis Guggenheim, Lesley Chilcott, Peter Afterman, Jimmy Page
  • Writers:
  • Genres: Documentary, Music
  • Actors: Jimmy Page, The Edge, Jack White

The film documents the varied playing and recording styles of guitarists Jimmy Page, The Edge, and Jack White.

Page’s history with guitar traces back to his childhood when he played in a skiffle band. After desiring to do more than play pop music, Page “retires” from guitar playing to attend art school. He later revives his music career as a session guitarist, only to be discouraged by the realization that he is playing others’ music and stifling his own creativity. At that point, Page begins to write and perform in the bands The Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin. Page discusses the skiffle and blues music that influenced him at the time. For many of Page’s scenes, he visits Headley Grange, where parts of Led Zeppelin IV were recorded, and in one scene, explains how the distinctive drum sound from “When the Levee Breaks” was achieved.

The Edge’s history with guitar traces back to building a guitar with his brother Dik and learning to play. In the film, he visits Mount Temple Comprehensive School and recalls forming U2 in his childhood. He also demonstrates his playing technique, in how he eliminates certain strings from chords, as well as his use of echo and delay effects to “fill in notes that aren’t there”. He also discusses his purchase of his signature guitar, the Gibson Explorer, in New York City and the punk music that influenced him. In other scenes, he plays early demo tapes of “Where the Streets Have No Name”, discusses his inspiration for “Sunday Bloody Sunday”, and spends time experimenting with guitar effects for the riffs to “Get on Your Boots”.

The touchstone of the film is a meeting of the three guitarists dubbed “The Summit”. In these scenes, the three guitarists not only converse about their influences and techniques, but they also play each other’s songs together, showing each other how to play “I Will Follow”, “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground”, and “In My Time of Dying”. The film concludes with the men playing an impromptu cover version of The Band’s “The Weight” on acoustic guitars.