There are literally thousands of movies released every year, and several thousand from the past that await viewing. In order to make sense out of that chaos, you need a plan and some basic rules on how to choose what movies you plan to watch. Two of my rules coincided in a movie that I recently viewed. Rule #1: The Barry Pepper Rule: Simply put, if Barry Pepper is in a movie, then it is mandatory viewing. I don't know why exactly, but i know that it's true. This rule rarely leads me astray (see the movie "3" about racing legend Dale Earnhardt for an exception to the rule). Rule #2: Avoid movies that have clear and blatant agendas. This is almost impossible, because all movies have an agenda of some sort. It's the blatant ones that I feel are trying to manipulate me that I work hard to avoid. This includes religious movies that include crosses in every scene, evangelism by the bucket loads, and some sort of tearful repentance scene set to a backdrop of Casting Crowns music. While invoking the Barry Pepper rule I picked up the movie "Like Dandelion Dust" recently. I didn't realize that it was adapted from a book by a well known Christian inspirational author. I am pleased to say, however, that I didn't feel manipulated in the least, and actually enjoyed the film. It's a story about adoption and redemption, and the inner turmoils that occur within the family that gives up a child and in the family that takes a child in. The film does a nice job of not villifying either side of the struggle, which provided a great tension throughout. It's movie worth seeing, and yes, Barry Pepper was excellent.
Also, do you have any movie watching rules that you employ? Feedback is welcome!