Category Archives: Movie Study

Why Study Movies?

Studies have shown that watching an activity excites the same areas of the brain as actually performing the activity. The same brain area responds when you observe someone else doing the action. So perceiving and performing an action activates the same regions.” –

With the above information  in mind: each time an esl student watches or interacts with a character in the media (or in person) – they are activating that part of the brain being used to understand the new language. That particular development within the brain has already been defined by prior interest and learning experiences.  – Jonathan Ellis 2013

Groundhog Day


Vocabulary & Worksheet

Story Synopsis from IMDBTV weatherman Phil Connors is cynical, to say the least, and having to go yet again to Punxsutawney, Pa. on February 2 to see if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow isn’t his idea of fun. He’s grumpy with his segment producer Rita and downright nasty with cameraman Larry. He doesn’t take the shadow business at all seriously but the next morning, awakens to find he is reliving the same day. Initially disbelieving and fighting what is happening to him, Phil eventually accepts that he will re-live the same day over and over again. He uses the opportunity to acquire new skills – piano playing and ice carving among them – and soon becomes the most admired man in Punxsutawney. Just how times he relives the day however is anyone’s guess. Written by garykmcd

Galaxy Quest



Story Synopsis from IMDB: The sci-fi television series Galaxy Quest, which took place aboard the intergalactic spaceship NSEA Protector, starred Jason Nesmith as suave Commander Peter Quincy Taggert, Gwen DeMarco as sexy communications person Lt. Tawny Madison (a role which consisted solely of repeating what the computer stated, much to Gwen’s annoyance), Shakespearean trained Sir Alexander Dane as alien Dr. Lazarus, Fred Kwan as engineer Tech Sgt. Chen, and Tommy Webber as child gunner Laredo. Seventeen years after the show last aired, it lives on in the hearts of its rabid fans. However, it lives on in infamy for its stars, who have not been able to find meaningful acting work since. Their current lives revolve around cashing in on however those roles will afford, which usually entails attending fan conventions or worse, such as shopping mall openings. Only Jason seems to relish his lot in life, until he finds out that his co-stars detest him because of his superior attitude as “the Commander”




Story Synopsis from IMDB: Juli Baker devoutly believes in three things: the sanctity of trees (especially her beloved sycamore), the wholesomeness of the eggs she collects from her backyard flock of chickens, and that someday she will kiss Bryce Loski. Ever since she saw Bryce’s baby blues back in second grade, Juli has been smitten. Unfortunately, Bryce has never felt the same. Frankly, he thinks Juli Baker is a little weird–after all, what kind of freak raises chickens and sits in trees for fun? Then, in eighth grade, everything changes. Bryce begins to see that Juli’s unusual interests and pride in her family are, well, kind of cool. And Juli starts to think that maybe Bryce’s brilliant blue eyes are as empty as the rest of Bryce seems to be. After all, what kind of jerk doesn’t care about other people’s feelings about chickens and trees?

Field of Dreams



Story Synopsis from IMDBIowa farmer Ray Kinsella hears a voice in his corn field tell him, “If you build it, he will come.” He interprets this message as an instruction to build a baseball field on his farm, upon which appear the ghosts of Shoeless Joe Jackson and the other seven Chicago White Sox players banned from the game for throwing the 1919 World Series. When the voices continue, Ray seeks out a reclusive author to help him understand the meaning of the messages and the purpose for his field.

Written by Scott Renshaw

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind



Story Synopsis from IMDB: Joel is stunned to discover that his girlfriend Clementine has had her memories of their tumultuous relationship erased. Out of desperation, he contracts the inventor of the process, Dr. Howard Mierzwaik, to have Clementine removed from his own memory. But as Joel’s memories progressively disappear, he begins to rediscover their earlier passion. From deep within the recesses of his brain, Joel attempts to escape the procedure. As Dr. Mierzwiak and his crew chase him through the maze of his memories, it’s clear that Joel just can’t get her out of his head.
                                           – Written by Focus Features

Despicable Me

Despicable Me-AmazonLink


Story Synopsis from IMDB: In a happy suburban neighborhood surrounded by white picket fences with flowering rose bushes, sits a black house with a dead lawn. Unbeknownst to the neighbors, hidden beneath this home is a vast secret hideout. Surrounded by a small army of minions, we discover Gru, planning the biggest heist in the history of the world. He is going to steal the moon. (Yes, the moon!) Gru delights in all things wicked. Armed with his arsenal of shrink rays, freeze rays, and battle-ready vehicles for land and air, he vanquishes all who stand in his way. Until the day he encounters the immense will of three little orphaned girls who look at him and see something that no one else has ever seen: a potential Dad. The world’s greatest villain has just met his greatest challenge: three little girls named Margo, Edith and Agnes

Crazy Stupid Love



Story Synopsis from IMDBCal Weaver (Steve Carell) gets the surprise of his life when he learns that his wife Emily (Julianne Moore) cheated on him with a coworker, David Lindhagen (Kevin Bacon), and wants a divorce. After moving into his own apartment, Cal begins frequenting a bar night after night, talking loudly about his divorce, until he attracts the attention of a young man named Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling), a womanizer who successfully beds women each night, although a young woman named Hannah (Emma Stone) recently rejected his advances. Taking pity on Cal, Jacob agrees to teach him how to pick up women. Jacob takes Cal shopping, outfitting him with an entirely new wardrobe and begins teaching him the art of seduction.

The Breakfast Club



 Story Synopsis from IMDB: Beyond being in the same class at Shermer High School in Shermer, Illinois, Claire Standish, Andrew Clark, John Bender, Brian Johnson and Allison Reynolds have little in common, and with the exception of Claire and Andrew, do not associate with each other in school. In the simplest and in their own terms, Claire is a princess, Andrew an athlete, John a criminal, Brian a brain, and Allison a basket case. But one other thing they do have in common is a nine hour detention in the school library together on Saturday, March 24, 1984, under the direction of Mr. Vernon, supervising from his office across the hall. Each is required to write a minimum one thousand word essay during that time about who they think they are. At the beginning of those nine hours, each, if they were indeed planning on writing that essay, would probably write something close to what the world sees of them, and what they have been brainwashed into believing of themselves.

The Butcher’s Wife


The Butcher's Wife

Butcher's Wife - AmazonLink


 Story Synopsis from IMDB: A clairvoyant thinks she’s met her husband to be because she’s seen him in her dreams. They marry quickly, and return to the husband’s (“the butcher”), home in the city. She has a big impact on everyone she meets by anticipating their questions and actions and advising them on their love life. Her interference then brings her into contact with the real man of her dreams.