Yesterday was the first time in fifty years that I was bored to death.  Sequestered in my home the past week, I was trying to find things to do with my newly found time.  I decided to reach out to some of my friends and ask them their favorite movies of all time.  You can learn a lot about someone by asking them their top ten favorite movies.  For instance, if…The Exorcist, Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Shining and Texas Chainsaw Massacre make their top ten list…there is probably something slightly demented about that person – ha!


To me, movies are like sushi.  There are two types of sushi.  Really good sushi.  And sushi that makes you sick.  Movies are also like good restaurants….my family and I eat at the same ten restaurants in Denver.  And we pretty much watch the same ten movies.  Why, because we want a sure thing.  There is nothing worse than going to a restaurant and spending $250 on a bad meal.  And, equally, it is a crime to spend two hours of our time watching a bad movie.

My favorite movies are sports movies. I also love drama.  But there is nothing like a good old family movie that everyone (we have a twelve, fourteen and twenty-year old living in our home) can watch together.

Since most of the world has time on their hands, I thought I would share The Spaulding’s Top Ten Family Movies. Perhaps you can watch a few of them with your newly found time.

1) Miracle. All-time greatest movie. There is nothing more inspiring than watching the 1980 USA Men’s Hockey team beat the unbeaten Soviet Union at the Lake Placid Winter Olympics. Best line, “I’m not looking for the best players…I’m looking for the right ones.”

2) Rudy. I’ve seen it 100 times and I cry every time. We all have a lot to learn from Rudy Ruettiger. Best line, “In this life, you don’t have to prove nothin’ to nobody but yourself.”

3) We Bought a Zoo. It was a sleeper at the box office, but this movie can move your heart in such a special way. One of my favorites. Best line: “Sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery, and I promise you something great will come of it.

4) Remember the Titans. You and your family will never forget the Titans. Best line, “Attitude reflects leadership, Captain.”

5) The Emperor’s Club. A powerfully uplifting story about the meaning of honor and integrity. Best line, “As I’ve gotten older, I realize I’m certain of only two things. Days that begin with rowing on a lake are better than days that do not. Second, a man’s character is his fate.”

6) The Rookie. A story of not giving up on your dreams. We watched it last night as a family. Best line, “You know what we get to do today, Brooks? We get to play baseball.”

7) Mr. Holland’s Opus. Everyone has a symphony in them. And it sometimes it takes a great teacher to bring it out of us. This movie makes me think of my father, who taught public school English for 33 years. Best line, “A teacher has two jobs, fill young minds with knowledge, yes, but more important give those minds a compass so that that knowledge doesn’t go to waste.”

8) Invincible. A moving true story of a scrappy underdog who helps his football team rediscover its winning spirit and rallied a city when it needed it most. Best line, “Papale is in the 40, the 30, the 20, the 10…. this is unbelievable!”

9) October Sky. Incredible true story of hope, determination and triumph. How a high school kid breaks free from the coal mines of West Virginia and reaches for the stars. Best line, “Coal mining may be your life, but it’s not mine. I’m never going down there again. I wanna go into space.”

10) The Blind Side. This real-life story of family and football will have you cheering. My wife, Jill’s, favorite movie. Best line, “You should really get to know your players. Michael scored in the 98th percentile in protective instincts.”

Movies have the opportunity to make us all better. They can teach us lessons. They can challenge us. Move our hearts. Motivate us to live, love and lead differently. The movie that did all of this for me was called The Ultimate Gift. Every family should see this movie. I wish every high school kid in America could watch it. It is impossible not to become a better human being after 1 hour and 54 minutes.

What are your family’s top ten movies of all time? How are these movies making you a stronger family? Teaching your loved one’s character, integrity, grit and perseverance? But most of all, giving you hope…something our nation and our world so desperately needs during these challenging days ahead.